SCCA Trans-AM Report, Elkhart Lake,Wisc. July 7-9, 1995
Course: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisc. - 4.0 Mile, 11-turn road course
Even though the 1995 Trans-Am race at Road America saw only two lead changes during the race, there were plenty of position changes before, during and after race. Boris Said passed pole-sitter Jamie Galles on the first lap and Tom Kendall slid past Said on lap 23 when Boris went too wide in turn 7. That was it for the lead changes, but position changes started early as Paul Gentalozzi dropped to 11th on the grid when the engine in his Highway Master Camaro expired during qualifying due to overheating.
Jamie Galles lead twenty-nine cars to the green flag under threatening skies and although the entire field made it cleanly through turn one, but in a preview of things to come Tom Kendall got two then four wheels into the grass, without losing position, and Don Sak and Bruce Nesbitt followed that up by coming together on the back straight, depositing Saks Cutlass into the guardrail. Out came the yellow and the pace car.
When the green flag fell again Said lead teammate Dorsey Schroeder, Galles, Brian Till, Price Cobb, Fellows, and Kendall back into action. Schroeder quickly started to fade and lost four positions in one lap. Tom Kendall, who had just moved up to third, spun trying to pass Price Cobb, dropping the All Sport Mustang back to 19th. At this point Brian Till was having his best outing to date running a strong third.
Then the madness began in earnest. As Said lead the lead pack into turn one, he lapped past Bill Eagle's Camaro cleanly, Cobb didn't. Cobb went way wide and got four wheels in the gravel allowing Till to slip his RAL Group Camaro into second. This didn't last long as Cobb punted Till off track one turn later trying to regain his position. More on this later.
Till rejoined the fray in sixth and soon muscled past boss Greg Pickett's Rain-X Camaro. Two laps later, with the running order of Said, Cobb, Galles, Fellows, Till, Pickett, and Schroeder heading into turn eight Pickett got sideways in a late-braking manuver that failed. He skidded past Till and Fellows and wound up dirt tracking towards the apex. Having no where to go Fellows hit Pickett finsihing his spin. Fellows escaped past but Till then hit the now parked Rain-X Camaro. A small fire developed in the engine compartment of Tills car but caused little damage. Another full course yellow.
The result of all of this was that Till could not continue and Pickett was able to continue, but the contact had punctured a rear tire and by the time Greg made it back to the pits considerable body damage had been done. Pickett returned after a tire change, but the rear-end broke later in the race.
Boris Said's Tom Gloy Mustang having soft compound tires on both front wheels, was being helped by this caution and when they went to green he and Cobb pulled out a small lead. Parts of Fellows' AER Camaro blew off on the restart and Schroeder, who had been laying back saving his tires, quickly got past Fellows and planted himself behind Galles. Back to turn eight and, in a very uncommon move, Dorsey planted the front end of the Raybestos Mustang into the rear of Jamie's ICI/Glidden Camaro. Schroeder slipped past the spinning Galles.
SCCA officials took a dim view of this action and after a VERY heated discussion with car owner Tom Gloy, black-flagged Schroeder. Dorsey ignored the first two flags, but after SCCA threatened to stop scoring the car Gloy called Dorsey in for his stop and go penalty. Meanwhile Cobb spun his Highway master Camaro out of contention in, where else but, turn eight.
Said had a large six second lead at this point, followed by Fellows and Tom Kendall. Yes, Kendall. He was busy charging through the pack, albiet aided by the yellow caused by the Pickett crash and was now setting sights on Fellows. Also the fact that so many front runners crashed or spun, with and without help, didn't hurt Kendalls charge either.
The order was now Said, big lead, Fellows with Kendall right behing, and the train of Brian Simo, Rob Rizzo, and Jon Gooding. All of these guys were having a good clean run, up to this point. Gooding later spun to finish eighth.
Kendall took care of the last Camaro in the top five, Fellows, by pushing the AER car into a high speed trip to the turn one gravel trap. The resulting 25th place finish just about ends Ron's chances of winning the championship. It was a tough break for the talented Canadian.
Kendall caught and passed Said on lap 23 and went on to take the checker and apparent victory. But wait, just because the racing is over doens't mean that there was no more position changes. Both Kendall and Cobb were penalized 13 seconds, presumed stop and go time. This dropped Kendall to third and Cobb to 10th.
Brian Simo had a great run in his Valvoline/Gloy Mustang and was awarded second place. Robert Rizzo, fully recoverd in car and body from his Detroit shunt, finished a strong fourth and Schroeder moved back to fifth. Another call should go to Tony Ave. The Wisconsin native finished a close sixth in his Carlin Combustion/Dale Phelon Camaro.
The race was very entertaining, but TV coverage was fair. I though Kendall got off easy, mostly because he basically eliminated Fellows from the championship and only lost four points himself. Dorsey doesn't usually take anyone out and I'm sure the hit on Galles was unintentional, but his penalty was fair.
Next race is at the Cleveland airport, July 22nd.