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SCCA Valvoline Runoffs® Diary:
Day One

Lexington, OH, September 21, 2001 Some Things Never Change. They moved the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs® from the usual October date to a September week to escape the snow (no kidding for those who don't remember last year, and that included sleet and rain as well, sometimes all in one race), but it seems the Runoffs® can never escape the rain. A number of races were affected by the precipitation in the worse way -- rain would come and go during the races wrecking havoc on teams' setup choices. Thankfully, the outlook looks promising for the final two days.

I Think I Won It Now. The G Production race was a classic example of the weather dictating the results. No less than three different drivers opened up huge leads thinking they had the gold medal in their grasp, only to be caught out by the changing weather. First it was Fritz Costley who took the lead from pole sitter Kevin Allen. Costley's FIAT X 1/9 was then reeled in by Kent Prather in his MGA when the conditions started to dry out. Costley would eventually finish fifth. Prather's large lead wouldn't last as the race line nearly completely dried out. Jeff Winter closed the gap and then took the lead with two laps to go in his Rallye/Sport/Nissan/Goodyear Datsun 510. Winter, from Arvada, CO, took the checkered flag. Prather dropped back to third as Thomas Reichenbach grabbed second on the last lap in his FIAT X 1/9.

American Tribute. Instead of the double checkered flags greeting the winner, the SCCA decided to use a checkered flag and American flag to end each race as they honor fellow members Linda Gronlund and Joe DeLuca.

Lucky 13. SCCA racers aren't superstitious. Two drivers drove the number 13 to victory lane. First, Kyle Krisiloff (yes, that Krisiloff family from Indianapolis), took the win in the Formula Ford race. He too had to deal with changing weather conditions, but he and his crew chose correctly, and Krisiloff ran away with the race in his USGP/Formula 1/Simpson/Bosch Van Diemen RF01. The very next race, Showroom Stock C, saw David Roush from nearby Shelby, OH take his number 13 to the gold medal, also in a runaway by over 18 seconds, by leading every lap from pole position in his Kumho/Red Line/Hawk 1999 Mazda Protege ES. The only other number 13 that ran today was Canadian Greg Rice in Formula Vee. He didn't share in the luck starting 23rd and dropping out after 11 laps with his Autowerks sponsored car with the unique chassis name -- Shirley MacLane.

Formula Madness. You are always guaranteed action in the formula classes, even if the leader is not being challenged. There's plenty of other fights to keep you entertained. The Formula Vee group didn't take long to wow the crowd. The 46 car field came screaming into the first turn after the green flag so tightly bunched you couldn't see any pavement. They made it through the first turn, but they didn't come out of the second turn clean. The Law of Physics took over, and cars began to bounce off each other, take flight, and hit the tire wall. When all was said and done, everybody was somehow able to rejoin the race before the lap was completed. Brad Stout, from St. Louis, in his Goodyear/Noble/LRE/BRP 2000 Vortech won the race from pole position, but the fighting behind him thrilled the crowd for the entire 20 laps. The Formula Ford race saw an interesting situation -- some started on wet tires, some started on intermediates, and some on dry tires. It made for a lot of unique action during the race. The other formula car race for the day was F500. Elivan Goulart from Stratford, CT won in his QRE Racing/Hoosier Invader QA-1A.

Could We Have Some Final Results Please? One downside of the Runoffs® is that they tend to produce lots of protests. For that reason, final results can sometimes not be released till the next day, if not longer. Today was no exception, as many of the race results were still provisional. Speaking of results, in the two races not mentioned, Touring 1 was won by John Heinricy from Holly, MI in the Phoenix Pontiac-Buick-GMC Chevy Corvette, and Jamie Houseman from London, Ontario, Canada won the GT4 race in a Glick Nissan 200SX by a scant .389 seconds.

No High Heels. SCCA Club Racing is the meat and potatoes of road racing. Even in the National Championships, you won't see the type of folks you find at a premier professional event. You know the type, the women in high heels, the women with more silicone than a computer, and even the strippers. (True story -- at this year's Molson Indy Toronto, there sat one row down and a few seats over from me a stripper who barely wore anything, hanging out in all the right places. To top it off, she handed out her business card to those around her with her web address on it, which verified who she was ... so I heard.) No, at the Runoffs® you find real racing fans, families, car lovers, etc. And if you haven't been to the Runoffs®, shame on you. It is the best deal in racing -- $30 for a weekend ticket that includes 24 barn burning races, $24 if you buy in advance. That's a buck a race!

Copyright © 2001 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
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