Las Vegas notes

From: JPM Dillon <102044.3322@CompuServe.COM> Greetings from Vegas Races Las Vegas "Sweetheart Double Regional" or some such name What the hell, let's tag the old copyright line on here: Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon Well,...

From: JPM Dillon <102044.3322@CompuServe.COM>

Greetings from Vegas Races

Las Vegas "Sweetheart Double Regional" or some such name What the hell, let's tag the old copyright line on here: Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon

Well, it's my first race of the year, and I've pretty much enjoyed myself so far. (The division has already run several.) Things are a little crazy sometimes, especially since I'm single-handing the event in Race Control (working both land line and radio networks) but fortunately the crews on the corners are doing a great job and I've got Jean Munn from Arizona keeping the log. We've got possibly every SoPac region represented, including Hawaii (me), San Diego (the Hanelines and Knoxes), Cal Club (the Nasons and others) and Arizona (Bill Stringer, and again, many others), and of course, Las Vegas, capably led by flag chief Martin Lotz and Big Al Havey. (I don't know if AZ Border Region is represented--they don't have a road racing program.)

We have a diversity of support in the other specialties too, including the Petersens from Arizona, the Lees from Cal Club (San Diego?) the indispensable Bottomleys from Vegas, and others too numerous to mention. Even T&S had help from the San Diego chief Pat Samarco, Cal Clubber Martha Leslie, and several good Las Vegas folks, including chief Bobbi Allen and husband Jim (a.k.a. Wheels).

The weather is chamber-of-commerce perfect. The racing is, in some ways, outstanding, in other ways, merely okay. This event is dual-sanctioned; Arizona hosted the Saturday sessions, Vegas hosts Sunday. The points from each day count towards the SPRCS championship, and count as two regions, so it makes the tow north doubly valuable for competitors. (SPRCS trophies require participation in 3 of 4 regions for 1997.)

Group 1 featured an amazing collection of Spec RX7s as part of a 41 car field. (The track limit is 44 cars.) Man, what a great class. If I were to go racing in something other than a rally car, this would probably be the way I'd go. In the first race, a big mess developed between Turns 1, 2, and 3 when one car nudged another, causing the other to spin, launching a series of ker-thumps, and ultimately putting one car on its roof, with three others damaged or destroyed. All the drivers were fine. This race was stopped at 11 laps (of 17 scheduled) due to the level of cleanup required. We dubbed Turn 1 the Arizona turn because of the workers there; it's appropriate that they started a mess on the Arizona-sanctioned day.

The next group, Spec Racer Ford, only put up 13 cars, but early racing ensued between Craig Reeder, Ed Raby, and Lee Fleming. Reeder finally slipped under pressure to spin, then spin again, then decided to park the car in the paddock. Fleming opened a wide gap over Raby, who struggled in the closing laps to hold off Dan Spaethe, a mission successfully accomplished.

Third out was a tiny hodge-podge of Formula cars and Sports Racers. They had no interest in starting right away, coming around at speed in practically single file, so San Diego starter Larry Samarco waved 'em off to try again. This time the pole car was reported to have jumped the start, but the green came out and names were recorded for possible action, since a battle with daylight had become a concern. (Uncharacteristically, the region experienced communications problems, finally traced to a blown fuse in the main amplifier. This, combined with a delay when the medical staff was late arriving, led to the concern, but fortunately, everything finished up by 4:30 even with these situations.) Once the racing commenced in earnest, it was a three way battle betweeen twin FCs numbered 3 and 35, hounded by Steve Anderson in a Formula Mazda. They finished in the order listed. Gene Rolf, Charlie Kuhlmann, and Anderson all won in class uncontested.

Group 4 brought out the other sort-of-decent-sized field, another collection of IT, Showroom Stock, GT and Production cars.. This event was largely uneventful (keeping in mind my lousy memory). I believe a GT-1 Camaro lapped the field, with a GT-2 Porsche finishing second.

In the last group (FF, F500, FV, SF, CF) every class leader spun at least once. 41 looped the car three times, while overall winner, the 69 F500 car, twirled twice, once in Turn 1 getting two wheels in the air, the second time in Turn 9 getting all four wheels in the air. It was another tiny group; I think only the Vees fielded more than one car in class.

As Race Control, I'm particularly pleased with the performance of the corner workers. Not once did I need to remind them of procedures such as "spotting" for starter and blackboard, or holding non-essential calls on the first and last racing laps, nor of displaying the flags appropriate for the situation. They did a great job all day. I especially commend Bill Stringer for dead-nuts short-and-to-the-point calls, Barbara Knox for vocalizing the key ingredients in the right doses in her Alert situation despite the mayhem around her, Martin Lotz for remembering when he was "Turn 4," when he was "Blackboard," and when he was "Flag Chief," and chief Starter Chuck Weinstein for giving us time remaining at 5, 2, and Checker.

This is NOT a real race report, just jottings to keep my fingers busy and my mind dull, but editors are welcome to use it if they like. I'll try to upload final results tomorrow night. To my W2W friends like Dave Balinget (whom I met today), be advised that I no longer subscribe to the list, so I probably won't see your responses. Don't worry about it.... I don't.

John Dillon Desert Flagging Association

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Lee Fleming , Dan Spaethe