ACRL: Season Opener - Phoenix - Race Report

Ostlund Wins ACRL Season Opener, Reno Takes Team Title Los Angeles, CA, September 7 -- John Ostlund, driving for Team Fresno, held off teammate and defending champion Steve Romak for his first professional racing victory at Phoenix International...

Ostlund Wins ACRL Season Opener, Reno Takes Team Title

Los Angeles, CA, September 7 -- John Ostlund, driving for Team Fresno, held off teammate and defending champion Steve Romak for his first professional racing victory at Phoenix International Raceway on May 2. The race was the season opener for the American City Racing League, a road-racing series for Super Sports 2000 and Sports 2000 cars. Ostlund qualified second behind Team Las Vegas driver Chris Ronson, who set a new track qualifying record. Ronson, in a brand-new Carbir chassis, took the lead at the green flag, with Ostlund's venerable Lola 89/90 in hot pursuit. The first four laps saw a tight pack running at the front, with Romak, Las Vegas' Peter Zarcades, Reno's Edd Ozard and San Diego rookie Sandy Popescu circulating in third through sixth. Ozard spun off course on lap 5 and subsequently retired, and Popsecu pitted for a flat tire, while Zarcades gradually fell adrift ot the tight three car pack up front. It appeared that Ronson had the race well in hand, despite occasional challenges from the Fresno cars until disaster struck on lap 18, when Ronson experienced shift linkage problems. "I held them off for three laps without third gear, and then it stuck in second," said Ronson after the race. He soon learned that he could finesse the shifter into some semblance of cooperation, and stabilized himself in fifth, where he eventually finished. Up front, Ostlund managed to stay in front of Romak, who set fast race lap while trying to catch his teammate.

The Sports 2000 class also had a dandy battle between teammates Duke Johnson and Jeff Clinton, both driving for Team St. Louis. A fantastic finish fizzled when Clinton pulled off on the last lap with electrical gremlins, allowing Johnson to take home the Aerocell $1000 purse money. Doug Allen finished third in class and 12th overall for Team Reno. A new 1999 rule, awarding points to a team's highest-finishing Sports 2000 car, combined his point with those of Ozard and Rick Lee to give Reno the team win by 4 points over Fresno. Lee, who failed to qualify his Carbir, charged from the back of the pack to fourth at the finish.

Ostlund was ecstatic on the podium. "My first win couldn't have come at a better wife, my parents, my son are all here to see it," he proclaimed. He was joined in the victory ceremonies by Romak, Zarcades, Johnson, Clinton, and the Reno team. The American City Racing League is sponsored by Hoosier, VP Racing Fuel, Motorsports Composites, and Aerocell.

Phoenix Results Best Fin. Start Driver Team Class Chassis Laps Qual. Race Pos.Pos Time Lap 1 2 John Ostlund Fresno SS2 Lola 25 1:01.310 1:01.334 2 4 Stephen Romak Fresno SS2 Lola 25 1:01.621 1:01.310 3 3 Peter Zarcades Las Vegas SS2 Swift 25 1:01.418 1:01.680 4 10 Rick Lee Reno SS2 Carbir 25 No Time 1:01.585 5 1 Chris Ronson Las Vegas SS2 Carbir 25 1:00.941* 1:02.650 6 8 Jay Messenger San Diego SS2 Lola 24 1:03.692 1:04.404 7 9 Rick Eickhoff Los Angeles SS2 Shannon 24 1:05.113 1:04.767 8 12 Duke Johnson St. Louis S2 Carbir 24 1:04.858 1:05.213 9 13 Jeff Clinton St. Louis S2 Lola 23 1:05.423 1:05.207 10 6 Sandy Popescu San Diego SS2 Swift 23 1:02.591 1:02.283 11 7 F. Tirinnanzi Hollywood SS2 Carbir 22 1:02.747 1:02.549 12 14 Doug Allen Reno S2 Lola 25 1:07.370 1:08.665 13 5 Edd Ozard Reno SS2 Lola 25 1:01.273 1:01.858 14 11 Dennis Pavlina Vancouver SS2 Doran 7 No Time 1:02.536 DNS Tom Vigil San Diego S2 Lola 0 No Time No Time DNS Mike Scully Las Vegas S2 SR71 0 No Time No Time

* New Qualifying Record. Length of race: 37.75 miles (25 laps) Track Length: 1.51 miles

Fast race lap: Romak, 1:01.310 Winning team: Reno, 197 pts.

1998 American City Racing League Points Standings (After 1 race)

Overall Driver Standings 1. John Ostlund (Fresno) 100 2. Stephen Romak (Fresno) 93 3. Peter Zarcades (Las Vegas) 88 4. Rick Lee (Reno) 84 5. Chris Ronson (Las Vegas) 82 6. Jay Messenger (San Diego) 76 7. Rick Eickoff (Los Angeles) 73 8. Sandy Popescu (San Diego) 70 9. Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi (San Diego) 67 10. Edd Ozard (Reno) 64 11. Dennis Pavlina (Vancouver WA) 61

S2000 Driver Standings (After 1 Race) 1. Duke Johnson (St. Louis) 102 2. Jeff Clinton (St. Louis) 93 3. Doug Allen (Reno) 88

ACRL / Western Division Team Standings (After 1 Race) 1. Reno 197 2. Fresno 193 3. Las Vegas 170 4. San Diego 140 5. St. Louis 139 6. Los Angel 73 7. Hollywood 61 8. Vancouver WA 52

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Series SCCA
Drivers Duke Johnson , Jeff Clinton , Steve Romak , Rick Lee , Dennis Pavlina