(The final I.T. Tour report follows below)
One double Regional past at Mid-America, one more to come at Gateway, then
a double-points Bonus Race at Memphis to wrap up the 2003 Mid-Am
Championship. Some classes are shaping up wild finishes, others
are virtually done. A handful of contenders chose instead to try
their luck at the Runoffs, which takes them out of the Mid-Am.
SP: Harlan Moore (KC) looks like he's doing another
end-of-season dash to a championship, exactly as he did the past
two years. A pair of wins at MAM puts him one race away from the
minimum needed. ~ EP: Ronald Davis (Kan) was the
only Mid-Am driver racing at MAM, scoring his 9th and 10th wins
of the season, but it made little difference. He is already at max
points (72) going to the Bonus Race and Dale Smith (Kan)
is still within Bonus Race range at 66. Forrest Tindall (OzMt)
was a contender but did the Runoffs, so now third place is a duel
between Cliff Koehler (KC) and Phil Leonard (KC).
~ FP: The situation remains unchanged – Bob Eichelberger
(StL) with four wins and Larry Graham (KC) with three. ~
GP: Duane Rost won Nos. 8 and 9 on his season while
the drivers 2nd and 3rd are now out of the running – Chuck
Leighton (OzMt) went to the Runoffs and Rocky Entriken
(Sal) was DNF in MAM's Saturday race. ~ HP: Tim McGinley
(StL) still needs just one more race to take the title.
GT1: None ran at MAM. Dan Guterman (NeOk) has run up seven
wins. With three wins and one second-place each, Mary Daly
(StL) and Emery Emond (Neb) are tied. A couple more good
scores at Gateway could make either or both strong Bonus Race challengers
to Guterman. ~ GT2: Rick Carr (OzMt) and Ward Herst
(StL) went 1-2 both days at MAM. The duel intensifies. ~ GT5:
Denny Hayes (Neb) still needs a couple more finishes, could
get them the end of October at Gateway.
CSR: Mike McGinley (KC) ran up a couple more wins at MAM to max his score at 72 while Michael Stephens (NeOk) remains in second scoring four wins. ~ S2000: Al Essig (KC) won two at MAM to take the lead with four wins. Ed Smith (StL) is now second with his three wins. If Smith takes the Gateway pair they set up a Bonus Race showdown. ~ SRF: Ron Lentz (KC) has seven wins and awaits the Bonus Race. O.L. Kinney (KC) won both ends at MAM and vaulted from fourth past Ken Tripkos (Kan) to second. Frank Stone (KC) added two more second-place finishes and stands in fourth place.
FA: Willard King (KC), recovered from heart surgery, added
two more wins at MAM and put himself in contention for the F/Atlantic
championship. Phil Gumpert (StL) could do the same at Gateway.
FC: None raced at MAM. Shane Bennoch (OzMt), champion
three of the last four years, leads with four wins. Patrick Donnelly
(Kan) with three is within range. Willard King (KC), is only
three points down from Donnelly, could win either FC or FA but it
would be difficult to win both. ~ FF: Slade Miller
(Okla) and Tim Koch (KC) went 1-2 both days at MAM and jumped
up to 1-2 in overall points. Fernando Licopoli (KC) didn't
race and fell to third, but is only two behind Koch and eight down
from Miller. ~ CF: Patrick Donnelly (Kan) won eight
straight races in April and May, and that looked like it might be
good enough. But Hans Iwand (Neb) won both days at MAM. He
could steal it from Donnelly by winning the last three. ~ FV:
Neil Cox (NeOk) has won five times, four since he got his new
Protoform, and has the FV title locked.
AS: David Guinn (Wich) added a third win at MAM and stretched
his lead to 32 points over Mark Kutina (KC), who has only
three finishes. ~ T2: Chris Brannon (OzMt) signed
up in July and has run, and won, all seven races since. ~ SSC:
Paul Sherman (Wich) scored a fifth win at MAM’s second
race. Jan Gerber (Neb) ran the Runoffs leaving the challenge
to wife Candy Gerber (Neb), who scored her first win beating
Sherman at MAM. ~ SM: All the top guns and a few more
raced at MAM. Dick Faxon (OzMt) didn't need any of the points
he scored there as he is already at a max 72. Tom Kraft (DMV)
boosted his score by a couple and is now just nine points behind.
