AI: Southeast Road Atlanta summary

National Auto Sports Association Southeast Region kicked off their 2006 schedule with the traditional opening at Road Atlanta on March 18-19. With everyone looking forward to a new racing season and the opportunity to drive one of the greatest...

National Auto Sports Association Southeast Region kicked off their 2006 schedule with the traditional opening at Road Atlanta on March 18-19. With everyone looking forward to a new racing season and the opportunity to drive one of the greatest road courses in North America, all race classes and HPDE groups were filled to capacity.

From the American Iron, American Iron Extreme and CMC perspective, the March 18 opener was a special race designated the " Road Atlanta Shootout". Several companies stepped up to provide funding for "impressive" trophies to be handed out to the top three finishers in each of these classes. In addition, several parts and related suppliers donated product and gift certificates for awards at the post-race party. In particular, I want to thank Maximum Motorsports, Wildwood Brakes, Ultrashield, Sunoco Race Fuels, G-Force Racing Gear, Shields, Balanced Performance Motorsports, Steeda Autosports, Griggs Racing and DJ Safety Products for their generous support. Wes Duenkel Motorsport Photography was on hand to provide competitors with "action photos" of their participation.

Saturday was a beautiful racing day with generally clear skies, a nice breeze and temperatures in the 70's. Practice sessions for the groups were generally uneventful with 21 cars taking the green flag. Paul Brown, of Speedvison GT fame and soon to be West Coast AIX competitor, set fast time in Mark Dandurand's #5 Mustang Cobra. Scott Whitson and Beau Dunnivant were not far off Brown's pace. G. MacNeil led the CMC contingent with Andy Kirby recording fast time for the AIX cars.

In qualifying, Paul Brown had difficulty finding clear track and couldn't back up his impressive practice times. Scott Whitson set the pole speed with a lap at 1:40:563 with Beau Dunnivant very close to Whitson's pace. Terry Killian set fast time for the AIX cars in his beautifully prepared Mustang with a lap of 1:37:866. G. MacNeil continued to pace the CMC group with a qualification time of 1:50:599. Robert Oswalt's classic AIV Mustang set fast time for his class with a 1:47:572.

The AI/AIX/CMC cars participated in the "Thunder" race group on Saturday. A total of 71 cars lined up on the grid for this race! This made for a very interesting start and race given the large number of cars on the track and the 37 second difference in qualification times between the fastest and slowest race groups! In the American Iron group, Scott Whitson jumped to an early lead with Dunnivant and Brown chasing him. Beau Dunnivant had a major calamity on lap one in turn 10A as his shifter came off in his hand. He calmly pulled into the pits and proceeded to "fish "out the bolts on the floor with his feet and then reinstalled them in the gear shift mechanism. This was all done with his Hans device and belts intact. Beau rejoined the field a lap later and recovered to finish ninth keeping his record of finishing every race started intact. Paul Brown continued to work his way to the front and was slowly catching Whitson. Brown encountered the AIX car of Andy Kirby on his march to the front and these two cars battled for five or six laps before Brown executed "desperation" pass in the esses and couldn't quite make turn 5. He slid off the track and soon after sensed a rear tire going down. He retired to the pits. Whitson continued to stretch his lead with Rob Mau, a former Factory Five Cobra driver, Ken Goldwasser, Mark Reed, Carl Wooten, Ed McGuire and J. Mouvery battling for the second and third position. At the checkered flag it was Whitson, Mau and Goldwasser in positions one through three. Ken Goldwasser is to be congratulated on a great race. He has definitely "stepped up his game" since last year and will be a real threat to win. Robert Oswalt finished first in the AIV class with his classic 1965 Mustang. Andy Kirby survived his battle with Paul Brown to win AIX. Don Trask led all CMC competitors in his Chevrolet Camaro.

-NASA Pro Racing

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Andy Kirby , Mark Reed , Paul Brown , Ken Goldwasser