Las Vegas Nevada, August 10, 2002 - The American City Racing League has run night races before, notably at half-mile ovals like Irwindale and Mesa Marin, but tonight's 7:15 pm start marked the first twilight road race for the series. Running under...
Las Vegas Nevada, August 10, 2002 - The American City Racing League has run night races before, notably at half-mile ovals like Irwindale and Mesa Marin, but tonight's 7:15 pm start marked the first twilight road race for the series. Running under National Auto Sports Association (NASA) sanction, the race was the fifth of the season for the ACRL Western Division, and the first of a doubleheader for the weekend.
Defending Super Sports 2000 Champion Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas won a flag-to-flag victory from the pole, marking his third win and second pole of the season. Triple-digit daytime temperatures prevented new qualifying records from being set, but Zarcades was a full six-tenths of a second faster than second-quick qualifier and Super Sports 2000 points leader John Ostlund of Team Fresno. Ostlund got a good jump at the start, a bit too good in the judgement of Chief Steward Mike Jennings. Although Zarcades re-passed for the lead in turn one, Ostlund received a stop-and-go penalty and rejoined at the rear of the pack. "It was the dumbest start I ever made," grumbled Ostlund after the race. This left Hollywood teammates Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi and John Lombardo, Jr. to tussle for second. Lombardo took over when Tirinnanzi's nose came adrift and he pitted for the application of some 200 mph tape. A fierce battle for third ensued among Team Fresno's Brad Krause, Marvin Jones of Team Denver, and Jay Messenger, driving the Team San Diego Falcon normally piloted by Margie Smith-Haas. Team San Diego driver John Cavanaugh ran just behind this group, a last-minute gear change giving him some added speed. While Zarcades motored off into the sunset (literally), Ostlund was carving his way back through the pack, and was soon into the third-place battle, picking competitors off one by one. Messenger pitted from third place on the 10th lap, a duff wheel bearing putting him out of the race. The late-race action was concentrated on his battle for second with Lombardo, going down to the checkered flag with only a couple of car lengths separating the pair at the finish. Lombardo's defense defeated Ostlund's offense for the position. Krause brought his green Fresno machine home fourth and Marvin came home fifth ahead of Cavanaugh. Tirinnanzi worked his way back to seventh, while George Nolte of Team Denver made a pit stop at around mid-race, dropping him well back in the order to finish eighth.
Two Sports 2000 cars were entered, both running for Team Fresno. Points leader and past Champion David Ferguson ran with the slower Super Sports 2000 cars, while teammate Fred Michael continued to struggle with a recalcitrant Reynard. An off-course excursion nine laps into the race folded the nose under the right front wheel and rendered the car undrivable, but repairable for the next day's racing.
Fresno, with four cars in the race, dominated the team point scoring with a third, fourth and eighth good for 244 points and the team title.
The ACRL series, using a unique team racing concept, races Cosworth-powered Super Sports 2000 and Ford-engined Sports 2000 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and Union 76 110 Octane Leaded Racing Fuel.