Stiver Wins Midsummer Madness Championship LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 5 - With a fifth-place finish in the Formula Continental/Formula 2000 class Saturday and a sixth-place finish Sunday to cap a holiday doubleheader at the ...
Stiver Wins Midsummer Madness Championship
LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 5 - With a fifth-place finish in the Formula Continental/Formula 2000 class Saturday and a sixth-place finish Sunday to cap a holiday doubleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ken Stiver won the class championship for the Midsummer Madness series.
The four races in the series were regional events sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and staged by the SCCA's Central Division/Cincinnati Region.
The Avon, Ind.-based driver and his crew chief, Rick Smith of Indianapolis, came into the weekend leading the point standings thanks to class victories in both of the series' first two races at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) in Indianapolis May 8-9.
Driving a Citation Formula 2000 car sporting Hoosier tires, Stiver qualified 17th overall and ninth in class on Saturday morning for the first of the two 15-lap races around Mid-Ohio's 2.4-mile road course.
"We blew first gear on the fourth lap of qualifying on Saturday, so we were just praying that we didn't do any serious damage to the gearbox," Stiver said. "Rick did a great job to make repairs in time for the race. We were fighting the set-up a little in the race because we didn't get much practice. We went out on used Hoosier tires and they finally gave out about half-way through the race, but we still hung on for fifth in class."
On Sunday morning he qualified 13th overall and ninth in class for that afternoon's race. "The car handled better on Sunday, and we qualified decent," he reported. "We picked up about five positions in the early going of the race, but as it went on our tires just went away and we fell back some."
He ended up ninth overall and sixth in class in Sunday's race.
"I was dirt-tracking through the high-speed corners, but Rick had put a good set-up on the car and we did fine considering that we were on old tires," the new champion summarized.
"Dave Garner of Hoosier Tires Midwest-Indy was instrumental to our success," Stiver added. "We also couldn't have done it without Steve Lathrop and Richard Pere of Indianapolis Competition Products, designers and builders of the Citation chassis, and Craig Richey of North American Race Parts.
"The main thing all of us will remember about this weekend is how hot it was," Stiver added. Temperatures in the nineties and high humidity, coupled with fireproof driving uniforms and other racing apparel, made the conditions uncomfortable for all the competitors.
Stiver's next race is a SCCA national event on the road course at IRP this coming Sunday, July 11.
Stiver is seeking sponsorship to advance to the SCCA KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series or Pep Boys Indy Racing League competition in 2000, including the Indy 500.
For the last two years the Bank One Rookie of the Year at the Indy 500 (Steve Knapp and Robby McGehee) have been drivers who have come from the same type of cars that Stiver won his championship in last weekend. In addition, the top two finishers of the last Pep Boys Indy Racing League event, the Radisson 200 June 27 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado (Greg Ray and Sam Schmidt) both drove in this class before moving up. The two fastest rookies in qualifying for this year's Indy 500 - John Hollansworth Jr. and Jeret Schroeder - are also F2000 grads; Schroeder won the F2000 national championship in 1995. Stiver worked on the pit crew of Schroeder's Purity Farms/Summit Packaging No. 96 at Indy in May.