ACRL: Willows, Western Divisionnotes 2000-09-16

Peter Zarcades (Swift No. 51, Team Las Vegas) captured the Super Sports 2000 pole position for the American City Racing League's sixth race of the season at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California. The ACRL cars are running as part of...

Peter Zarcades (Swift No. 51, Team Las Vegas) captured the Super Sports 2000 pole position for the American City Racing League's sixth race of the season at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California. The ACRL cars are running as part of the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) event here. Zarcades, who had been fastest in all three Saturday practice sessions. set a quick lap of 1:44.024 early in qualifying. This was good enough for the pole, but after a "black flag all" situation for the errant car of John Ostlund (Carbir No. 59, Team Fresno), Zarcades went even quicker in the waning laps, turning a time of 1:43.841 to lock up the inside of the front row for Sunday's race.

Defending Super Sports 2000 Driver Champion Steve Romak (Carbir No. 1, Fresno) was second fastest, followed by Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi (Team Hollywood Carbir, No. 72), Dennis Pavlina (Doran No. 57, Fresno) and Ostlund. The top five grid positions for Sunday's race were locked in, with the remainder of the field left to qualify Sunday morning. Good bets for the next five positions are: Brad Pierce (No. 52 Carbir, Las Vegas), Sandra Popescu (No. 60 Swift, Salinas), Dave Jansen (No. 62 Lola, Salinas), Marvin Jones (No. 40 Carbir, Denver), and Margie Smith-Haas (No. 6 Falcon, San Diego). Smith-Haas, suffering from a stomach bug, only got in 11 practice laps, but her Saturday qualifying time was her quickest of the weekend.

Michael Scully (No. 54 SR71, Las Vegas) showed the way in practice in the Aerocell Sports 2000 class, with a surprisingly quick newcomer, Harry Hoffman (No. 58 Swift, Fresno) second fastest. Points leader Dave Ferguson (No. 64 Swift, Team Salinas) struggled with brake bias and handling problems, and set the third-fastest practice time. Battling for the next four spots in Sunday morning's qualifying session will be Doug Ota (No. 42 Swift, Denver), Joe Moran (No. 71 Carbir, Hollywood), Gary Holcomb (No. 74 Swift, Hollywood) and first-time ACRL competitor Roger Heyl, (No. 61 Swift, Salinas).

Only one Sports 1600 Toyota powered machine was entered, the No. 53 Team Las Vegas SVC of Paul Schrader. Schrader, who recently moved up from the Spec Racer class to the ACRL Sports 1600, turned respectable times while getting used to the spec Hoosier R45 compound tires required by the ACRL.

Many of the ACRL drivers were racing for the first time at Thunderhill. The last time the series ran at the track was in 1994, and the track configuration has changed considerably over the intervening years. A number of drivers were caught out by some of the track's tricky, off-camber corners, and there was a good deal of "agricultural racing" going on. Steve Romak joked about raising the ride height and converting his Carbir to four wheel drive. There were no serious incidents, however, and all the cars survived the day with no more than minor damage.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Steve Romak , Marvin Jones , Dennis Pavlina , Margie Smith-Haas , Gary Holcomb , Dave Jans