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
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