The big leap was by Bill Pemberton (Neb) who won both days
and jumped from 6th to 3rd, followed closely by Jarrod Igou
(DMV), Stephen Johnson and Anthony Vogt (DMV). However,
there is a pending protest from the Sunday race which could change
things even more.
ITS: Bob Gill (KC) stands at a perfect (so far)
score of 72 points. Behind him just 11 points separates 2nd through
6th with Skip Brunson (Miss) two up on Monica Rollins
(KC) and Randy Wagner (NeOk). ~ ITA: Timothy
Finley (StL) jumped from 18 points behind to six points ahead
with a pair of MAM victories. Now in pursuit are Mark Jeffery
(Ark), who is six ahead of Lynn Lamb (Okla). ~ ITB:
Chris Albin (SIll) has now won 17 Mid-Am races. Russ Neely
(Okla) with a runner-up finish moved past Bill Briggen (SIll)
into second. ~ ITC: While Jeffery Jenkins (KC) stands
atop the heap at 72 points, the two Fiats of Nick Chinopulos
(MidS) and Larry Orr (MidS) made the long jaunt to MAM and
closed the gap considerably. Orr won both days and is now just one
point behind Chinopulos, and the Bonus Race is on their home track.
~ ITE: Jeff Demetri (Neb) won the two MAM races to
climb from third to first in class, five points up on Mike McGinley
(KC). John Waldbaum (Neb) didn't race and remains in third,
but Buddy Cisar (Neb) did and moved within range with a pair
of runner-up finishes.
On the I.T. Tour
On a rainy Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka, the final shot of the 2003 Midwest Division I.T. Tour produced six new champions, and for the first time since the inception of the series we have award winners for the gold, silver and bronze in every class. Except one, where there was a tie for the silver.
Kansas has been in drought conditions all summer, but in one weekend about made up for it. Of course, it had to be a race weekend, bringing new entertainment factors to the Tour’s final race. When day was done, several medal positions were determined by a single point.
ITS ~ This was the one race virtually uncontested at HPT, but
Jim Bishop (Miss) had it won beforehand. Bishop, the winner
at both Memphis rounds, becomes only the second Mississippi Region
driver to win a MiDiv club racing championship of any kind (Chris
Collins was Mid-Am ITS champ in 1995-96). J.J. Perodeau (Okla),
also twice a winner, takes the silver, and Doug Ford (MidS)
gets the bronze.
ITA ~ Paul Brown (KC) could do no better than win the
race at HPT, and Lynn Lamb (Okla) was next across the line,
but all Mark Jeffery (Ark) had to do was finish. His 4th
place points gave him the championship by one point over Brown,
while Lamb’s finish boosted him to the bronze medal by one
point over Timothy Finley (StL). Arkansas Region also hasn’t
had many champions. Jeffery is only the sixth in any MiDiv series,
and the second since 1975 (after Norm Floyd’s ITC title in
ITB ~ Chris Albin (SIll) of course, winning all eight
of his starts and he did not race HPT. Neither did Patrick Findley
(MidS), who nevertheless held on for second. The fight for third
place was between the Briggen boys, and while Bill
in 3rd was two places ahead of Bob, 5th was enough points
to hold off Bill for the bronze medal.
ITC ~ Lawrence Orr (MidS) had this one won and Nick
Chinopulos (MidS) was assured of the silver. Jeffery Jenkins
(KC) came and raced at HPT and outran John Schultz (Kan)
for the 12 points that raised him to an unbreakable tie with Chinopulos,
so both stand on the second step of the virtual podium.
ITE ~ John Waldbaum (Neb) had the unbeatable points total
for gold. Bud Brazelton (MidS) could have been caught for
silver but the only guy who could have done it, Paul Greaser
(KC), didn't race. Mike McGinley (KC) did, won it, and bumped
Greaser out of the bronze medal picture by one point.
SM ~ Dick Faxon (OzMt) is the only Spec Miata champion
the I.T. Tour has known. The only driver with a remote chance to
spoil his bid for a third title – David Harber (MidS)
- did not make the trip. Faxon did not have a good race, finishing
sixth, but the four points would have been enough to hold off Harber
in any event. Tom Kraft (DMV) had a very good race, winning
it, which was what he needed to overtake Harber by a single point
for the silver medal. Jarrod Igou (DMV) came in third, just
missing the bronze as he fell one point behind Harber.