Stilwell edges Sweeney at Lime Rock in closest Pro Spec Racer ever. LAKEVILLE, Conn. (October 12, 2002)-- Warren Stilwell, of Harville, Ohio, owns nearly every SCCA Pro Racing Pro Spec Racer series, and added another today, as he edged Herb ...
Stilwell edges Sweeney at Lime Rock in closest Pro Spec Racer ever.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (October 12, 2002)-- Warren Stilwell, of Harville, Ohio, owns nearly every SCCA Pro Racing Pro Spec Racer series, and added another today, as he edged Herb Sweeney IV, of Spring City, Pa., at Lime Rock Park in the closest-ever finish in series history.
Rain was the story of the Burnham Boilers 200 weekend, with each session running in the wet and the main Busch North Series race being cancelled. Stilwell was quickest in each qualifying session to start his No. 28 Stilwell Racing entry from the pole, but it was second-quick Sweeney who took the point at the drop of the green flag in only his second race.
After leading the first 11 of 30 laps, Sweeney fell victim to Stilwell, who was finding the grip in a damp but drying circuit. After pulling out a three second advantage, Stilwell made a slight mistake with four laps to go, allowing Sweeney, Shawn Morrison and Keith Scharf to pull up behind him. The four were nose to tail at the start of the final lap, with traffic coming into play. Stilwell was balked by a lapped car, and Sweeney took a run coming into"The Downhill" final corner. The two crossed the finish line side-by-side, with Stilwell coming out 0.011-second ahead. The previous closest finish in series history was 0.119-second by Scharf over Stilwell at Reno in 1996.
"I saw that I was going to get balked by the lapped traffic, so I slowed up a little to get a good run on him in the last turn," said Stilwell, who extended his season points lead to 25."That allowed Herb [Sweeney IV] to get the run he needed. It was just a drag race down the hill, through the last corner and on the front straight. I could see at the stripe that I was just about a nose ahead."
Sweeney, driving the No. 34 HT Sweeney & Son, Inc. entry, was thrilled to lead in his second race and finish on the podium.
"I thought about shifting to fifth when we were side-by-side, but didn't want to lose any ground while doing it, maybe I should have--I don't know," said Sweeney." I had a lot of people from Penn State come here this weekend to watch, so I was very happy to run up front."
Morrison and Scharf were within striking distance of the leaders as well, coming down the hill, but the two touched and spun. Both continued and finished third and fourth, respectively, but Morrison (No. 26 Motion Dynamics) couldn't help but be disappointed.
"I saw first and second just ahead and had a great run," said Morrison, of Conway, N.H."I went to the inside of Keith [Scharf], he turned in and we touched. Both of us spun completely around and I was able to grab a gear first to get going. It was pretty wild!"
Scharf, of Kirkwood, Mo., finished fourth, followed by Neil Tilbor, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in fifth. Cliff White, of Huntsville, Ala., was sixth, earning the KML Award for passing the most cars in the event.
Stilwell now leads Scharf 176 to 151 with three races remaining.
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