Texas AI/CMC season opener report

NASA American Iron and CMC - TEXAS: First AI/CMC Race of 2006 The 2006 national AI/CMC racing season kicked off in Texas on February 4th/ 5th at a brand new facility called Motorsport Ranch Houston (www.msrhouston.com) , just south of the city.

NASA American Iron and CMC - TEXAS: First AI/CMC Race of 2006

The 2006 national AI/CMC racing season kicked off in Texas on February 4th/ 5th at a brand new facility called Motorsport Ranch Houston (www.msrhouston.com) , just south of the city. This 2.4 mile road course would prove to be an excellent venue for some clean & fast "Texas Style" racing in the cool winter temps ranging in the 50's and 60's.

Over 20 cars lined up for practice and qualifying on Saturday morning to shake out the winter cobwebs and lay down some Toyo race rubber onto the newly paved track for Round 1 of 7 this year. In AI, John George's Armstrong ACCP Griggs Mustang, Chris Marvel's 3 Dog Racing Mustang and rookie Matt White's new VT Engines mod-motored Mustang were the fastest ones out on track within a second of each other. In CMC, two-time champion Eric Varner, Todd Covini and rookie Michael Mosty's Bell Racing Mustang were the quickest around the 17 turns. In AIX, Skip Smith's Tex Star Ford 05 Mustang and Wylie Alexander's Royal Purple 70's Camaro were within a tenth of a second apart, with the oldest and newest cars in the field!!! Pole positions went to John George with a 1:45:908(AI) and Eric Varner with a 1:51:071(CMC).

Race 1 brought the roaring V8s to the grid and off to a rolling start. The 15 Mustangs and 5 Camaros all went into and out of turn one three wide!!! In AI, rookie Matt White's HPP Racing Mustang would start from the back this weekend (along with others with the same status) to complete his competition licensing...but that placement wouldn't last for long!!! Mr. White set the track record with a 1:46:061 with his impressive VT engine while making his way thru the field to catch the leaders. In CMC, Eric Varner set the new track record, which would stand, with a 1:50:780. As the checkered flag dropped, it was John George taking the win with Chris Marvel and Matt White by his side on the AI podium. In CMC, Todd Covini's Mobil 1 Mustang held off Eric Varner's 2nd place Mustang by half a car length to take the win. Jeff Burch's Royal Purple Camaro took 3rd on the CMC podium. In AIX, Skip Smith's PST/Motul Mustang took the win with Wylie Alexander's Royal Purple monster taking 2nd place.

Race 2 on Saturday evening was...nearly evening. Due to many circumstances, the sun was setting as the AI/CMC grid was gridding for the final race of the day. In typical Texas style, the race was inverted from the finishing order of Race 1. As the green flag dropped some new folks got a chance to try their hand at leading the pack! Mike Bell's CMC Mustang got right out in front with his new BNS Mustang battling with Corey Rueth's Simpson Race Products Mustang for the lead with Rob Liebbe's Kim Racing Mustang close behind. In AI, Chris Lyons, Jeff Brooks, Marshall Mosty's Firestone Racing Mustang and David Donovan's Maximum Motorsports Mustang would fight to stay in front. The racing was surreal at twilight with brake lights, headlights, exhaust flames and the dark orange sky, bright as can be. Wylie Alexander would not start this AIX race due to some ignition troubles, handing Skip Smith the bye-win in AIX. Two-time AI champion, John George showed his stuff in the F5 Griggs prepared Armstrong ACCP car by working thru the field and taking the overall win, with Richard Pedersen of Team Pedersen/Marvel taking 2nd and rookie Matt White, again taking 3rd. In CMC it was Corey Rueth, Mike Bell's (first CMC podium!) and Rob Liebbe.

In addition to Wylie Alexander's ignition troubles, mechanical woes plaqued Rob Liebbe (fuel pump), Marshall Mosty (fuel pump), Amber Love (exhaust), John George (driveshaft rubs), Nick Runyon (brakes), David Donovan (transmission 4th gear), Jeff Brooks (starter) and Corey Rueth (brakes, master cylinder). All but one would make it back on Sunday for another day of close racing.

Sunday's Race 3 was a standing start based upon the morning's qualifying session. Again, John George, Eric Varner and Skip Smith would take pole positions in AI, CMC and AIX respectively. The crowds gathered as the AI/CMC cars grid up on the front straight in staggered F1 starting style. When the green flag dropped all 20 American muscle cars launched off the line in drag racing style hurdling toward turn 1. For CMC Rookies Michael Mosty, Morgan Dawdy and Jerry MacNeil, this would be their first taste of an AI/CMC standing start. On lap 4, Chris Lyons damaged a left rear tire & wheel by running over debris ending his race early. In the end, John George took the AI win as well as took away the day-old track record from Matt White with a 1:45:869. Chris Marvel and Matt White again took 2nd & 3rd in AI. In CMC, Eric Varner got his first win of the season with Todd Covini and Corey Rueth close behind in 2nd and 3rd.

Race 4, the final race of the weekend, was again a rolling inverted start based upon the finishing order of Race 3. Chris Lyons & Jeff Brooks would start up front of the AI group and Nick Runyon's Moonlite Printing & Graphics Camaro and Glenn Landrum's 4th Gen Camaro would lead the CMC cars out on track. This race proved to be some of the tightest AI/CMC racing we've seen in Texas to date with over 5 AI cars running nose to tail and a freight train of over 8 CMC cars clawing for the lead. When the checkered flag dropped, John George's Motul/Mcleod Mustang swept the AI weekend with his 4th win and the rookie Matt White learned a few new tricks to take 2nd place and nose out Team Pedersen/Marvel who got 3rd. In CMC, Eric Varner took home his 2nd win of the weekend with Corey Rueth and Nick Runyon taking 2nd & 3rd.

Round 2 of the Texas AI/CMC racing season will be held at Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, TX (www.motorsportranch.com) on March 4th & 5th.


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Series Road racing
Drivers John George , Mike Bell