Road Racing – SCCA Majors Tour Wraps Up the Season at Heartland Park Topeka

The Kaw Valley Race Group hosted the final round of the SCCA Mid-States Majors Tour this past weekend at Heartland Park Topeka. Below are the daily recaps from the SCCA National office and my photos of Saturday’s action.

Day 1 – SCCA Majors Season Just One Race From Finish In Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (August 30, 2014) – The SCCA Mid-States Majors Tour final weekend was met by a hot, humid start to the Labor Day weekend on Saturday at Heartland Park Topeka, where six race groups ran 25-minute timed races.

The day began with 25-minute qualifying sessions to set the grids for Saturday afternoon on the track’s 2.2-mile configuration. Saturday’s Round 11 is the penultimate round in the Mid-States Conference season-long point championship, which counts the best eight finishes.

Highlights include:

Group 1: Denny Stripling entered the weekend with a 38-point deficit in Spec Racer Ford to championship leader Keith Verges and needing two strong finishes to be able to move to the top of the standings. He helped his cause on Saturday.

Stripling’s No. 4 Lightspeed Motorsports Spec Racer Ford led start to finish on Sunday, steadily pulling away from Chris Funk’s second-place No. 54 KC Racing SRF throughout the 16 lap race. Verges finished third in the No. 69 Apex Driving Academy SRF, but needed to finish second or better to add to his Championship points after drops.

A win for Stripling on Sunday clinches the Mid-States Championship. If Verges wins on Sunday, Stripling must finish second. A second-place for Verges forces Stripling to finish fifth or better, while Stripling needs just an 8th or better if Verges is third or lower.

Matt Reynolds set a new Spec Miata track record of 1:35.313 on the way to his flag-to-flag win in the No. 73 Reynolds Bros. Racing/JPM/Vintage Connection Mazda Miata.

Group 2: Michael Mallinen drove his No. 71 Swan Motorsports Swift 016/Mazda to a flag to flag victory in Formula Atlantic, ticking off lap after lap to the finish. Mallinen was actually one of two former Formula Atlantic National Champions from the state of Washington entered in the race, along with third-finishing Riley Hopkins in his Ralt RT-4. Mallinen is the defending class champion, while Hopkins’ win came way back in 1983.

Darryl Wills set a new track record in the No. 1 Hillenburg Motorsports/Hoosier Tire/Hawk Performance Formula Mazda early, but was forced to pit lane late in the race. He came back on the track just behind Stuart Rettie’s No. 21 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda, and stayed in that order to the finish.

Group 3: Max Mallinen continued his winning ways in Formula F, taking a flag to flag class victory in the No. 1 Spectrum 014H/Honda. The 16-year-old set a new track of 1:24.293 to join his dad, Michael, as a race winner on Saturday.

CJ McAbee, racing for the first time since leading at the 2013 SCCA National Championship Runoffs last September, led early in Formula 500 and overall before pulling his No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage/Hoosier AJ’s 2012/Rotax to pit lane on lap 11. That left Herb Noble’s No. 44 Mitchell Racing Services Scorpion 001/Rotax to inherit the lead, but Mid-States Conference champion Timothy Friest moved around Noble on lap 17 in the No. 86 Hoosier/XTRacing/RodEndSupply KBS Mk VII, taking home the win.

Richard Shields went the distance in Formula Vee to not only take the top trophy, but clinch his Runoffs qualifications in the No. 7 Vortech FV.

Group 4: Both David Fershtand and Mark Kirby found themselves behind their rivals early, and both moved into the lead on lap two, cruising to wins in GT-1 and GT-2 on Saturday.

Fershtand’s No. 05 Fershtand Race Prepared Chevrolet Corvette around the No. 48 Heartland Park/Baroque Racing Chevrolet Camaro of Eugene Kraus on the second lap to take the race win and clinch his season-long Championship in the Mid-States.

Kirby’s No. 21 Dodge Viper moved around Mike McGinley’s No. 50 Hendrick Chevrolet/McGinley Motorsports on the same lap, and went around a fading Kraus for second overall by the finish.

Group 5: Preston Calvert took the overall win in an effort to nail down the nation-wide Touring 2 point title in the No. 77 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Penske/Hawk Ford Mustang, followed by the two drivers battling it out for the Mid-States Conference title – leader Natha Waldbaum and Steven Coleman.

