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FFR Drivers Face Changing Weather at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH -- Six Challenge Series racers had their work cut out for them this past weekend at Mid-Ohio. Every single driver ran the best times they ever have Saturday at Mid-Ohio. But Sunday would put a stop to that as the skies opened up and presented the racers with a wet track. Running this weekend were OH/IN regulars Ed Boothman (Naples, FL), Gary McDaniel (Kansa City, MO), Peter LaRose (Northville, MI),  Brian Sanders (Cincinnati, OH) and joining them were Dave Rhia (Wareham, MA) and John George (Nashua, NH).

Saturday morning started out rough for Sanders as he broke his transmission for the third time at Mid-Ohio this season. Once again the other competitors jumped in and got him back on track for qualifying. Rhia turned the fastest lap of the weekend during qualifying and set the new FFR track record at 1.38.747. He was followed closely by George. Rounding out the field were McDaniel, Boothman, Sanders and LaRose.

Dave didn’t really want to be on pole or so it would seem. As the cars started forming up for the start, he moved his car to the 2nd starting position giving John the pole spot and inside for the first turn. Dave realized his mistake but it was too late to correct. This occurred because we do rolling starts on the back straight making turn 3 the first turn. Dave was thinking about turn 1 and had we started on the pit straight, he would have been right. Anyway, this mistake gave John the advantage at the beginning of the race which he took advantage of. John led for the first two laps then relinquished it to Dave. On lap 2, Brian was able to sneak by Ed entering the keyhole. But Ed did not give up and dogged Brian for the next 9 laps until his car stopped making power again. On lap 8, the FFR drivers all passed John as he was sitting on the side at pit out. It was later learned that he had retired due to “electrical problems.” But before he retired, John ran a 1.38.896 which became the official NASA track record for the FFR’s. In the end, the finishing order was Dave, Gary, Brian, Ed, Peter and John.

On Sunday everyone arrived or woke up to rain at the track. This was the first time the OH/IN drivers had to break out the rain tires this season. Gary, Peter and Brian were the only ones to go out for the warm up session. It was raining very hard with lots of standing water. The going was very slow but the experience gained was necessary. The rain had stopped for qualifying but the track was still wet. This time John joined the other three for the session. Ed and Dave sat out because they had no rain tires. For the race, it would be John on the pole followed by Gary, Peter, Brian, Dave and Ed.

The track continued to dry and two race groups ran their races with some of the fastest times of the weekend. Then it was time for the FFR’s to grid. Most had switched back to dry tires. As the one minute whistle blew, the sky opened up pouring rain and hailing on the drivers. Ed and Dave left the grid and called it a day. The other four went out for the pace lap hoping the rain was short lived. As Brian rounded turn 3, he sees Gary coming back on track. And in the very next turn watches Gary spin again and slide down the hill. Luckily he made no contact with anything. As Brian and Gary came around the Carousel, both proceeded onto pit lane and called it a day. That left John and Peter on the track, both surprisingly had rains on. John won followed by Peter.

Up next for everyone is Nationals. It appears this will be another exciting meeting of all the FFR drivers from across the country. At the time of this writing, we are up to about twenty entries.

Once again, this year, it will come down to the two races at Putnam Park in October to decide the OH/IN Region Champion. Brian and Ed will have to go head to head to decide the Champion.

C’ya at the track!

--Brian Sanders

OH/IN-Midwest Series Director

Page last updated: 07/02/2008

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