Goodyear continued its dominance in North American road racing as James Weaver and the Dyson Racing team wrapped up the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association season with a pair of victories at Watkins Glen. Weaver started the...
Goodyear continued its dominance in North American road racing as James Weaver and the Dyson Racing team wrapped up the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association season with a pair of victories at Watkins Glen.
Weaver started the weekend off right by winning Friday's 10-lap qualifying race. The Briton started from the pole, but lost the lead to championship rival Didier Theys in the first turn. With the laps winding down and the sun setting, Weaver caught a good draft off the Esses and up the backstraight, outbraking Theys into the Inner Loop. The Briton extended his lead to 3.4 seconds at the checkered flag.
"This was the best race I’ve ever had at night, because it was generally racing at night, you couldn’t see a thing," said Weaver. "It was really exciting, like driving down a country road on the way back from the pub, as a designated driver, of course!"
The qualifying races paid full points to the drivers, giving Weaver an almost insurmountable 19-point lead heading into Sunday's six-hour race.
The Dyson team of Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace kept the pressure on during the endurance race, leading 118 of the 166 laps. The championship was decided for Weaver after the 90-minute mark and when Theys' teammate Fredy Lienhard spun the car into the guardrail avoiding a slower car.
The race outcome was in doubt until the final minutes as the InterSports team of Oliver Gavin and Jon Field chased the Dyson car over the final three hours. Wallace held a 24-second lead over Field when he made his final scheduled pit stop, but had to pit again minutes later due to a fuel miscalculation. The two-stop bug struck the InterSport team as well, as Field failed to remove his seat insert during their final driver change, forcing Gavin to make a second stop. As a result, Wallace was left with a comfortable lead.
Jack Baldwin and George Robinson finished third in the Informix Software Riley & Scott Judd, followed by Jim Downing, A.J. Smith and Howard Katz in the Downing Atlanta Mazda Kudzu. Norman Simon, Mark Simo and Michael Lauer made it an all-Goodyear top five in the Hybrid Racing Riley and Scott Ford.
The Portland Speedway, long a favorite track for the stock car set, was converted to a dirt track and saw the largest crowd in its history as the Pennzoil World of Outlaws came to town. Sammy Swindell swept both the Friday preliminary and the Saturday features, while Mark Kinser came in second both nights.
The Outlaws aren't the only winged sprint cars running on Goodyear Eagles. Paul McMahan scored his third Gumout Racing Series win of the year at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania, turning around a recent string of bad luck that saw him tumble hard at Knoxville and later have a U-joint break and bounce into his feet.
Goodyear picked up a trio of stock car wins on vastly different circuits. Vermont native Roger Sawyer did the almost impossible as he won the NASCAR Goody's Dash 163-lapper at the high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway from a backstraight pit spot after taking a provisional starting spot. The event, scheduled for 150 laps, ran an additional 13 circuits when cars started running out of gas over the final stages of the event that saw the lead change three times in the final stages of the event. Sawyer's crew chief, his mother Pat, made the correct call to not pit for fuel with the leaders, opting for a later stop and ensuring he had plenty of fuel for the finish.
Finishing behind Sawyer in the all-Goodyear top five were Johnny Chapman, Keith Roggen, Edward Howell and Shane Hmiel.
John Blewett III scored his second NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series victory of the season at Stafford Motor Speedway. Blewett passed Christopher, who had led 134 laps during the race, on lap 148 of the scheduled 150-lap race for the lead. As Christopher sputtered, he was tagged by Todd Szegedy. Blewett held off Rick Fuller during the final green-white-checker run for a Goodyear 1-2. Fuller also cut his points deficit to 30 points behind Jerry Marquis with five races to go.
Peter Gibbons likes the natural terrain road courses and for the second year in a row, he won the CASCAR Castrol Super Series National event on the Mosport Grand Prix circuit, expanding his National points lead in the process. Gibbons held off CASCAR East champion Don Thomson Jr. and Kevin Dowler, who won the two previous road races. Mark Dilley and John Fitzpatrick rounded out the all-Goodyear top-five.
The International Hot Rod Association returned to Stanton, Mich., on Aug. 19 to make up the rained-out CARQUEST Northern Nationals, but the delay proved no hindrance to Goodyear. Top Fuel driver Paul Romine defeated 18-year-old J.R. Todd to lead the Goodyear assault as the manufacturer registered 11 wins. Romine laid down a blistering 4.776 pass at 307.06 mph, leaving Todd smoking his tires and limping to a 12.824 at 80.86.
In other pro categories, Quain Scott grabbed his second Pro Modified win, setting an IHRA speed record of 230.29 mph. Bill Furr cruised to the Nitro Harley division win, Jerry Yeoman claimed Pro Stock and Laurie Cannister captured her second Pro Outlaw win of the year.
Jeff Dobbins took the Top Sportsman division, while Don Rhode (Modified), Rusty Cook (Quick Rod), Anthony Bertozzi (Super Stock), Benton Wenzel Sr. (Stock) and Dwayne Lindeman (ET) also claimed wins on Goodyear Eagles.