RACE: 12 Hours at the Point small bore predictions

4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point small bore predictions. While the overall winner of the 4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is likely to come from Improved Touring E, Improved Touring S or SpecMiata, there will be other...

4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point small bore predictions.

While the overall winner of the 4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is likely to come from Improved Touring E, Improved Touring S or SpecMiata, there will be other class battles taking place during the May 31 -- June 1 12-hour race. The long front straight at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia is brutal on the smaller classes and attrition will play an important part in determining which teams will take the victory.

A single team, the Ford Mustang of York Pennsylvania's John Gotwald will be contesting the American Sedan class. Despite being the only car in class, Gotwald's victory is not guaranteed. Big American Iron is not known for its endurance racing reliability and it remains to be seen whether the Mustang will not only last long enough to see the checker, but whether it can complete at least fifty percent of the total mileage of the overall winner. Oddly enough, the team could take the overall victory -- if the car lasts. The problem is that the pace that will be needed to stay in contact with the Improved Touring E and S cars probably is too hard for the big V-8 to maintain for the entire 12 Hours.

In Improved Touring A, none of the eight cars stands head and shoulders beyond its competitors. The big question in this class is whether a Mazda or Honda will take the victory. Four teams are competing in rotary-powered first generation Mazda RX7s -- the reliability of the rotary in endurance racing is legendary. The advantage of speed, however, must go to two Honda CRX teams -- the Kumho Tires/Racewerx Designs LRD Motorsports team and the Roth team. The nod must go to one of the two Honda teams. Honda's have taken ITA for two consecutive years and likely will do so in 2002.

Only two teams are contesting the Improved Touring B class -- reigning MARRS GT Pinto champion Bruce Shelton's The Wheel Racing BMW 2002 and Chicago Illinois' Matti Vilkkila, also in a BMW 2002. Shelton is the hometown favorite, knows the track and is very quick. The Wheel Racing BMW of Shelton will be the team to beat.

Four teams will be vying for the Improved Touring C victory. The flagger's will be rooting for the Burkhard Honda Civic, but it's doubtful that they will be able to beat the Bad Al Bell Honda Civic entry if Bad Al decides to compete in ITC, rather than his SpecMiata entry. If Bell runs SpecMiata, the nod goes to the Burkhards. The Burkhard's, however, are lacking in endurance racing experience and one of the other two teams, the Flinchbaugh Ford Escort or the Larson Datsun 210, could pull the upset.

The Spec RX7 class, a favorite in previous events, is down to only two entries this year and both teams are entered by DC Region members. The Arthur Mills entry of Romney, West Virginia and the Richard Spicer, reigning SCCA Spec Racer Ford National Champion, entry will be facing off on Saturday. Given the reliability of the RX7, it is unlikely that attrition will play a part in the event. Spicer's entry will be the likely victor in this class. Showroom Stock B will be a walkover for R. T. Buisson of Snellville Georgia. His BMW Z3 is the only entry.

Four entrants are contesting showroom Stock C. John Williamson, 2001 12 Hours at the Point SSC winner, is favored to win the class again this year in his Nissan 200 SX. The two-car Kumho Tire/Cross Pens ^Ù Empire Motorsports Team, however, will contest the victory. Empire Motorsports is bringing two Neons and past SCCA T2 National Champion Rob Hines to the race. Even though the Neons are quick, the nod goes to Williamson. Rounding out the field is regular MARRS championship competitor Joe Leonard. Leonard knows the track and has endurance racing experience, but has had terrible luck in the Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point. For that reason, and that reason only, a victory by Leonard's team is viewed as a long shot.

The Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is open to spectators. Practice and qualifying take place on Friday. The race starts promptly at Noon. For more information, go to www.12hoursatthepoint.org.

-dc region/jj-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Richard Spicer , Joe Leonard
Teams Williams