4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point overall victory predictions. Only 3 days remain before the Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is held with the largest and strongest field of entries to date. Practice and qualifying for the event will...
4th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point overall victory predictions.
Only 3 days remain before the Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is held with the largest and strongest field of entries to date. Practice and qualifying for the event will be Friday. May 31. The race will start at noon on Saturday, June 1. This is the fourth year that the event will be held at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, WV.
Three classes, ITS, ITE and SpecMiata, appear to be wide-open and likely to produce extremely hard fought racing throughout the entire event. These three classes account for slightly less than one-half of the record field of fifty-five entries, and, in all likelihood, the overall winner of the grueling 12-hour race will come from one of these three classes. Reliability will be the key to victory in this race.
ITE, with eight cars entered, is the class most likely to produce the overall winner. ITE boasts three previous class winners of the 12 Hours at the Point and one team where two-thirds of the drivers regularly compete in the Speed World Challenge series. The favorites in this class are the two-car RC Imports team, the Otto's BMW team and Jimmy Harrison's Porsche.
The most likely winner from the trio of teams is the Harrison entry. James Harrison of Annapolis, Maryland has the experience, is in a fast car and is known for producing reliable equipment. Should Harrison falter, the class victory will likely go to the RC Import Team of Rick and Cindi Ellinger. The Ellingers have regularly competed in the Grand-Am Cup and have the most experience in endurance racing of any team competing this year. It is doubtful, however, that their RC Import Mercedes' have the speed to win this year without help. The team will need to count on attrition to take Harrison and the Otto's BMW team out of contention. Even though the Otto's BMW team of duPont, Sapp and Walsh will be one of the fastest teams competing, it is unlikely that they will avoid mechanical gremlins that will take them out of contention. Club Sport Racing's Porsche 944 Turbo effort is the dark horse candidate in this class.
The ITS class should not be counted out for the overall win. The class is extremely fast and reliability tends to be better than the quicker ITE class. Three previous class winners, including the 1999 overall winner John Legg will be competing in the nine-car class. The favorites in this class are the Allard Mercedes Benz 190E, the Legg Datsun 240Z and the defending ITS champion Zelones Acura Integra.
The pre-race prediction is a toss-up between John Legg's team and Tony Zelones's team. Both teams have shown they have what it takes to win the Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point. The Allard Team should not be discounted, however. Chuck Allard and his co-drivers have competed successfully in previous 12 Hours at the Point and the 24 Hours of the Longest Night. It is unlikely, however, that their Mercedes will have the speed needed to win unless Legg and Zelones have mechanical difficulties.
SpecMiata is perhaps the toughest class to call. Unless attrition hits the ITE and ITS classes hard, it is unlikely that a SpecMiata team will take the overall victory. None-the-less, the class will be hard fought. At least 5 teams have a good possibility of taking the win and none should be considered favored to win. Last year's SpecMiata winner, the Traut SpecMiata, has proven that that they have the speed and reliability to win the race, but given the strength of the competition, a Traut repeat is in doubt.
Hometown favorite, Bad Al Bell, last year's ITC winner, is competing in the class. Bad Al Bell lacks experience in SpecMiata, but he knows the track and the team will be fast. The big question is whether more experience Miata drivers will show Bell up.
The Hohn Motorsports Miata also should be considered a possible victor. The team boasts the 2001 NYSRRC SpecMiata Champion. NYSRRC is a series based in New York State and is an extremely competitive series. The Wheels America/NTPGA.COM Ipress Racing team of Spikes, Mackay and Zimmerman however, trumps Hohn Motorsports' credentials. Ipress Racing will have the 2001 ARRC Champion behind the wheel.
Ipress racing and Hohn Motorsports, however, are champions in sprint racing, and the Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is an endurance race. If the race favorite is the team with the best endurance credentials, the nod needs to go to the Apex Automotive Engineering MJM Racing team of Bryan, Whitney and Martin. The MJM Racing team will have the three-fourths of the team that win the 2001 24 Hours of the Longest Night behind the wheel.
Bottom line, SpecMiata is up for grabs.
The Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is open to spectators. For more information, go to www.12hoursatthepoint.org.