Three Double Winners At Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga. – Twenty-seven drivers celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday with victories in Round Four of the SCCA Eastern Conference Majors Tour, taking class wins on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit.
The second day of the weekend-long doubleheader event opened with repeat wins from Steven Lustig’s GT-3 class No. 51 Luna Sueno Tequila/Autosport Acura Integra, Ken Kannard’s F Production No. 5 Northwest Cable/Hoosier/Mazda Mazda Miata, and Michael Miller’s H Production No. 64 SportsCarSalvage/AppRaceTire Austin Sprite.
Jim Daniels hoped to join that list of drivers in Group One, but a cracked header on his E Production No. No. 86 SpecMiata.com Mazda MX-5 knocked him out of the overall lead and elevated Michael Helm’s No. 31 H&H Racing Toyota MR-2 to victory.
Group Two progressed much like the opener up front, with David Brand cruising to victory in Super Touring Under behind the wheel of the No. 3 Krugspeed/BGB Esq. Louts Exige. Chad Gilsinger’s No. 07 BFGoodrich Tires/HPD/H&R Recaro/BRM Acura TL SH-AWD kept a comfortable gap in Touring 3 while the No. 26 Hoosier/Carbotech/Redline Honda S2000 of Chris Puskar and the No. 88 ICS Learning Group/DWW Motorsports Nissan 350Z of Brian Kleeman battled for the runner-up position.
The pair swapped the second position over the course of the race, with Kleeman in front with one lap to go. By the time the two had reached the checkered flag, however, Puskar had moved the Honda back in front to claim the runner-up finish.
On their way to victories, both Brian Price (driving the No. 5 RP Performance Mazda MX-5 in Touring 4) and Robbie Davis (in the No. 37 MINI of Charleston/MINIUSA.com MINI Cooper) claimed track records, running a 1:42.945 and a 1:51.635, respectively.
The close races that didn’t develop in the opening groups most certainly did in Group 3 with the smaller open-wheel machines. Paul Schneider, whose No. 73 Performance Motor Cars of Charlotte Formula Enterpises/Mazda had been shadowed by Brandon Kennedy all weekend in both races and qualifying, finally escaped for an easier win on Sunday, but the top four drivers in both Formula F and Formula Vee had to work for their podium spots.
Lewis Cooper III battled early with Steve Bamford, and when the two tangled coming down the hill between Turn 11 and Turn 12 and Bamford ‘s No. 07 Mygale SJ-11 spun on lap six, two other cars joined the lead battle. Cooper’s No. 0 Polestar/Martini Van Diemen/Ford held the lead, but Bamford, John Benson’s No. 7 Advanced Borehole Services/Lee Racing Swift DB-3 and David Livingston, Jr.’s No. 85 ThermaMasters Swift DB-3 ran in a line just behind.
Cooper snuck away at the end, leaving the three others to battle for the final two podium positions. Bamford held the front of the trio around the final 12 turns for that runner-up position, with Benson finishing third.
While the Formula F field was waging their battle, a nearly identical chess match was playing out in the Formula Vee race. With Guy Bellingham on the point in the No. 12 Vallis Motor Sport BRD AFV02/VW, a four-car stream followed – first with Mitchell Ferguson, Donnie Isley, and Stevan Davis right behind.
Davis experienced mechanical difficulties and fell out on lap seven, but Alexander Rizer’s No. 02 Royal Pawn Vortech 05-15/VW joined the group and the run for the podium.