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Lunar Gravity


Mid-Am Report

(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.

Grand Touring

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.

Sports Racing

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.

Street Tires

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.

Improved Touring

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 1995).

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.

-Rocky Entriken


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