ACRL: Eastern Division Mid-Ohio race report

John Fergus, Team Columbus Take ACRL Victory at Mid Ohio U.S. Road Racing Classic - Round 2 Eastern Division By Margie Smith-Haas Lexington, OH, June 10, 2001 - After almost a month of wet weather at Mid Ohio, the sun came out on a super...

John Fergus, Team Columbus Take ACRL Victory at Mid Ohio U.S. Road Racing Classic - Round 2 Eastern Division

By Margie Smith-Haas

Lexington, OH, June 10, 2001 - After almost a month of wet weather at Mid Ohio, the sun came out on a super weekend of racing for the second round of the American City Racing League Eastern Division with Grand American Road Racing. Local favorite, 2001 ACRL Eastern Division Champion John Fergus was the kingpin driving his familiar stars and stripes Carbir. Fergus made that clear early setting fastest time in all practice and qualifying sessions, which earned him two pole points for his 1:27.180 time. His main challenger was newcomer rookie, Dustin Hodges of Team St. Louis, driving the Team Duke Racing Carbir that won the Round 1 Virginia opener. The 20 year old, 1999 Division Formula V Champion and '99 Runoffs pole sitter and qualifying record holder, started racing at 16 and felt very comfortable in the car from the get-go. Dustin was the only other driver to break into the 1:27s for the 2nd grid spot. Rookie Eric Langbein, Duke Johnson, AJ Smith, John Burke, Bob Liebert, and David Dullum were all bunched within a second to fill grid spots 3 through 8.

Unfortunately, two of the podium favorites, current points leader Dan Dubrovich of Team New York, and Team Columbus' David Downey, 1999 SCCA National S2 Champion, were eliminated after the first two laps of the Friday's cool practice session. Dubrovich spun his Doran after cresting the fast, blind, turn 11 and was sitting broadside in the middle of the track. Downey stormed in immediately behind him and didn't have time to avoid a collision, hitting the right side pod of Dubrovich. Downey was transported for precautionary X-rays and CAT scan of his neck and Dubrovich had X-rays of his right ribs after complaining of extreme discomfort. Both were cleared medically and released but withdrew as their cars could not be repaired in time.

Brad Lehmann, Team Columbus, set the pole for Classic Sports 2000 with Bill Haney, Team Boston, claiming the pole position for Sports 1600. Boston teammate, John Faulkner, also was a scratch from the race after breaking a crankshaft in the first Qualifying session.

The green flag had no sooner dropped when cars were scrambling to miss a spinning Duke Johnson who had come together with Philadelphia's AJ Smith in the straightaway. Johnson spun off driver's right into the slippery grass and mud and was only able to return to the race after the field went by. Both drivers were deemed at fault and both received black flags dropping Smith from 4th to 7th on lap 10. Johnson dropped to the back of the pack and pitted for removal of debris from his tail section. He unfortunately exceeded the mandatory pit lane speed and was penalized a stop and go. Johnson later pitted on lap 12 with handling problems. Smith continued in pursuit of New York's John Burke and made the pass of the race on the inside of the fast turn 1, with a gutsy move which caught Burke by surprise.

Fergus charged to the front and steadily pulled away from the 20 lap second-third duel of rookies Hodges and Eric Langbein, Washington, D.C. An elated Hodges reported he really liked the Carbir and commented "the car felt like it was on rails. It was fast and predictable. Team Duke Racing did a great job setting up the car." Hodges felt he overdrove the car at the start, pressuring himself to keep contact with an escaping Fergus. Both Hodges and Langbein had praise for the other driver for a clean, hard race-long nose to tail battle. Dustin was quicker in the high speed turn 1 and exiting the slow corners. Langbein's strength was in the back section. With two laps to go, the two came up on a lapped car entering the Carousel. Dustin was rewarded with his choice of outside line while Langbein was pinned on the inside behind the lapped car. Early in the race, the trio of John Burke (New York), Bob Liebert (Columbus), and David Dullum were like the three musketeers dueling at every turn for the 3rd, 4th,and 5th positions., John's mirrors filled with Liebert, and Liebert's with Dullum. Dullum spun at 13 and pitted on lap 5 with a loose left rear wheel. After losing several laps in the pits, Dullum went back out only to overcook it at Turn 12 and spent three laps trying to close but couldn't..

