USERA Double Race Results from Lime Rock DANVILLE, VA. (October 2, 2006) -- The final races of the 2006 United States Endurance Racing Association (USERA) Carbotech Endurance Championship took place this weekend at Lime Rock Park. In a...
USERA Double Race Results from Lime Rock
DANVILLE, VA. (October 2, 2006) -- The final races of the 2006 United States Endurance Racing Association (USERA) Carbotech Endurance Championship took place this weekend at Lime Rock Park. In a mixture of wet, very wet and then drying conditions, teams struggled to find the proper car setup during practice and qualifying. The combined Spec Miata, Spec Racer, Touring Car and X5 classes provided exciting on-track fun for the Busch East fans who don not often get to see wet weather racing since the Busch East Series does not race in wet conditions.
Part of the Lime Rock Park Mohegan Sun weekend with the headliner series being the Busch East Series, USERA brought a pair of short endurance races to the program. Practice began Friday morning in very wet conditions but that didn't deter the 44 endurance series entrants. Teams and drivers used their endurance racing experience, which includes plenty of racing in wet conditions, to prepare for the challenge brought on by the changing weather. Predictions had been given for the weather to improve after lunch, so most teams ran the morning practice session using their dry weather setups.
Of course someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that the rain was supposed to be over by noon. When the weather failed to improve it forced the schedule to be changed with very short notice to shift the Busch East Series portion of the schedule to late afternoon. This dictated a last minute change to the USERA schedule so the qualifying session for Race 6, which was originally scheduled for mid-afternoon, was moved up about two hours. Since the USERA teams were not prepared to qualify in the rain, USERA officials changed the session to a second practice session and declared the final qualifying session, which had been originally intended to set the grid for Race 7, as a single qualifying session that would set the grid for both Race 6 and Race 7. Things are never dull on Busch East weekends.
The weather did improve by the afternoon and qualifying took place in dry conditions. The top three qualifiers in each class were as follows:
Spec Miata: Gorriaran, C. Puskar, Ocuto
Spec Racer: DeFonce, Steinmetz, Furnia
Touring Car: Iannoconne, Delea, Meindl
X5: Hale, Kuitwaard
For Saturday morning the teams were greeted with overcast skies and cool conditions but no rain. Race 6 started on time and the drivers raced each other hard through the first half of the event. But just past the half way point in the race there were a pair of multiple car incident at turn five. About half dozen cars were involved necessitating a red flag to stop the race. The cleanup resulted in the race being checkered early. The winners in each class were as follows:
Spec Miata: Gorriaran, C. Puskar, Ocuto
Spec Racer: Steinmetz, Reed, Youngsma
Touring Car: DeLea, Brooks, Papa 2X5: Kuitwaard
The Saturday afternoon race went much smoother. There were three full course cautions with the first occurring when the number 53 Kubec Spec Miata and the number 4 Spec Racer of McCarthy made slight contact with each other in the tricky downhill turn 12 area. Both cars spun off course, with the number 61 Spec Miata of Frederick spinning to avoid Kubec and McCarthy. Fredereck and McCarthy were able to continue. Kubec retired with damage.
The second caution occurred when the number 04 Spec Racer car of Payser slid off track at station three and came to a stop in an unsafe location.
The third and final caution period came when the number 20 Spec Racer of co-drivers Work and Scott slid off course at turn 3 and made light impact with the tire wall. The car continued but dropped a significant piece of bodywork at turn 5 necessitating a caution to allow the body piece to be retrieved.
The scariest moment of the second race came on lap 59 when the number 31 leading Spec Miata of Steve Gorriaran lost its left rear wheel exiting turn 12. The wheel bounced over the pit in station and continued down pit lane but managed to avoid hitting any course workers or crew members. Gorriaran maintained control of his Miata and coasted to a stop on the outside of turn one. That handed the lead of the Spec Miata class race to local SM hot shoe Jim Ocuto who maintained the lead to the end to win the Spec Miata class. Second and third place in Spec Miata, Ben Hohn and Championship contender Shawn Dewey, had an exciting and very close battle during the closing stages of the race with Dewey taking second place by .035 seconds over Hohn at the checker.
With the conclusion of the double race weekend, Puskar Motorsports finished first and third in the Team Championship with Dewspeed sandwiched in second. Puskar Motorsports driver Chris Puskar captured the first USERA Driver Championship, followed by team co-driver David Daughtery in second. Shawn Dewey gave the Puskar Motorsports drivers a run for their money in the driver championship, but the red flag in Race 6 basically ended his chance for a title run and he ended his season with a well earned third place.