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OH/IN FFR Wraps Up Season - Sanders Wins Region Championship

Mt. Meridian, IN -- October 6-7 was the final round of the 2007 OH/IN Region FFR Challenge Series. The battle for the championship was played out at Putnam Park. This time of year in Indiana should have had the temperatures in the high-60s to low-70s, but a bit of summer resurfaced with the temps creeping into the 90’s. This made for a grueling two days of racing as the cars and the track did not find these temps favorable. However, Ed Boothman (Naples, FL), Gary McDaniel (Kansas City, MO), and Brian Sanders (Cincinnati, OH) made the most of the cards they were dealt.

Brian came into the weekend with a slight 20 point lead in the championship over Ed. With only three competitors, this meant that Ed must win both races or Brian had to have a DNF. Before the weekend was over, both of these scenarios appeared possible. In Saturdays race, Ed was actually in the lead before retiring and both days saw Brian running on a tired engine and down on power. In the end Brian finished both races and Ed was forced to retire from both with overheating problems.

On Saturday, Gary took the pole position honors. Both Ed and Gary got the drop on Brian at the start and pulled out a slight lead. All Brian could do was sit back and watch the show they put on. Several laps into the race, Ed put the move on Gary and took over the lead. This continued a few laps and then the two went to changing positions several times. In the end, Gary took the lead as Ed’s car began overheating. This allowed Brian to catch up and pass Ed before he retired from the race. Gary went on to win by about four seconds.

After the race and into the next morning, the three drivers tried to figure out Ed’s overheating problem. We tried several things but had no way to test them until Ed ran a race distance. Ed wasn’t the only one concerned with his cars performance. During the race, Brian’s 3-4 shift point moved down the front straight from the starters stand to the bottom of the hill some 100 yards away. Gary showed up Sunday morning and went to work on making some alignment corrections to help his ill-handling car.

Once again, for Sunday’s race, Gary took the pole. But as Gary and Brian left the grid for the pace lap, Ed was nowhere to be seen? After the race, it was learned that Ed was late to the grid and took the green from pit lane. Once again, Gary pulled away from Brian at the start but as we got into the tighter sections, Brian was able to get back on his bumper. Knowing how poorly his car was running, Brian knew Gary had not worked out his handling gremlins. Two laps into the race, the double yellows flew and the pace car came out to collect the field. This allowed Ed to “catch up” and take the re-start right behind Brian. At the re-start Brian tried to hold Ed off but after another lap, yielded, to let Ed take a shot at Gary. Ed caught up to Gary quickly and over the next half of the race tried everything to steal the lead. Due to their “racing,” Brian was never far behind, when exiting turn 10; Ed gave Brian a point-by and went on to retire. At this point, Gary had used up his tires and had his hands full. Gary tried everything he could but Brian was able to get off turn 7 perfectly and stick his nose into turn 8 and take the lead. The next few laps were entertaining for the crowd as Brian and Gary ran side by side corner after corner. As the white flag flew, Brian and Gary entered turn 1 side by side again. They continued this way through 2 and 3 and entering turn 4 Brian was unable to hold the inside and pushed hard. By trying to avoid the contact and the imminent “touch,” Brian spun the car and Gary went on to his second win of the weekend.

After the race, all three congratulated one another and commented on how exciting close clean racing can be. However, Brian and Gary did have to report to Race Control to fill out a contact report. When they talked to the race director, Bryan Cohn, he commented on how we ran so close with no contact until that last lap and how everyone sighed when only Gary appeared from behind the trees at turn 4. For those unfamiliar with Putnam Park, turn 4 is slightly obscured by a group of trees in the infield. Back at the cars, many spectators came by to comment and congratulate the FFR drivers on the show. Once again showing how exciting equally prepared cars and drivers can be.

As we packed up, all the drivers lamented the fact that it was now time for the long winter off-season. Brian has a complete overhaul in the plans, Ed will figure out his overheating problems and plans to run a few events down south, and Gary, well he’s waiting for the 2008 rules to come out before making any plans.

I would like to personally thank Ed and Gary for all the good times we have had at the track over the last two years. Both of them travel a considerable distance to make OH/IN the region it is. Of course they are not the only ones, Peter LaRose has been around for a few years and Mike Dzuirgalski just started working on his license this year. Gary Green will be joining us next year in his newly finished car as will Wes Holiday, who just bought Victor Seabors racer. Coming back next year to continue on working toward his license will be Mike Bowers. Sometime next year we expect to see Eileen Baker out with her car when it’s completed and Todd Ayers as well. Both will need to get licensed. For those not keeping count, that’s ten cars in the next two years! And last but not least, thank you to John George, Jim Schenck, Dave Riha, and Lyle Riggen, all fellow racers who traveled to OH/IN for a few races.

Thank you NASA and all OH/IN racers for a GREAT season. 2008 can’t come soon enough!

-- Brian Sanders

OH/IN-Midwest FFR Challenge Series Director 

Page last updated: 07/02/2008

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