David Chesrown (Columbus) in his newly purchased ex-Liebert, Pratt-Miller car, Jeff Clinton (St. Louis) and leading rookie, Vic Kicera (Boston) were waging another great duel and then challenged AJ Smith. Clinton got by Chesrown on lap 12 and Smith on lap 18. Chesrown also passed Smith on the last lap. On lap 13, Kicera's car stuck in 1st gear so he pitted and his day was done. Gerry Green (Philadelphia), running his second ACRL race, benefited and moved into ninth place. Hodges, Clinton, and Fergus were driving "double duty" alternating between ACRL, F2000, and Grand Am, Clinton in a SRP2 car and Fergus an AGT Corvette.

There were even more battles throughout the field between Classic S2 points leader, New York's Jeff Wayland and S1600 points leader Bill Haney. Wayland set the fastest CS2 race lap and finally got by Haney at the keyhole but there wasn't enough time to close the gap on Lehmann who claimed the win in CS2. Also mixed in the frenzy was Matt Nardo, and Franz Fleischli (Team Chicago). Newcomer Fleischli said "I went faster than I've ever gone and I'm very happy with my driving and more confident. This is only my 3rd time out in this car. I had a great race with Brad Lehmann, Matt Nardo and Bill Haney. Unfortunately I missed the number board and thought A.J.'s black flag was for me, so I lost 3 positions when I made my quick in and out through the hot pit lane. I really had a great time running with the ACRL and I'm looking forward to more races!" Matt Nardo, another new face to ACRL, got into the swing of things driving Fleischli's second car and looks forward to getting his own Swift DB-2 running for the next ACRL round at Road America on August 3-5.

Fergus took the race win by 6.43 seconds. John praised his crew chief, Randy Hartman, 2000 ACRL Crew Chief of the Year, for the superb preparation on his Carbir. His teammate, Lehmann also led the CS2 class the entire race. Team Columbus was awarded the City Cup with three eligible scoring cars of Fergus, Liebert and Lehmann with St. Louis and New York in the second and third spots. St. Louis took over the overall points lead for City followed by New York and Columbus.

The ACRL Eastern series, uses a unique team racing concept, Ford-engined Sports 2000, and Toyota-powered Sports 1600 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and Union 76 110 Octane leaded racing fuel. The next ACRL Western Division event is at Thunderhill on June 31-July 1.

ACRL MID OHIO US Road Racing Classic Race Results:

Finishing position, start position ( ), driver, team, chassis, class, laps complete, qualifying time, best race lap, reason out (if any). 1 (1) John Fergus, Columbus, Carbir CS 98, S2, 20, 1:27.180, 1:28.356 2 (2) Dustin Hodges, St. Louis, Carbir CS 98, S2, 20, 1:27.877, 1:28.698 3 (3) Eric Langbein, Washington, DC, Lola, S2, 20, 1:28.140, 1:28.548 4 (6) John Burke, New York, Carbir CS 98, S2, 20, 1:28.684, 1:28.805 5 (7) Bob Liebert, Columbus, Carbir CS 00, S2, 20, 1:28.858, 1:29.068 6  (9) Jeff Clinton, St. Louis, Lola T87/90, S2,  20, 1:29.350, 1:29.773 7 (10) David Chesrown II, Chicago, Pratt Miller, S2, 20, 1:29.720, 1:30.161 8  (5) AJ Smith, Philadelphia, Pratt Miller, S2, 20, 1:28.606, 1:28.776 9  (12) Gerry Green, Philadelphia, Pratt Miller, S2, 20, 1:30.950, 1:30.763 10 (15) Brad Lehmann, Columbus, Swift DB-2, CS2, 19, 1:32.380, 1:32.424 11 (16) Matt Nardo, Chicago, Lola T87/90, S2, 19, 1:33.157, 1:32.265 12 (17) Jeff Wayland, New York, Swift DB-2, CS2, 19, 1:33.264, 1:32.160 13 (13) Bill Haney, Boston, SVC, S16, 19, 1:31.690, 1:32.282 14 (14) Franz Fleischli, Chicago, Lola T89/90, S2, 19, 1:31.993, 1:32.020 15 (19) Jim Stengel, Philadelphia, Pratt Miller, S2, 19, 1:36.463, 1:35.039 16 (8) David Dullum, Washington D.C.. Lola T88/90, S2, 13, 1:29.175, 1:30.167 17 (11) Vic Kicera, Boston, Lola 91/90, S2, 12, 1:30.017, 1:29.689 18 (4) Duke Johnson, St. Louis, Carbir CS 01, S2, 12, 1:28.441, 1:30.158  DNS (18) John Faulkner, Boston, SVC, S16, 0, 1:34.452 DNQ) Dan , DNS DNS (Dubrovich, New York, Doran, S2, 0, DNQ DNQ) David Downey, , DNS DNS (Columbus, Lola T90/90, S2, 0, DNQ , DNS

