481 SCCA Racers Make Laps At COTA
AUSTIN, Texas — Sports Car Club of America milestones were set on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas, where 481 drivers turned a lap at the facility during the opening day of the BFGoodrich Tires Texas Super Tour.
Saturday was also the opening point-scoring day of the Mid-States Majors Tour championship.
Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., will forever be known as the first driver in the SCCA SafeRacer National Series to take a checkered flag at the home of the United States Grand Prix. Starting on pole in the No. 88 Braeburn/2Dogg/Hoosier Piper 2F2D/Honda, Kautz led the first lap with Steve Bamford’s No. 07
Bamford Produce Mygale SJ11 in tow. Bamford grabbed the lead on lap two, then led until Kautz worked back in front on lap seven. Once in front, Kautz cruised to his historic victory.
Running in the same group, Chris Jennerjahn, of Hartford City, Ind., took a Formula Vee win in a race that nearly got away from him in the final corner. Jennerjahn’s No. 48 Jennerjahn Machine, Inc. Vortech/VW led by 2.292-second going into the final lap, finally gapping the No. 22 Fones Vortech/VW of Tyler Hunter in traffic after a race-long fight. Hunter closed that gap until the two were running nose-to-tail again coming out of the final Turn 20, with Hunter diving to the inside. Jennerjahn made the short jump to the checkered flag by just 0.108-second to take the win.
CJ McAbee’s No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage AJ’s Rotax also took a Formula 500 win in that opening group.
Matt Reynolds followed with a group two overall win by a large margin in his E Production No. 71 Reynolds Brothers Racing/Jesse Prather Motorsports/Prodigy Motorsports Mazda Miata, but battling for a class win a few positions behind were the No. 7 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier/Hawk/Motul Mazda Miata of Eric Prill and the No. 73 SpringfieldDyno.com/SafeRacer Mazda Miata of Sam Henry. Prill led from the pole until lap eight, when Henry slid to the inside going up the hill for Turn 1. Prill was back into the lead with one lap to go, but Henry dove to the inside on the final corner to take the victory.
Keith Verges’ No. 69 Apex Driving Academy Spec Racer Ford won a close, four-car battle in the class. Franklin Futrelle’s No. 17 Comprent Motorsports/Skip Barber Racing machine and Verges came out of Turn 20 fender-to-fender battling for the top spot. When it counted, Verges was able to edge Futrelle out by 0.034 seconds, with the nose of Futrelle even with the right front tire of Verges as the two cars crossed the line.
Denny Stripling’s No. 4 Lightspeed Motorsports and Todd Harris’ No. 72 Pro Drive machines finished third and fourth after swapping positions ahead of the 75-car field for 12 laps.
Spec Miata was a three-car battle between defending National Champion Jim Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Miata, Andrew Charbonneau’s No. 40 Jeffy Boy Racing Miata, and Craig Berry’s No. 29 Granit e Remnant Store/East Street Racing machine.
Drago and Charbonneau spent most of the race swapping the lead going into turn one. The wide approach to the turn was inviting to many, and a number of drivers used it to their advantage. Charbonneau tried to use that inside entrance with one lap to go. Running deep on the exit, Berry and Charbonneau made side to side contact, slightly bogging down their momentum and giving Drago some breathing room just before the 30-minute time limit expired.
The Formula 1000 battle highlighted the fastest group of the day, stealing the thunder from the slightly faster Formula Atlantic, C Sports Racing, and D Sports Racing machines. Lawrence Loshak scored the pole on the final lap of qualifying in the morning, then kept his No. 2 ETE Reman/JDR Race Cars/Moon Super Cycle JDR F1000 at the front for the opening lap. J.R. Osborne’s No. 83 Hoosier/Moon’s Supercycle/C3 Construction Citation F1000 snuck around Loshak on the second lap, and the two gave chase for what was promising to be a thrilling 30-minute battle.
Within a car length until the two drivers encountered lapped traffic and saw Osbourne create a gap, Loshak’s shot at a rebound fell by the wayside when the race was checkered after just six laps due to a long cleanup for a D Sports Racing machine that found the trackside barriers.
The mid-sized open wheel machines saved the best for last, where two classes of the classes waited until the final corner to decide the winner.
Alan McCallum’s No. 1 McCallum Racing Formula Mazda blitzed past Timothy Reger’s No. 19 Pierce Autosports machine, stealing a victory from Reger. Reger spent the early part of the race chasing Carson Weeder’s No. 28 Weeder Motorsports machine, inheriting the lead when Weeder pulled off course on lap seven.
Several seconds after McCallum crossed the stripe, Mark Eaton’s No. 92 RobinsonMotorsports.com Formula Enterprises machine attempted the same Turn 20 pass that had been so popular all day. Leader Paul Schneider anticipated the move, and kept his No. 73 Performance Motorcars of Charlotte machine in front by just the length of the front splitter to take the Formula Enterprises win.