American Iron Series West, Round 5-Infineon Raceway By John Lindsey - August 11, 2005 Round 5 of the American Iron West Series saw the racers returning to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on August 6-7, 2005. Drivers in attendance included Guy ...
American Iron Series West, Round 5-Infineon Raceway
By John Lindsey - August 11, 2005 Round 5 of the American Iron West Series saw the racers returning to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on August 6-7, 2005. Drivers in attendance included Guy Cunningham, Hal Massey, Dave Royce, Bryan MacMillan, Gary Umphenour, Ryan Walton, Jonathan Witherow and Andy Bowman.
Saturday practice saw a few of the teams contending with sound violations, which would come into play later in Saturday's competition. In Saturday qualifying, Ryan Walton set the mark with a 1:51 laptime that secured the pole position for the race. The race began with a standing start just behind the Camaro Mustang Challenge field. All of the competitors got away cleanly into the first turn and charged away in pursuit of the CMC cars. Ryan Walton surged to an early lead with Dave Royce challenging him at every turn. The battle continued until Royce was brought into the pits for violating the track's 103-db sound limit, which unfortunately ended Royce's ride. Walton continued to pull away from the field, with Gary Umphenour and Jonathan Witherow in hot pursuit. Hal Massey had a slight shunt into the tires after Turn 8, but he managed to make it back into the pits with only slight damage to repair for Sunday's race. The final finishing order saw Walton mark his second win of the year with Umpenhour in second improving his points lead for the season and Jonathan Witherow taking his first podium spot in third place.
Sunday's qualifying race saw an inverted start based on Saturday's result which put Royce up front due to his problems with the track sound limit the day before. Some ingenious engineering solved the issue and quieted the #91 car down to a whisper from it's previous basso profundo. The qualifying race saw Guy Cunningham in the Team Massey/Cunningham car slice through the field to battle with Royce and Walton for the pole position. Cunningham managed to gun both Royce and Walton to end up with the pole for the race later that afternoon. Since the session was a qualifying race, Cunningham's 1:49.991 was not only the fastest lap of the weekend but also a new AI lap record for Infineon. Sunday's race was another standing start behind the CMC field and the AI field quickly caught up to their CMC brethren after a clean start. Cunningham, Royce, Walton, and Umphenour were the lead pack of AI cars for the first few laps until Cunningham began to check out to a commanding lead. This left Royce and Walton to engage in one of the best slice-and-dice sessions ever seen in the AI-West series. The two pilots went at each other in every turn with Royce pulling off some brilliant late- braking passes and Walton drifting his machine in amazing display of car control that left the crowd gasping every time he slid through the infamous Turn 10. In the end, Royce managed to get the best of the duel to earn the second spot with Walton feet behind him in third. Cunningham extended his lead to seven seconds at the checker to take the win.
The next round of the series will visit Willow Springs Raceway on September 10-11, 2005. Gary Umphenour's Cordova Truck Dismantling Saleen SSC is out to a commanding lead in the series, so the next few weekends will decide whether he can put #73 on top for the year as it's never over until the final checker flies.