Race Time: 29:08.975  Race Length: 45.16 Miles Track Length: 2.258 miles Average Speed:  92.965 mph     S2 Winner - #01, John Fergus            Margin of Victory- 6.437 sec. S2 Fastest Lap - #01, John Fergus, 1:28.356 on lap 7 @ 92.010 mph         S16 Winner - #80, Bill Haney            Margin of Victory - NA         S16 Fastest Lap - #80, Bill Haney, 1:32.160 on lap 13 @ 87.881 mph                CS2 Winner - #18, Brad Lehmann            Margin of Victory - 1.51 sec.    CS2  Fastest Lap - #15, Jeff Wayland on lap 13 @88.06 mph            

ACRL MID OHIO US ROAD RACING CLASSIC SPORTS 2000 RESULTS 1    John Fergus    102 2    Dustin Hodges    93 3    Eric Langbein    88 4    John Burke    84 5    Bob Liebert    80 6    Jeff Clinton    76 7    David Chesrown, II    73 8    AJ Smith    70 9    Gerry Green    67 10    Matt Nardo    64 11    Franz Fleischli    61 12    Jim Stengel    58    13    David Dullum    55 14    Vic Kicera    52 15    Duke Johnson    50 ---    Dan Dubrovich    0     David Downey    0

CLASSIC SPORTS 2000 RESULTS 1    Brad Lehmann    102 2    Jeff Wayland    93

SPORTS 1600 RESULTS 1    Bill Haney    102 --    John Faulkner    0

CITY TEAM POINTS 1    Columbus    248 2    St. Louis    169 3    New York    142 4    Washington, D.C.    140 5    Philadelphia    137 6    Chicago    134 7    Boston    107

ACRL EAST POINTS STANDINGS AFTER 2 RACES             CITY TEAM POINTS            1    St. Louis    359    2    New York    353    3    Columbus    328    4    Boston    313    5    Philadelphia    294    6    Washington, D.C.    271    7    Chicago    134   

SPORTS 2000 DRIVER STANDINGS (BEST 2 RACES)            1    Dan Dubrovich    204    cop 2    Vic Kicera    178    cop 3    Jeff Clinton    164    4    AJ Smith    163    5    Eric Langbein    161    6    Bob Liebert    160    7    John Burke    145    8    Jim Stengel    128    cop 9    David Dullum    119    10    Duke Johnson    117    11    John Fergus    102    11    Michael Johnson    102    13    Dustin Hodges    93    14    David Chesrown, II   73    15    Gerry Green    67    16    Matt Nardo    64    17    Franz Fleischli    61    --    David Downey    0

SPORTS 1600 STANDINGS (BEST 2 RACES)            1    Bill Haney    204    cop 2    John Faulkner    169    cop

CLASSIC SPORTS 2000 STANDINGS (BEST 2 RACES)            1    Jeff Wayland    195    2    Brad Lehmann    102

cop - includes crossover points from Western Division

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Series SCCA
Drivers John Faulkner , Bob Liebert , John Burke , Duke Johnson , Jeff Clinton , John Fergus , Brad Lehmann , Margie Smith-Haas , Eric Lang , Michael Johnson