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Charlie Gibson 300 at VIR


Racing gets back under way this weekend as the FFR contingent looks to get back to it's dominance of the Charlie Gibson 300 at VIR.

Since they began three years ago, FFR cars have led in every race and collected two overall wins. Last year Factory Five's own Dave Riha picked up his first career win while Jim Schenck finished a close second. The 2005 field of competitors looks especially strong with numerous fast sports racers leading the way and some fast BMWs and Acuras as well. Without a doubt, the average qualifying time for this field will be exceptionally fast.

If a Factory Five car isn't favored to win, there is no question that the crowd will notice the FFR cars since at least ten cars are expected to compete in the 54 car field. At the top of the list is the team of Spencer Pumpelly and Brian Cates in a Marcus Motorsports car. These drivers finished one-two at the VIR Nationals and Pumpelly recently had a strong run at the 24 Hours of Daytona before being hit. Brian Cunningham, Rob Mau, and some talented drivers from SCCS, American Iron and Spec Miata are also making the switch for the weekend to drive a car with real power.

FFR employees Riha and Schenck are also expected to be joined by owner Dave Smith driving his personal Type 65 Coupe. Harry and Dan Elam are teamed up to see if they end their string of bad luck at VIR (where they haven't finished a race under full power since the 2002 enduro). Phil Farruggia and Ed Boothman are also scheduled to compete.

The HPDEs are also full with several new students and a full compliment of first time drivers hitting the track. Except for Nationals, it will be the single largest gathering of spec racer drivers in history. Newcomers Ed DePew, Bill Fitzhugh, Jeff Major, and David Wintner are just a few of the new people taking the track. The husband and wife duo of Paul and Michele Kaiser are also going to be there with Michele expected to be the series first woman to compete for points.

This weekend does not count for points for the racers, but that doesn't mean they won't be trying hard to start the season off right. Saturday features a sprint race at 3:15 and Sunday's 300 mile race begins at 2:00.

It's free to watch the races. Just say you're with the Factory Five team and come out and play!

Contributing Editor: Dan Elam


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