RACE: 12 Hours at the Point replay, part I

Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point: Hour-by-Hour reconstruction Part 1 of 2 June 2, 2003: At 11:59AM on Saturday May 31, 2003, fifty-four cars started the Fifth Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point. At 12:01AM, June 1, 2003, forty-two cars...

Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point: Hour-by-Hour reconstruction

Part 1 of 2

June 2, 2003: At 11:59AM on Saturday May 31, 2003, fifty-four cars started the Fifth Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point. At 12:01AM, June 1, 2003, forty-two cars saw the checkered flag fly. In between, we saw spins, rain, hail, lightening, a race stoppage, a rollover and continue, and had more fun than you should be allowed to have.

Noon to 1 PM: The OG Racing/Performance Engineering Porsche of Coleman/Whisker/Harrison jumped into an early and commanding lead. Stalking them was the S&S Motorsports Firebird of Masters/Swain and the Roltech Industries Mustang of Troxell/Gotwald/Michael. The Porsche, however, was setting too quick a pace and both cars representing American Iron soon developed difficulties and fell off the pace. At the end of the first hour, the Porsche had a 1-lap lead over the second overall and ITE Chase Competition Porsche of Mitchum/Williams/Fohl/Chase. Two laps down, in third overall and first in ITS, was the York Automotive/Mt. Airy Collision BMW of York/Giovanis/Fry/Linton. The York entry was involved in a tremendous fight for position overall and in class with the Legg Mason Fund BMW of Wades/Hughes/Sarran and the York Automotive team had less than a one-second lead. Twenty-seven seconds behind this fight, the Endless Summer Acura of Lentz/Vecchi/Fox/Minor were holding fifth overall and third in ITE. A twenty-one second gap separated the Endless Summer Acura from the freight train fighting for sixth through ninth.

Leading the train, and first in ITA, was the Trane/American Standard Honda of Roth/Peterson/Roth. Behind the Trane Honda, a ferocious fight was taken place between two ITS and an ITE car. At the one-hour mark, in seventh overall and third in ITS was the DCS Sanitation BMW of Hughes/Checca//Lutes. Four seconds back was the Motorsport Auto/Radial Tire/Readmedoc.com Datsun of Legg/Jeter/Lucas and hard on their heels was the ITE Craftsman Auto/Piper Motorsports/Radial Tire Mazda of Himes, Piper/Moorcones. One lap down, the ITS King Rat Motorsports/Redline Motors Porsche of Ratcliffe/Shipman/Ratcliffe/Stewart rounded out the top-ten.

The SpecMiata leader, the Kroger Supermarkets/Pegasus Motorcars Miata of O'Brien/Espenlave/Baldwin/Foss held a narrow lead over the Driven Performance Miata of Nolfi/Dewey and the Ed's Pallet World/NFR & Associates Miata of McKeever/Romney. The rest of the SpecMiata field was close behind.

Back in ITB, the Conners/Sisca/Smith BMW held a twelve-second lead over the Auto Centre Racing VW of Shaffer/DoCouto/Bushey.

The Leukemia-Lymphoma Society/Salerno Chrysler Neon of Yates/Gerson/Lipperini/Kleinman took the early lead in SSC over Neon of Wesley/Mayer.

At the end of the hour, the score stood Summit Point Raceway:0, racecars:54.

1 PM to 2 PM: Near the end of the second hour, the OG Racing Porsche surrendered the lead to the Motorsports Auto Datsun, but the Datsun's lead was less than two seconds after 79 laps. Setting a tremendous pace for an ITA car, the Trane Honda of the Roths/Peterson had moved into third, one lap down. The Craftsman Auto Miata had broken away from the ITS fight and continued in fourth overall, second ITE.

Fifty-three seconds behind the Miata, the Legg Mason BMW held a three-tenths second lead over the ITS American Engineering & Testing Miata of Tier/Foote/Miskoe. The Team CRS Miata of these three drivers had broken into the top-ten from eleventh place.

In seventh overall, the first of the army of SpecMiatas had cracked the top ten. With 77 laps completed, the Driven Performance Miata held a one-lap lead over the Spec Miata field and a seventeen-second lead over the York Automotive BMW in eighth overall.

