ACRL: Thunder Hill: Race report

American City Racing League Willows, California, June 30, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas shattered his own Thunderhill ACRL qualifying record of 1:44.841 set two years ago on the 3.00 mile "cutoff" course configuration. Zarcades...

American City Racing League

Willows, California, June 30, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas shattered his own Thunderhill ACRL qualifying record of 1:44.841 set two years ago on the 3.00 mile "cutoff" course configuration. Zarcades turned a phenomenal 1:42.687 lap at 105.174 mile per hour average speed, then went on to lead every lap of the race. Team Fresno's John Ostlund had to settle for second starting position after a late attempt at a "flyer" qualifying lap came to naught with a spin in Turn three. Ostlund also ran second in the race despite a late spin, while setting fast race lap, a new record of 1:45.309. He was followed home by Las Vegas driver Brad Pierce and Fresno teammate Brad Krause. The front of the field spread out early, and there was little close racing among the Super Sports 2000 cars. Team San Diego rookie John Cavanaugh settled into fifth overall, holding the spot until Sports 2000 leader David Ferguson passed him for the overall position two laps from the checker.

Hot weather and an abrasive track surface had some drivers concerned about tire wear, but the Hoosier R45s performed well. "My fronts were pretty well gone by the end of the race, but when they cool down we'll be able to use them again," said winner Zarcades. The 28 second margin of victory doesn't tell the story of the race, as Ostlund was much closer until he spun. "Every time I let up a little bit, John started to close on me," said Zarcades on the victory podium. "It's fun racing Peter," rejoined SS2 points leader Ostlund. "He makes you work for it."

With air temperatures approaching 100 degrees, and asphalt that you could fry eggs on, attrition struck early. Marvin Jones of team Denver pitted early with a slipping clutch. He went back out, but only made it as far as the Cyclone, where he parked and watched the rest of the event with his cool suit running full blast. Fresno's Fred Michael also came in after two laps and parked his Reynard with mechanical woes. Turn five caught out several drivers, causing some wild spins into the countrysideamong them Paul Schroeder (Las Vegas), Joe Casanova (Hollywood), and Ostlund. Casanova pitted to check for damage, losing a couple of laps in the process, but finishing seventh in his first outing in SS2. Team Denver's rookie George Nolte took sixth despite a mid-race pit stop.

Sports 2000 polesitter David Ferguson of Fresno (with a new qualifying record of 1:47.388, eclipsing the old mark by more than a second) had his hands full with John Fujii for the first half-dozen laps until Fujii decided to do some agricultural racing and dropped well back. "I got a call on the radio about dirt all over the track in turn five, but I couldn't back off much because John was right there," said Ferguson after the race. Once Fujii spun, Ferguson had an easy cruise to the checker, extending his points lead with his third win of the season. Paul Schroeder of Las Vegas, despite mechanical problems on Saturday and a turn five spin in the race, brought his Swift home in third, his first Sports 2000 podium finish. Ron Gangemi scored a fourth in class for Team Denver, and Fred Michael was fifth.

Las Vegas edged Fresno for the team victory, 263 points to 259. Zarcades' SS2 pole points cancelled out Ferguson's pole points in S2, but both teams are still very much in the hunt for the Blackaller Cup trophy at season's end.

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.

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers David Ferguson , George Nolte , Marvin Jones , Paul Schroeder , Brad Krause