If the order remains the same on Sunday, Coleman’s No. 25 Race Away Cancer Ford Mustang will walk away with the Conference championship – Waldbaum’s No. 51 Hutter Performance/Vettesport Chevrolet Corvette needs a win to clinch the title.

Jim Wheeler’s No. 20 Hoosier/Wilwood/K.C. Raceware Pontiac Trans-Am was battling overheating problems, but managed the gap back to second-running Trevor Janke’s No. 14 Janke Auto/Blue Ox/Famous Racing Ent. Pontiac Firebird and stayed just in front to the finish.

The Super Touring Lite race was a tail of two races. Cliff Ira set the early pace in the No. 36 Fira Motorsports Acura Integra, leading away from the start and building a gap on Bob Schader. Schader’s newly built No. 12 MiataCage.com/Hoosier Tire Mazda MX-5 started to close by mid race, and the two were bumper to bumper by lap 10.

On lap 12, the duo approached a lapped car in turn 13. With a split second choice to make, Ira guessed wrong – Schader took the opposite path and moved around both and into the lead. Though the margin remained close, Schader’s Mazda stayed in front to a finish of 0.323-second.

Group 6: The day ended with Jesse Prather running away from the E Production field in the No. 34 Jesse Prather Motorsports/MAZDASPEED/Carbotech/Hoosier Mazda MX-5 to an overall victory, setting a new track record of 1:31.027 in the process. His overall margin of victory closed to just 0.028-second when teammate and F Production winner Eric Prill pulled his No. 7 MaxtonsFight.org/JPM/Hoosier Tire Mazda Miata alongside up the front straight to the finish.

Prill’s race win came after he shook free of Rick Harris’ No. 8 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier/V8 Roadsters/Mazdaspeed Mazda Miata. He then found himself in the midst of a pair of brothers looking for the GT-Lite win.

Joshua Saurino moved into second overall, around Prill, on lap six in the No. 56 The Race Shop/Kelley Engines/Hoosier Tires MG Midget. Engine issues ended his day on lap nine, and left brother Nigel Saurino’s No. 57 The Race Shop/Kelley Engines/Hoosier Tires MG Midget in the class lead, right behind Prill.

Nigel, who started from the rear of the field and worked all the way through, eventually fell back slightly from Prill and each earned their class wins. Ralf Lindlow scored the H Production win in the No. 53 Volkswagen Golf.

The final round of the SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour continues from Heartland Park Topeka on Sunday morning, with the 21 lap races beginning at 9:30 a.m. Live notes and timing are available online at SCCA.com/SCCALive.

More information, including race results, can be found at SCCA.com/HPTMajors.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Provisional race winners for Saturday’s SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour Round 11 from Heartland Park Topeka. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.

American Sedan: Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, Kan., Pontiac Trans-Am
E Production: Jesse Prather, Topeka, Kan., Mazda MX-5
F Production: Eric Prill, Topeka, Kan., Mazda Miata
H Production: Ralf Lindlow, Bellevue, Neb., Volkswagen Golf
Formula 500: Timothy Friest, Leavenworth, Kan., KBS Mk VII/Rotax
Formula Atlantic: Michael Mallinen, Liberty Lake, Wash., Swift 016/Mazda
Formula F: Max Mallinen, Liberty City, Wash., Spectrum 014H/Honda
Formula Mazda: Stuart Rettie, Houston, Texas, Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Richard Shields, Bridgeville, Pa., Vortech FV/Volkswagen
GT-1: David Fershtand, Fort Worth, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Mark Kirby, Shawnee Mission, Kan., Dodge Viper
GT-Lite: Nigel Saurino, Tulsa, Okla., MG Midget
Spec Miata: Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, Texas, Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Denny Stripling, McKinney, Texas, Spec Racer Ford
Super Touring Lite: Bob Schader, Longmont, Colo., Mazda MX-5
Super Touring Under: Anthony Simmers, Boulder, Neb., Volkswagen GTI
Touring 2: Preston Calvert, Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang

Day 2 – SCCA Majors Tour Schedule Takes Checkers At Topeka Mid-States Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (August 31, 2014) – The SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour, and the entire 2014 U.S. Majors Tour schedule, wrapped on Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka with six group races and settled the remaining open championships.

Sunday’s schedule featured 21-lap races around the 2.2-mile HPT configuration to wrap the season. Championship battles were settled by scoring the best eight of 12 races within the Conference.

