Zarcades Clinches Championship, Littrell Retakes Sports 2000 Points Lead, Las Vegas Maintains Perfect Record in City Competition Sonoma, CA October 28, 2001 - Attrition reduced the size of the field for Sunday's "Spirit of America" race. In the...
Zarcades Clinches Championship, Littrell Retakes Sports 2000 Points Lead, Las Vegas Maintains Perfect Record in City Competition
Sonoma, CA October 28, 2001 - Attrition reduced the size of the field for Sunday's "Spirit of America" race. In the morning practice,
Sports 2000 points leader David Ferguson (Salinas) lost the differential in his Team Salinas Swift, and would not be able to effect repairs in time for the race. In the same session,Boston's John Faulkner found out the hard way how treacherous the recently concrete-lined Sears Point esses can be, damaging both the right front and right rear of his Sports 1600 to the point that he could not make the grid. Joe Casanova's engine went sour in the Saturday race, so he loaded up his Team Hollywood S2 and went home. Qualifying was exciting, with Peter Zarcades of Las Vegas bettering his Saturday SS2 pole time by a tenth of a second and Denver's Jeff Littrell eclipsing Ferguson's Saturday Sports 2000 qualifying record by an amazing nine tenths (using Ferguson's tires).
Team Hollywood leader Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi's handling problems were resolved, and he set second-fast qualifying time, followed by Brad Pierce (Las Vegas), John Ostlund (Fresno), and John Lombardo Jr. (Hollywood). At the green flag, both Tirinnanzi and Ostlund got the jump on Zarcades, who slotted into third in front of teammate Pierce. These four motored away from the field, flying in extremely close formation. Behind them, Fresno's Brad Krause ran in fifth, all alone, while Marvin Jones (Denver), Margie Smith-Haas (San Diego), Lombardo and Salinas driver David Jansen mixed it up nose to tail. Lombardo got by Smith-Haas on lap two, then passed Jones on lap five, and took off after Krause. On lap eight, the steering on leader Tirinnanzi's Carbir broke, and he spun in Turn Nine with disastrous results. Ostlund, with no place to go, plowed into him, taking both cars out of the race instantly. Zarcades hit the wreckage, damaging his left front bodywork and causing him to stop briefly. Pierce miraculously missed the melee and found himself promoted to first, with Krause and Lombardo taking over second and third. Zarcades pitted for emergency surgery to the car during the lengthy full-course yellow that ensued, but was never able to get the car back up to speed.
He finished sixth in class, a lap down. However, he scored enough points to clinch the Super Sports 2000 Championship. When the race resumed, Pierce was able to hold Krause and Lombardo at bay. Behind them, Jones, Smith-Haas and Jansen resumed their nose to tail battle. Littrell got a good start in the Sports 2000 race, and teammate Doug Ota got the jump on Las Vegas driver John Fujii, allowing Littrell to get away. Fujii quickly repassed Ota and took off in pursuit of Littrell, setting fast lap in the process. Fujii had reeled Littrell in by the time the second full course yellow came out, and when the green flew they were running just inches apart. The pair encountered Jansen at Turn Four on the thirteenth lap, and tried to dive underneath him. Littrell tapped Jansen, who spun into the path of Fujii. The resulting unavoidable collision put Jansen outof the race and sent Fujii to the pits for removal of his front bodywork, which was tangled in his left front tire. Another full-course yellow ensued, but not before Smith-Haas managed to nip by Jones at the entrance to the Carousel after a Zanardi-like over-the-curb challenge at Turn Four. This pass was to prove critical for the post-race podium.
Lombardo also passed Krause for second, butit was determined that the move occurred after the full-course yellow had come out, resulting in a two-position penalty for Lombardo. This relegated him to fourth,and put Smith-Haas on the podium in third place. The race ended under yellow with Littrell, now followed by teammate Ota, taking the S2 win and sixth overall. Fujii, sans front bodywork, finished third in S2 a lap down, with his Championship hopes still alive for Las Vegas. Team Fresno driver Fred Michael overcame steering column problems to finish fourth in S2. Lone S16 runner Paul Schroeder finished on the lead lap, with the class Championship already his. Team Las Vegas edged out Team Denver for the City win, virtually locked up their second consecutive City Team Championship. Las Vegas goes into the season finale with a whopping 236 point lead over Denver. Both the Eastern and Western Division Championships will be finalized at the "From Sea to Shining Sea" season finale on November 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That race will be followed on November 4 by the first-ever ACRL Enduro, entitled "United We Stand," followed by the 2001 combined East-West awards banquet.
TheAmerican City Racing League Western Division, using a unique team racing concept, races Cosworth-powered Super Sports 2000, Aerocell-sponsored Sports 2000, and Toyota-powered Sports 1600 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and Union 76 110 octane Racing Fuel.