ACRL: Homestead-Miami Race Report

Homestead, FL, May 7, 2000 -- The American City Racing League began its second season and a new era on Sunday morning at Miami Homestead Raceway with the official announcement by Grand American president Roger Edmonson that Grand Am was the...

Homestead, FL, May 7, 2000 -- The American City Racing League began its second season and a new era on Sunday morning at Miami Homestead Raceway with the official announcement by Grand American president Roger Edmonson that Grand Am was the new sanctioning body for ACRL. The subsequent 25 lap race, which ran green all the way, showed the Grand Am folks that they had made an excellent decision. John Fergus took off from pole position, leading by 1.8 seconds at the end of the first lap and extending his lead to 7.853 seconds at the checker. The number 00 Team Columbus Carbir ran like it was on rails, cruising to an easy win. Outside polesitter Martin Ryba (Team Chicago), got a terrible start, falling to fourth behind Team Philadelphia driver A.J. Smith and Team New York's Dan Dubrovich by the time they reached Turn 2. Dubrovich started to reel in Smith at about mid-race, but a broken CV joint in the latter stages made his car a handful, and Ryba passed him for third two laps from the checker. Craig Chima of Team Columbus ran an undisputed fifth, while behind him there was a spirited dice for sixth, seventh and eighth between Jeff Clinton (St. Louis), Bob Liebert (Columbus), and Jim Ballard (Philadelphia). Duke Johnson (St. Louis), spun to the back of the field on the second lap, but worked his way back to ninth by the checker, the last car on the lead lap.

Only one Classic Sports 2000 car made an appearance, but Alain Nadal's Swift DB-2 was a crowd favorite, running Team Miami colors for a bit of local flavor. Nadal moved up five positions during the race, finishing 12th overall.

The Sports 1600 race for the lead was the best of the day for the first 10 laps. Mel Hawkins of Team Portland got an excellent start from the outside pole, and ran nose-to-tail with Team Boston's Adam Burrows. The pair pulled well clear of the rest of the S1600 field, running 10th and 11th overall. On lap 10, the pair exited Turn 11 onto the front straight absolutely glued together in a tight draft, with Burrows looking to make a slingshot move. He couldn't pull it off, but Hawkins overcooked it into Turn 2 trying to hold him off and spun into the grass. Hawkins' engine would not restart, and by the time a tow truck gave him a push start he was many laps down and retired.

Team Columbus barely squeaked out the team victory. Both Columbus and Boston scored 182 points (according to ACRL team scoring rules, a maximum of S2000 cars can score points, so Columbus could not count Bob Liebert's seventh place). All three Team Boston S1600 cars scored points, but the win went to Columbus by virtue of the tie-breaker, the highest finishing position (Fergus' win).

The American City Racing League Eastern Division will race next in a double-header event June 3 and 4 at Mid-Ohio Raceway. The ACRL series, using a unique team racing concept, races Ford-engined Sports 2000, and Classic Sports 2000 cars, as well as Toyota-powered Sports 1600 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and a spec fuel.

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Series SCCA
Drivers A.J. Smith , Bob Liebert , Duke Johnson , Jeff Clinton , John Fergus , Craig Chima , Adam Burrows , Alain Nadal