Different Sunday Qualifying Format Provides Additional Thunderhill Excitement For ASC Competitors A smaller than normal field of only twelve American Stockcar Challenge competitors arrived last weekend at Thunderhill Raceway to pit ...
Different Sunday Qualifying Format Provides Additional Thunderhill Excitement For ASC Competitors
A smaller than normal field of only twelve American Stockcar Challenge competitors arrived last weekend at Thunderhill Raceway to pit themselves against each other and the track. The lower than normal turn-out was due in part to several competitors either running in or helping other teams compete in the NASCAR Southwest Tour race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, or due to the lack of a Friday test day to use for race and qualifying setups. Since all the competitors were given the same amount of track time as each other on both days, the lack of the test day should have had no adverse effect on the competition. Those drivers that did show up had a very enjoyable and thrill filled weekend. Series newcomer, Don Nutting, driving the #26 Monte Carlo, had a great time sorting out his new toy.
There were eleven cars entered for Saturday's events. Practice was early and fast, with several of the competitors reaching lap times near the track record for the series. Qualifying was later in the morning and the track remained fast even with the rising heat. ASC veteran Ken Stinnett, driving the #10 Evans Metal Fabrication Ford Taurus set the fast time of 1:53.154, followed by Scott Ivie in the # 47 Wholesale American Mortgage Dodge Intrepid at 1:53.332, and Steve R. Carvajal, in the # 90 Carvajal Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo with third quick time of 1:53.475, followed by Jeff Glowniak in the #34 Gearhead Motorsports Monte Carlo, and Dan Ryan in the #23 car. This was Ryan's first experience in the top five.
Saturday's race was a slam-dunk for Stinnett, who led from the pole and was the benefactor of the hard racing for the rest of the spots. Ivie was challenged by both Carvajal and Glowniak. The Side by side action gave Stinnett the opportunity to pull far enough ahead to breeze to the finish. Glowniak drove a great race, first taking third position away from Carvajal, and then working on Ivie for the second spot on the podium. There was an error in the start/finish flag stand when an inadvertent white flag was raised incorrectly signally one lap to go.
Ivie lifted at the second flag, anticipating the checked flag, and was very disappointed to see another white flag waving. The momentary loss of momentum allowed the #34 of Glowniak to take the second spot away in turn 1, and Ivie was unable to recover it on the actual last lap. Carvajal was disqualified at post race tech for being under weight, and the forth position was awarded to Al "ALBO" Balding, Jr., driving ! the #71 Chevrolet Monte Carlo as a result. Past series winner Dave Arnheiter was plagued by flat tires and Ed Ochylski suffered a terminal motor failure on lap 8.
Scott Ivie threw down the gauntlet, hard, during the Saturday qualifying session with the fastest lap ever run in an ASC car on that course. Mike Arnheiter was second fastest, at 1:24.959, and Steve Carvajal was third quick at 1:25.236. Ivie's time was fastest by almost a full second, (.910), and the next five competitors were all with in a few tenths of each other. Notably missing from the top group was always quick Ken Stinnett, who chased the setup all weekend. Carvajal was light on post qualifying tech and had to start at the back of the pack.
Al Balding, Jr.
On Sunday, the group was joined by Mike Arnheiter, driving the #99 Carvajal Motorsports, Inc. Monte Carlo, for M & R Racing. Series officials decided on a different format for Sunday's qualifying and race. Using the results from Saturday's race, inverted, a qualifying race was held, with the finishing order determining the race grid. This put Dave Arnheiter on the pole, followed by Dan Ryan, Don Nutting, Michael Speakman, Brian Colodny, Al Balding, Jr., Scott Ivie, Jeff Glowniak, Ken Stinnett, and as a result of the Saturday disqualification, Steve Carvajal, and with no position, Mike Arnheiter.
The qualifying race was a hard fought battle for al concerned. The invert put the faster cars at the back and no one gave up a position easily. Scott Ivie was the first of the back starters to push his way to the front, and by lap 4, he was in the lead. Glowniak and Carvajal had followed him through the field, followed by Stinnett and Mike Arnheiter. Ivie, however, was unable to hang onto the lead, and Glowniak and Carvajal were fighting for the pole position. Brian Colodny, driving the # 14 Cobro Motorsports Monte Carlo was one who didn't give up easily and managed to hang on to the lead group. Stinnett was finally able to pass Carvajal for second, when a distributor gear failed, forcing him to nurse the car home for 9th place. The qualifying fast five at the checked flag were Glowniak, Carvajal, Colodny, Speakman, and Ivie.
For the Sunday main event, Glowniak brought the field up to the green flag, only to have Carvajal get the jump and take the lead in turn one. Carvajal lead until turn six, when, after a hard landing over the by-pass, the J-bar mount broke, and allowed the rear-end to shift over, cutting down a tire, causing him to spin off the track in turn eight. This brought out the full course yellow for three laps. After the green flag racing resumed, Ivie had moved into the lead, followed by Glowniak, and Stinnett.
On the last lap of the race, Stinnett and Glowniak had one of the most remarkable incidents ever, precipitated by Stinnett's attempted pass in the kink. The #34 and #10 touch wheels, launching the #10 into the air, and it landed half on top of the #34. The two cars continued for several seconds in that position, with Stinnett staring into the sky, and Glowniak able to view the underside of the Ford. Glowniak was able to slow the couple down, which allowed the #10 car to literally drive down the front of the #34 and continue on to maintain the third position and end up on the podium, and be awarded frequent flyer miles, to boot. The #34 was unable to continue due to a small fire as a result of power steering fluid leaking out.
Sunday Top Five
Al Balding, Jr.
M & R Racing
The series next attacks the beautiful Portland International Raceway the last weekend in August. Be sure to join us for more exciting race action, either participating or as a spectator! Don't miss any of the high-speed action of the fastest growing stockcar road racing series in the west!