As reported, Gary Martz made
a last minute decision to go to the Pocono Double National. After the event
he found himself only two points away from the NeDiv E-Production Championship.
But there were no more National races left on the NeDiv calendar. No problem.
Drivers can count a maximum of six race results, including two from “out
of division”. Gary decided to go to the CenDiv Grattan race. But nothing
comes easy and Gary crashed on his third lap of practice on Friday. It
was a suspension failure. The car was repaired but looked beat up when
he went to the grid for the Sunday race. It ran well enough for Gary to
finish second and achieve the 2004 NEDiv E-Production Championship. Congratulations.
MID-OHIO DOUBLE REGIONAL
Two weeks prior to each year’s
Run-Offs there is a double Regional at Mid-Ohio. We usually have several
vehicles participating and the weekend offers us a chance to set up our
compound for the Run-Offs. Matt Miller brought his ITS Mazda RX-7 and the
GT4 Datsun 510. The Mazda was mainly for practice since ITS is not a National
class. The “510” was there for a test prior to its appearance at the Run-Offs.
Mike Olivier was driving his SSC class Honda Civic and reached some personal
best lap times. Mike finished fourth in Sunday’s race and plans on trying
his hand at a few Nationals in 2005. We also brought Ray Barnhart’s ITE
class BMW to the event. Ray won both days in his Regional-only car. David
Pintaric was running his T-1 class Corvette and practicing for the Run-Offs.
He won his class both days.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Three days after the Regional
Sandi was back at Mid-Ohio helping with Registration. The Run-Offs officially
run September 20-26, but registration starts several days earlier and many
drivers were already testing at the track. Sandi worked Registration on
the 16th, 18th, and 19th. Each day she also transferred vehicles, parts,
supplies, and tools between the track and the shop.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
Both Bill and David Pintaric
registered for test sessions on the 17th. Sandi and Matt were there to
help. A lot of the rain left in the remnants of Hurricane Ivan was also
there. David ran a couple of sessions in the rain and turned some impressive
lap times. It did dry by day’s end and Bill was able to get his GT-4 Nissan
on track to check out the engine and transmission rebuilds. The engine
was fine and the transmission needed some minor adjustments to the linkage.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
The crew arrived - well most
of them. Matt Carson, who worked for us in 2003 and has spent 2004 in Iraq,
was taking his well-deserved leave to come and crew at the Run-offs. His
initial due home date was Sept. 16. We had an e-mail from him on the 17th
that he was in Kuwait. He finally got home on Sunday the 19th
about mid-night. He stayed home on Monday and caught up on some much needed
rest. Crew members Glenn Miller, Eric Ritz, Bill Seibold arrived in the
morning and Brent Walton came after classes on Monday afternoon. After
setting up the hospitality area (canopy, tables, chairs and grill (thanks
David), the cars were readied for their only practice sessions. Since both
the Nissan 200SX and Corvette C5 were repainted in various areas prior
to the Run-Offs, new numbers & logos needed to be put back on both
cars. This was done during the day. Bill was 6th in GT4, David
17th in T1, Matt 25th in GP and Gary 22nd
in EP. We had an oil leak in GT 4 car which we had to track down and it
did not shift as smoothly as we would have liked, but the other cars were
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Bill’s oil leak persisted
each day cutting into his track time. David, Bill, Matt & Gary drover
faster each day, but fell backwards in class positions. The level of competition
seemed to have stepped up a notch from 2003. Case in point - David qualified
a second faster than Reed did in 2003 (in David‘s car), but ended up 15th
on the grid. That same time in 2003 would have been good enough for 7th
place on the grid. On Thursday, Speed Channel did an interview with Bill
& David - it will be featured during the GT4 race on December 12th.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
If someone had told me it
would be in the 90’s at the end of September, I would have told them they
were nuts. However, the temp was in the low 90’s for David’s race. David
drove a good race and avoided a couple of incidents by other drivers, finishing
on the lead lap in 18th place. Not bad for a rookie. David’s
first ever National was in April.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
I did not have to go into
the pits for Gary’s race, so off to spectate I went. Bill, Eric & myself
saw some excellent racing. Gary’s race was no exception. Having qualified
30th, Gary steadily moved up thru the race and finished 19th.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
After warm-up, I took off for the Cleveland Airport to pick up Reed who had been working in California. He flew home on the red-eye. Matt’s race was the next to last race of the day and Bill’s race was the last race. Talk about hurry up and wait. I hope we are not the last two races of the week-end in 2005. Like David, this was Matt’s first year of racing Nationals. He had converted Bill’s Datsun 510 from a GT4 to a GP. Matt qualified 30th and finished 17th.
Bill’s car seemed to be fine
in warm-up. However, the oil gremlin returned at the start of the race,
along with a very bad vibration. Bill had to pit on lap 4. That was the
end. The dif was broken. We still do not know why we had such a severe
oil leak all week, but the engine builder requested we ship the engine
back to him.
All in all it was a great run-offs. Sure there were disappointments, but then no season is perfect. Bill had the winning car from last year and had very high expectations for the Run-offs - we all did. But, he was the NeDiv Champion in GT 4, won 3 nationals, had two 2 seconds and a third, no DNF’s or DNS’s in route to his championship. David started out the year a little ragged - but finished strong with a 2nd the Gateway National. Matt learned a lot from racing Nationals and it carried over to his ITS racing in regionals. Gary was the NeDiv Champion in EP.
We would like to thank the crew. Eric Ritz, Glenn Miller, Matt Carson, Brent Walton, Tim Walton, Bill Seibold and Matt Miller (when he wasn’t racing).
All the drivers are looking
forward to the 2005 National race season.