FFR Drivers Face
Changing Weather at Mid-Ohio
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).
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.
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!
OH/IN-Midwest Series Director