Highlights from Sunday include:

Group 1: Denny Stripling clinched the Mid-States Conference Spec Racer Ford championship with a pair of wins in his No. 4 Lightspeed Motorsports Spec Racer Ford, walking away from the field to take care of business without any help.

There were a number of scenarios that would allow Stripling to vault Keith Verges’ No. 69 Apex Driving Academy SRF in the standings, but the simplist entering Sunday’s race was for Stripling to win. Starting from pole, he held the lead for the distance and won by a final margin of 12.740 seconds.

That final margin of victory is a bit misleading. Stripling was up four seconds when the field saw the white flag, with Chris Funk’s No. 54 KC Racing SRF battling hard with Verges for second and third place. Funk spun on the final lap, and Verges spun to avoid him, avoiding contact. Both continued quickly, and crossed the line together in order to complete the podium with Jimmy Cote’s No. 20 Micro-Comm Inc. SRF just behind.

Matt Reynolds swept the weekend in Spec Miata, running flag to flag for his win in the No. 73 Reynolds Bros. Racing/JPM/Vintage Connection Mazda Miata.

Group 2: In a mirror image of Saturday’s race, Michael Mallinen started in front of the field and pulled away in the No. 71 Swan Motorsports Swift 016/Mazda to lap the entire field and take the win.

Stuart Rettie’s No. 21 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda swept the weekend in Formula Mazda, moving around Darryl Wills late in the race. Wills’ second-place finish clinched the Mid-States Majors Tour class championship in the No. 1 Hillenburg Motorsports/Hoosier Tire/Hawk Performance Formula Mazda.

Group 3: Saturday winner Max Mallinen was an unexpected Formula F winner on Sunday after a last lap incident elevated his No. 1 Spectrum 014H/Honda from third to first.

The race was a three car battle between Mallinen, Bill Kephart, and Cliff Johnson, with all three taking their turn in the lead in a race that featured an official 10 lead changes.

By the final stages of the race, Mallinen had fallen back and Kephart’s No. 37 Vestial 10F/Honda led Johnson’s No. 4 Alpine Litho-Graphics/Farley Engines Piper DF-5/Honda at the white flag. Johnson, looking for an opportunity to move into the lead, tried to move around Kephart in turn three. The two got together, with Kephart going over the top of Johnson’s machine.

Mallinen suddenly found himself in the lead, and picked up the win. Because they had already put a lap on the rest of the field, Johnson limped around for second, with Kephart being towed in but still in third on the final standings.

In Formula 500, Herb Noble held on for the win in his No. 44 Mitchell Racing Services Scorpion 001/Rotax after a battle with Conference champion Timothy Friest. The battle between Noble and Friest’s No. 86 Hoosier/XTRacing/RodEndSupply KBS MkVII/Rotax became the battle for the lead with CJ McAbee’s No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage/Hoosier AJ’s 2012/Rotax pulled to pit lane on lap three.

Lisa Noble drove the No. 7 LittleFeat.Net Vortech FV to the Formula Vee win after starting from the rear of the field. Noble worked through traffic and took the class lead on lap five, then swapped the lead with Justin Willbanks’ No. 21 RS1 Motorsports Wormer EV-3 for the next two laps. Noble broke free of that battle and drove to the win.

Group 4: David Fershtand and Mark Kirby marched away from their closest competition on Sunday, taking wins in GT-1 and GT-2, respectively, and finishing first and second in the overall order.

Fershtand led flag to flag in the No. 05 Fershtand Race Prepared Chevrolet Corvette, setting a new track record with a 1:23.016 on lap three. Kirby matched the win in the No. 21 Dodge Viper, winning by six seconds over Mike McGinley’s No. 50 Hendrick Chevrolet/McGinley Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette.

Group 5: A weekend sweep by Preston Calvert in Touring 2 gave him the nation-wide point title in the No. 77 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Penske/Hawk Ford Mustang, but Steven Coleman’s third place finish in class gave him the points he needed in the No. 25 Race Away Cancer Ford Mustang to take the Mid-States class title. Coleman’s point total equaled second place Natha Waldbaum’s in the No. 51 Hutter Performance/Vettesport Chevrolet Corvette, but earned the title on tiebreakers.

