ACRL: Buttonwillow race report

Buttonwillow, California, October 13, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas served notice to his fellow competitors in Sunday morning qualifying at the American City Racing League event at Buttonwillow Raceway. It was the first ACRL outing at ...

Buttonwillow, California, October 13, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas served notice to his fellow competitors in Sunday morning qualifying at the American City Racing League event at Buttonwillow Raceway. It was the first ACRL outing at Buttonwillow, but Zarcades had taken advantage of a Friday test session to get his Swift dialed in, and qualified a full two seconds faster than his nearest competitor and Super Sports 2000 points leader, John Ostlund of Team Fresno. Ostlund, with no testing on Friday, played catch-up until the final qualifying session, when he improved his earlier time by a full three seconds. The Hollywood cars of Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi and John Lombardo, Jr. filled the second row for the start. When the green flag flew for the race, Zarcades surged into the lead and immediately away from Ostlund, who had his hands full with the Team Hollywood duo. The trio fought over second place for the entire contest, and Ostlund and Tirinnanzi joked about a couple of close calls after the race. There was apparently some body contact in the Lost Hill turn while lapping slower traffic, but no harm, no foul. Behind them, Team Denver's Marvin Jones had his mirrors full of rookie John Cavanaugh's Team San Diego car, but Cavanaugh couldn't quite pull alongside and challenge for the spot. "My car was getting looser, and I was afraid I couldn't hold him off," said Jones. Unfortunately for Cavanaugh, he spun coming onto the front straight two laps from the checker, ending the battle and leaving Jones in sole possession of fifth place. Jones' teammate George Nolte finished ninth overall and seventh in class after a fairly lonely race, while Michael Scully, aboard the Team San Diego car normally driven by Margie Smith-Haas, qualified fifth. The field did a second pace lap after the pace car inadvertently led them onto an alternate course layout, which turned out to be lucky for Scully. He pitted for a loose wheel on the second pace lap and re-entered the race two laps later, only to narrowly avoid a lurid spin by first-time ACRL competitor Bruce Allison. Scully finally parked the Falcon after seven circuits.

In the Sports 2000 category, points leader David Ferguson of Team Fresno grabbed the lead from polesitter John Fujii of Team Las Vegas. Although Fujii had a 1.5 second advantage in qualifying, Ferguson got the jump on the start. "I saw the green car alongside me, then in front of me, and I couldn't believe it," said Fujii after the race. He stalked Ferguson the entire race, even pulling alongside once, then caught a bit of luck in the waning laps. Ferguson made a tactical error in lapping a slower car, sending his car on an agricultural excursion and putting him more than 15 seconds behind when he finally got going again. "I knew that if I slowed for the traffic John would get a run on me, so I might have been a little too aggressive," said Ferguson of the move that cost him the win. Team Las Vegas driver Paul Schroeder, despite a too-low gear ratio and fatigue from competing in two groups, drove a steady race to a podium finish in third. Allison's fourth place added valuable points to Fresno's total.

The total combined points of Zarcades, Fujii and Schroeder were enough to score the team victory, with 241 team points to Fresno's 224. Fresno maintained the season team points lead, however.

The next event for the American City Racing League is a double-header November 9-10 at Daytona International Speedway in conjunction with Grand Am. Teams from both the Eastern and Western Divisions of ACRL will compete.

The ACRL series, using a unique team racing concept, races Cosworth-powered Super Sports 2000 and Ford-engined Sports 2000 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and Union 76 110 Octane Leaded Racing Fuel.

-acrl-

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Series SCCA
Drivers David Ferguson , George Nolte , Marvin Jones , Paul Schroeder , Margie Smith-Haas