ACRL: Phoenix race report

Phoenix, AZ April 1, 2001 -- The map said Phoenix, but the weather was Portland. It was windy and chilly, with intermittent rain, but fortunately the ACRL race was run between showers on a dry, if cold, racetrack. None of this seemed to matter to...

Phoenix, AZ April 1, 2001 -- The map said Phoenix, but the weather was Portland. It was windy and chilly, with intermittent rain, but fortunately the ACRL race was run between showers on a dry, if cold, racetrack. None of this seemed to matter to Team Las Vegas leader Peter Zarcades, who timed the start perfectly and propelled his Pennzoil Swift into the lead at the green flag, parlaying his second pole position of the season into his second win. With a four car length lead heading into Turn One, he missed the brouhaha behind him, as Team Hollywood's Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi collided with San Diego's Margie Smith-Haas and spun to the rear of the field.Tirinnanzi spent the rest of the race working his way back to the front, while Smith-Haas retired on lap 11 with a broken steering rack. A tight three-car battle developed early on between Marvin Jones (Denver), Brad Pierce (Las Vegas), and John Lombardo Jr. (Hollywood), all Carbir-mounted. Jones held second for the first four laps, but dropped to fourth as first Lombardo, then Pierce got by. Lombardo pitted on lap 10 and retired with a large puddle of fluid under the car. By this time Zarcades had built a 12 second lead over his teammate Pierce, and had set fast lap of the race at 59:815, a tenth faster than he had qualified. Pierce also turned a sub-minute lap at 59.971, and Las Vegas looked like a shoo-in for a 1-2 finish. Tirinnanzi worked his way up to fourth by lap 18, only to spin again and drop back to fifth. Then Pierce coasted to a stop just three laps from the end with dead electrics, setting up an exciting finish as Tirinnanzi stalked Jones, passing him on the last lap for second. "I waved him by," said an embarrassed Jones on the podium. "If I had known it was for position, I'd have made it a little tougher for him."

Dan Dubrovich took the Sports 2000 class win in his Team San Diego Doran. He finished fourth overall, the last car on the lead lap. Early in the race, Dubrovich was hounded by David Ferguson (Salinas) and Jeff Littrell (Denver), until he was able to put the SS2 car of teammate Margie Smith-Haas between himself and the other S2 competitors. Littrell hung onto third until lap 18, then was passed by first-time ACRL competitor John Fujii (Las Vegas),who found himself on the podium in third at race's end. Littrell finished fourth, followed by Jay Messenger (San Diego), Doug Ota (Denver) and Gary Holcomb (Hollywood). Paul Schroeder's bad Phoenix luck continued, as he only made three circuits, smoking heavily, before retiring.

Defending Team Champion Las Vegas took their second team win of the season, scoring 239 points to Denver's 228 and extending their lead in the points race. The American City Racing League Western Division will race next at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California on May 20, with a strong contingent of Eastern Division competitors expected to take part. The Eastern Division kicks off their season at Virginia International Raceway on April 29.

The ACRL series, using a unique team racing concept, races Cosworth-powered Super Sports 2000, 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.

-ACRL-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers David Ferguson , Marvin Jones , Paul Schroeder , Margie Smith-Haas , Gary Holcomb