ACRL: Team Salinas Phoenix race report

Phoenix, AZ April 21, 2001 - There's a saying, "That's racing," that pretty much sums up Team Salinas' second outing of the season in American City Racing League competition. Dave Jansen had his Super Sports 2000 Lola handling well, and was ...

Phoenix, AZ April 21, 2001 - There's a saying, "That's racing," that pretty much sums up Team Salinas' second outing of the season in American City Racing League competition.

Dave Jansen had his Super Sports 2000 Lola handling well, and was looking for a good result when disaster struck on the third lap of the first qualifying session. A connecting rod in the engine failed, and Jansen was through for the weekend. "We won't know for sure until (engine builder) Steve Jennings tears it down, but it looks like a rod went," said a disappointed Jansen.

Then teammate and Sports 2000 defending champion Dave Ferguson's Swift was found to have oil all over the engine compartment at the end of the session. While diagnosing the problem, the engine lost oil pressure. Fortunately, Ferguson had a spare, and it looked like they would get it changed in time for the second qualifying round. But while buttoning things up, the new engine developed problems and Ferguson had to rely on his time in the first session. That time was fast enough to put him second on the Sports 2000 grid. Further diagnosis revealed an overheated and leaking oil line, and the Salinas gang breathed a sigh of relief as a hardship lap Saturday afternoon indicated all systems were go for the Yeaman Auto Body/Fast Forward Components/Veracity Racing Data Swift.

Saturday's weather was very un-Phoenix-like, with cold temperatures, wind, and intermittent rain. Nearly all the teams mounted Hoosier rain tires ("Good mojo," according to Ellen Ferguson), but the ACRL drivers caught a break and ran the entire race on a dry, if cold, track. Sports 2000 polesitter Dan Dubrovich led at the green flag, and Jeff Littrell managed to get a jump on Ferguson for second. Dubrovich had difficulty getting around the SS2 car of Margie Smith-Haas, and the front three S2 cars stayed in close contact for the first six laps as a result. Then Dubrovich passed Smith-Haas and began to motor away, while Ferguson re-took second place on lap seven. Littrell dropped back, and Ferguson had a clean run in second for the remainder of the race, 17.4 seconds clear of third place S2 finisher John Fujii.

Ferguson's pair of Phoenix second-place finishes puts him in a good position to defend his Sports 2000 Championship, as Dubrovich will run the remainder of the season in the ACRL Eastern Division. Ferguson will miss the next round at Laguna Seca, however, due to family commitments. Since ACRL rules provide for discarding one race in calculating season points, Laguna will be

Ferguson's "throwaway" event. Jansen had his non-counting race this weekend, as his Lola sat forlornly in the paddock while he cheered on teammate Ferguson. It was a disappointment to Jansen's sponsors, NACS, Inc. of Salinas and Nortel, who had a large contingent of supporters on hand for the race. But they learned a new phrase: "That's racing."

The American City Racing League is a professional racing series for Super Sports 2000, Sports 2000 and Sports 1600 cars. The series is sanctioned by Grand American Road Racing and the National Auto Sports Association, and has both an Eastern and Western Division. The Western Division, of which Team Salinas is a part, will run an eight race championship series for 2001.

-Team Salinas

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Margie Smith-Haas , Steve J , Dave Jans