Kim McDonald got a great start in the No. 29 Kim’s Auto Repair Services/Herman Plumbing/BosselmanOil Pontiac Firebird, jumping into the early lead but falling behind Tim White’s No. 7 Woomah.com Ford Mustang and Dean Palmer’s No. 5 Palmer Racing Development/Ford Racing Parts/Hoosier/AJ’s racing engines Ford Mustang on the opening lap. By lap five, McDonald had moved back to the lead, and held the position through the middle stages of the race. By lap 19, however, Trevor Janke’s No. 14 Janke Auto/Blue Ox/Famous Racing Ent./Pender Body and Glass was closing to the back of McDonald. McDonald held on for the final two laps, with Janke second.

Cliff Ira got revenge from Saturday’s race, keeping his No. 36 Fira Motorsports Acura Integra in front of Bob Schader’s No. 12 MiataCage.com/Hoosier Tire Mazda MX-5 for the distance. Ira held off a charging Schader through the final corner, when Schader dove to the inside in his last effort to take the win. Schader spun, with just a hint of contact, but Ira stayed in front up the front straight to the checkered flag.

Anthony Simmers wrapped up the Super Touring Under Conference title in the No. 45 RebayReseller.com/Hoosier Tires/Vaslet Design Volkswagen GTI with a pair of wins in the weekend, and James Place swept the Touring 4 weekend with a win on Sunday in the No. 138 Place Rentals/Hawk/Acura/BFG/Summit Acura GRS.

Group 6: Nigel Saurino, running in F Production on Sunday, moved his No. 57 The Race Shop/Kelley Engines/Hoosier Tire MG Midget around Jesse Prather’s E Production No. 34 Jesse Prather Motorsports/MAZDASPEED/Carbotech/Hoosier Mazda MX-5 on lap five through lapped traffic, then kept his car in front for the overall and class win.

Saurino maintained a gap over class rivals Rick Harris, in the No. 8 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier/V8 Roadsters/Mazdaspeed Mazda Miata, and Eric Prill, in the No. 7 MaxtonsFight.org/JPM/Hoosier Tire Mazda Miata, to hold off any serious challenges. Harris and Prill completed the class podium.

Roy Lopshire drove his No. 98 TRD/Williams Racing Development/Hoosier Toyota Tercel around Kent Prather’s No. 26 PratherRacing/Mazdaspeed/MossMtrs/Torco/Carbotech/Hoosier Tires Mazda Miata on lap 15, then pulled away for the race win.

Ralf Lindow swept H Production with a win on Sunday in the No. 53 Volkswagen Golf, but the No. 09 R & R Racing/R. Smart Properties Fiat X 1/9 of Randy Smart walked away with the season long Mid-States Conference championship with his second place on Sunday.

That concludes both the Mid-States Conference and the entire U.S. Majors Tour for the 2014 season, as the SafeRacer Club Racing program turns its eyes to the 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, October 7-12. Each of the National Championship Races will be broadcast live on SpeedCastTV.com.

More information from the Mid-States Conference Majors Tour finale, including race results, can be found at SCCA.com/HPTMajors.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Provisional race winners for Sunday’s SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour Round 12 from Heartland Park Topeka. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.

American Sedan: Kim McDonald, Potomac, Md., Pontiac Firebird
E Production: Jesse Prather, Topeka, Kan., Mazda MX-5
F Production: Nigel Saurino, Tulsa, Okla., MG Midget
H Production: Ralf Lindow, Bellevue, Neb., Volkswagen Golf
Formula 500: Herb Noble, Marion, Iowa, Scorpion 001/Rotax
Formula Atlantic: Michael Mallinen, Liberty Lake, Wash., Swift 016/Mazda
Formula F: Max Mallinen, Liberty City, Wash., Spectrum 014H/Honda
Formula Mazda: Stuart Rettie, Houston, Texas, Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Lisa Noble, Manhattan, Kan., Vortech FV/Volkswagen
GT-1: David Fershtand, Fort Worth, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Mark Kirby, Shawnee Mission, Kan., Dodge Viper
GT-Lite: Roy Lopshire, Blue Springs, Mo., Toyota Tercel
Spec Miata: Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, Texas, Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Denny Stripling, McKinney, Texas, Spec Racer Ford
Super Touring Lite: Cliff Ira, Kansas City, Mo., Acura Integra
Super Touring Under: Anthony Simmers, Boulder, Neb., Volkswagen GTI
Touring 2: Preston Calvert, Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang
Touring 4: James Place, San Antonio, Texas, Acura GRS

Day 1 Photos

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply