RACE: Valvoline Runoffs: Final qualifying report

Grids are set as qualifying at Valvoline Runoffs ends LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 17, 2003) -- With an increasing chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, many racers turned up their intensity levels more than a notch on Thursday, the final day ...

RACE: Valvoline Runoffs: Final qualifying report

Grids are set as qualifying at Valvoline Runoffs ends

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 17, 2003) -- With an increasing chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, many racers turned up their intensity levels more than a notch on Thursday, the final day before races begin. While precipitation isn't expected for either Saturday or Sunday, the drivers who will race then still pushed, trying to improve their spot on the grid.

In Showroom Stock B, the three BMW Z4's came out firing Thursday, grabbing the top three spots on the grid for Saturday's race. Jim Leithauser, of Westminster, Colo., torched the road course with the fastest class time of the week so far, with a 1:43.965. T.C. Kline, of Hilliard, Ohio, surged up the grid to second position after shaving his bet time from 1:45.471 on Tuesday to 1:44.522. David Nielsen, of Galena, Ohio, is third quickest heading into Saturday with a 1:44.660. No other entries in the class were able to break into the 1:44's.

Kevin Dennis, of Rochester, N.Y., will be on the pole for the start of the G Production race on Friday. Running his best lap (1:40.520) on the last of the three-day qualifying period, Dennis' Nissan 510 will start ahead of Kent Prather, of Wakarusa, Kan., whose Tuesday qualifying time of 1:40.916 placed him second on the grid. Karl McColl, of Arvada, Colo., will start third in his Nissan PL510 after qualifying with a time of 1:41.767.

Robert Weber, of Kingwood, Texas, stormed out of the gate on Tuesday and his 1:41.728 mark held up through the final two days of H Production qualifying leaving him out front for Saturday's first race. His AH Sprite stayed just ahead of Ron Bartell, of Madbury, N.H., and his MG Midget. Bartell surged up into second on the grid Thursday after he sliced his qualifying time to 1:41.928 from his Tuesday time of 1:45.876. Daniel Collishaw, of East Orleans, Mass., consistently improved his times every day, finishing qualifying with the third quickest time at 1:42.017.

John Black, of Olympic Valley, Calif., grabbed the pole for Sunday morning's Spec Racer Ford race. His Wednesday qualifying time of 1:39.173 puts him about a half-second ahead of second qualifier Richard Spicer, of Laurel, Md., who put forth his best qualifying effort on Wednesday as well (1:39.182). Joe Colasacco, of Greenwich, Conn., jumped from sixth to third position yesterday and will start there on Sunday as his 1:39.265 mark clipped the first-day run (1:39.330) put up by Mike Davies, of Houston, Texas, who will start fourth.

The grid is set for Sunday morning's Sports 2000 race with Steve Johnson, of Deerfield, N.H., on the pole in his SR-71. Johnson never slid from the top spot after positng the fast time Tuesday (1:27.733). He ensured his front spot by running an even better 1:27.596 Thursday. John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, moved up to second on the grid yesterday and stayed there after posting his best time over the past three days with a 1:27.877. Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., jumped all the way to third on Thursday after knocking off more than 1.2 seconds from his previous best (1:29.356) to his final mark of 1:28.110.

Mike Kramer, of Franklin, Tenn., took control of qualifying session three, ran a quick time of 1:48.132 in his Saturn SC2 and snatched up the pole position for Showroom Stock C's Friday morning race. His time flew him from third quickest to the top, ahead of John Fernandez, of Rochester, Mich., who had held the class' top time (1:48.153) over the first two days. While Fernandez' Dodge Neon will complete the front row, John Phillips III, of Sealy, Texas, will start third in his Honda Civic, qualifying with a Wednesday time of 1:48.483.

Three Ralt chassis will be at the front of the pack for the start of Friday afternoon's Formula Atlantic championship. Keith Lively, of San Francisco, Calif., sped up his qualifying times each day before settling into the pole in his Ralt RT-41 with a 1:19.379. Rennie Clayton, from San Francisco, Calif., will start alongside Lively after exploding to the second spot from eighth after his Ralt RT-41 sprinted to a 1:20.692 Thursday. Ben Beasley, of Painesville, Ohio, will start third in his Ralt RT-40 after he turned in a qualifying time of 1:20.821 Wednesday.

Jacek Mucha, of Laval, Quebec, Canada, will start at the pole of the Runoffs' first race, C Sport Racing, Friday morning at 10 a.m. Mucha's time of 1:22.171, posted Tuesday in his Ralt JMS, appears untouchable as no other driver in CSR has been able to run anywhere faster. Jeffrey Miller, of Plymouth, Wis., will start on the front row in his Wynnfurst CSR with Mucha, as he posted the second fastest qualifying time (1:25.812) Wednesday. Jack Ruscilli, of Columbus, Ohio, will start third in his Ralt RT-5, his qualifying time a 1:26.949.

GT4's Keith Grant, of Cordova, Tenn., will lead the procession at the start of Thursday afternoon's race after his Nissan 200SX posted the three-day qualifying session's fastest time (1:35.595) on Tuesday. Michael Mazziotti, of Wexford, Penn., will fill out the front row as his Honda CRX was second fastest on the course (1:35.980). J Warren Montague, of Manakin Sabot, Va., snuck into the third spot after his Toyota Tercel blasted out a time of 1:36.764 Thursday.

The grid is set for GT5's Saturday afternoon championship run and Joe Huffaker, of Petaluma, Calif., will be on the pole as he made a significant improvement on his already class-low time. His Huffaker Mini Cooper punched out a 1:37.901 Thursday, down from his prior day's 1:38.580. Doug Peterson, of Rescue, Calif., will be alongside Huffaker in his Mini Cooper S after his 1:38.596 Tuesday run left him second fastest. Kirk Olson, of Littleton, Colo., will lurk just behind the two front row competitors in his Honda CRX as his Wednesday qualifying time of 1:38.625 left him in the third slot.

Steven Davis will have the pole at the start of the Formula Vee race, slated for early Sunday morning. His Racers Wage model Vee captured the top spot with a 1:39.619 Wednesday. Poised just behind Davis are race favorites Steve Oseth, of Leesburg, Va. (1:40.026), and Brad Stout, of St. Louis, Mo. (1:40.200). Oseth and Stout battled it out at the Chicago Region June Sprints0x00ae in June and appear ready to challenge Davis and each other again.

Friday afternoon's Formula Mazda race is shaping up to be a dandy as the top three qualifiers are all within four-tenths of one another. Pole-sitter Doug Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., will lead the FM charge after he posted a 1:26.073 Thursday. James Goughary, of Pal Beach Gardens, Fla., reclaimed his spot on the front row (1:26.255) after briefly dropping to third after Wednesday's runs. Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif. had jumped from 13th to second after day two and will start Friday's championship run in third position (1:26.494) after slipping a spot due to Goughary's Thursday run.

Mike Andersen, of Green Pond, N.J., will lead the 22-car, Formula Continental race on to the Mid-Ohio course Sunday afternoon after capturing the pole with a 1:24.410 qualifying time posted Tuesday. Dave Weitzenhof, of Bath, Ohio, will place his Citation 95SF alongside Andersen's Van Diemen RF00 after posting a Tuesday qualifying time of 1:25.084. Philip Lombardi, of Nashua, N.H., grabbed the third position in his Van Diemen RF01 when his Wednesday mark of 1:25.194 held up.

John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., snatched up the top spot in GT1 with a fast lap time of 1:33.606, which he ran Wednesday. He will be joined up front by Richard Gilhart, of Cincinnatti, Ohio, who punched out a 1:34.785 on Wednesday as well. Scotty White, of Puyallup, Wash., will start in the third slot. All three drivers compete in 2001 Chevrolet Corvettes.

In GT2, Frederick Baker grabbed the top spot early and never let it go during the three-day qualifying period. His Porsche Boxter flew through over the 2.258-mile course in a class best 1:39.903 on Tuesday. That time ended up being the only sub-1:40 time for any of the 28 cars in the field. Jordan Sandridge, of Westfield Center, Ohio, will start alongside Baker in his Pontiac Sunfire, after running a 1:39.976 Tuesday. Sandridge's father, Mark, regrouped after falling back a spot Wednesday and regained the third spot in his own Sunfire after jetting out on Thursday and nailing down a time of 1:40.146.

Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, will be first in line when the Formula Ford championship race begins Saturday afternoon. His Piper DF5 smoked the course to the tune of a 1:28.816 Tuesday, the only time under 1:29 by anyone in FF. John LaRue, of Muncie, Ind., will roll through the start alongside Pritchard in his Citation thanks to his first-day run of 1:29.485. Thomas Schwietz, of Winchester, Va., ramped his way into the third position after posting a 1:29.709 during Wednesday's run.

Monte Cowles, of Dumfries, Va., and his Ford Mustang are on the pole for American Sedan after Cowles' Wednesday qualifying time of 1:37.736 went unmatched Thursday. John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., qualified second in his Chevrolet Camaro (1:38.043), and Andrew McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., wrapped up the third positon for Saturday's race by running a 1:38.266 in his Ford Mustang on Thursday.

E Production's grid is set with Jon Brakke, of Fargo, N.D., to lead the 44-car group on Sunday. His Mazda Miata ran a 1:35.070 Wednesday, which was almost half of a second faster than his front row counterpart, Grayson Upchurch, of Alpharetta, Ga., who posted his best time of 1:35.545 in his Nissan 240Z on Wednesday as well. Third position belongs to one of the race favorites, Dave Lemon, of Signal Hill, Calif., cruised through Thursday's last qualifying run with a 1:36.651. However, his best time in his Mazda RX7 came on Wednesday also, when he ran a 1:35.840, good enough to start third.

Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., improved his top standing by almost three-tenths of a second Thursday. His 1:25.398 topped his Wednesday mark of 1:25.676 and ensured him the pole position for the Grand Touring 1 Sunday race. Ebben's Chevrolet Corvette will be joined up front by another Corvette belonging to Bret Moyer, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who exploded up to the front row by running a 1:26.029 after hovering between the fifth and fifteenth spots after day two. Lew Larimer, of Hayward, Calif., dropped down a notch as a result of Moyer's move up and will start third in his Oldsmobile Cutlass with a qualifying time of 1:26.311.

David Finch, of Ann Arbor, Mich., claimed the Grand Touring 2 pole in his Porsche 944 Thursday when he torched the field and posted the only sub-1:29 mark (1:28.965) which gave him the top spot. Duane Davis bounced back and forth between second and third in his Toyota Celica before settling alongside Finch in the front row with a qualifying time of 1:29.545. William Reid, of Knoxville, Tenn., drove his Celica to the third slot by running a 1:29.830 Wednesday.

Steve Sargis made doubly sure that he would be in the top spot going into F Production's Saturday championship run by posting two qualifying times in the 1:37 range. He ran a 1:37.680 Thursday in his Triumph Spitfire, but it was his 1:37.470 Tuesday run that got him the pole ahead of Mike Pinney, of Phoenix, Arizona. Pinney's MG Midget topped out at 1:38.345, about four-tenths of a second in front of Harold Flescher, of Palm Beach, Fla., who ran a third quick time of 1:38.788 in his A H Sprite.

In D Sports Racing, Mark Jaremko, of Spokane, Wash., is the heavy favorite in his Stohr 03D BPS after toasting the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio course in 1:23.503 and qualifying a whopping 2.3 seconds ahead of second qualifier Matthew Direnzo, of Medford, N.J., who ran a 1:25.805 in his Stohr 03D. Jay Lovett, of Deerfield, Ill., qualified third with a 1:26.734 Tuesday run in his Stohr DSR02.

Douglas Marsh, of Eastlake, Ohio, battled his way through the three days of Formula 500 qualifying in his Rocketech R2, consistently improved and snuck into the pole by one-hundredth of a second over the Novakar J7B driven by Calvin Stewart, of Novi, Michigan. Marsh's 1:31.051 was a significant improvement over his 1:33.113, which he ran Tuesday and had left him in fourth after day one. Michael Brent, of Bethel, Conn., will start third in his Invader QC1 after posting a time of 1:31.584.

In the day's and event's last qualifying session, Collin Jackson, of Langley, British Columbia, Canada, secured the pole for Grand Touring 3's Sunday race when his Nissan 240SX's Tuesday qualifying time of 1:32.049 stood tall against Pete Peterson's best time of 1:32.416. Peterson, of Lumberton, N.C., positioned himself beside Jackson in the starting row after Wolfgang Maike, of Santa Barbara, Calif., couldn't lower his time from his 1:32.647 Tuesday mark.

The 2003 SCCA National Championship Valvoline Runoffs0x00ae get underway tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with C Sports Racing following brief, 10-minute warm-up sessions for the classes running. For a complete schedule of races, results and live scoring and timing, visit www.scca.com.


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