The York Automotive team had lost considerable time with their first pit stop. A fueling problem would plague the team throughout the event and would cost them an extra lap on each pit stop. The ninth place SPU Vertex Honda of Mauck/Zelones was literally door-to-door with the BMW and less than two-hundredths of a second separated the two cars. Rounding out the top-ten was the Chase Competition Porsche, but the DCS Sanitation BMW and the Endless Summer Harvest Acura closely followed it.

Even though the SpecMiata leader had gained a lap on the class, the fight continued for second. The Kroger Supermarkets Miata, with 76 laps completed, held a one-lap lead over a tight battle between the Tarr.com/Peak Engineering.net Miata of Smith/Tarr/ Pourkhomami and the RP Performance Miata of dePedro/Zalner/Barrack.

While the ITA-leading Trane Honda was obviously following the Way of the Hare, the rest of the ITA field preferred the slow and steady lesson of the tortoise. Car 41, an RX7, held second place four laps down on the class leader. Third place -- seven laps down, was the Speeds Indoor Racing/Koni/Acu-Tech Auto RX7 Mazda of Roesser/Lunken/Hahn.

During the hour, the class-leading BMW lost a left wheel while on course. The car lost considerable time as it inched its way back to the pits. They lost more time as they repaired the damage. Into the breech stepped the Auto Centre Racing VW. Trying to erase the 15-second lead was the C&G Performance BMW of Ferrangonio/Putt/Schultz.

In SRX7, the Ferrari of Charles Town Mazda of Gervais/ Dave -- I'm the webmaster -- Ade/Geidle extended their thirty-second lead over the RP Performance/ Beaver Run Motorsports Complex Mazda of Mills/Kellett/McGurgan/Schwartz. The Ferrari of Charles Town team now held a two-lap lead.

In SSC, the Leukemia-Lymphoma Neon fell to fourth in class. Moving into first in the class, with 72 laps completed, was the Wesley/Mayer Neon. About ten seconds behind, in a tremendous battle, were they Forward Motion Neon of Cuttitta/Heuschele/Leonard and the Kumho/Paps Dodge/Raceshopper.com Neon of Robinson/Miendl/Papa.

At the end of second hour, the score stood Summit Point Raceway: 4, Racecars: 50.

2 PM to 3 PM: Just after the third-hour of racing began, the OG Racing Porsche moved back into the overall and ITE lead. For the remainder of the race, the team would never again surrender the race lead. When the third hour ended, the OG Racing Porsche had completed 118 laps and was on a pace to break the overall distance covered record.

Two laps down, the Legg Mason BMW had moved into the ITS lead and had opened a one-lap lead over the pit-stopped handicapped York Automotive BMW who was in third place overall, second in class. Twelve seconds back, the ITE Chase Competition Porsche was staying within striking distance of the overall race leader. Chasing them down, thirty seconds behind back, was the Craftsman Auto Miata who were trying to shake loose that annoying Trane/American Standard Honda that just did not realize that the ITA cars were not suppose to be in the top ten at this point.

One lap down on the Legg Mason BMW was the American Engineering& Testing Miata. Spaced out, but on the same lap, were the rest of the top ten: the Kroger Supermarket SpecMiata, the Motorsport Auto Datsun and the Vertex Acura.

In ITA, trouble hit Car 41, and though running, they had lost many laps and had lost second place to the Speeds Indoor Racing Mazda.

In SSC, the class-leading Wesley/Mayer had completed 109 laps and were on a pace to challenge last year's SSC distance-covered record. Hounding them, seven second down, was the Forward Motion Neon. The four-time SSC victor 3 J's-Wild Child Nissan of Walsh and Williamson had moved into third in class, one lap down.

At the end of the third hour, the score stood Summit Point Raceway: 8, Racecars: 46.

3PM to 4PM: During the fourth hour, all hope of breaking existing lap record went out the window. Rain, which had been forecasted to hit during the hit, began to fall during the hour - at first as a gentle misting with which the drivers easily dealt. Then, just before the fourth hour of racing was complete, in buckets. The rain was no gentle Methodist sprinkle, but a true Baptists dunking. For at least thirty minutes, spilling into the next hour, the racetrack took the appearance of the inside of a running shower. Considerable carnage ensued during the heaviest of the rain.

The York Automotive team buried their car into the gravel trap at turn 3. "Well, we asked the driver if he wanted to switch to rains, but he said the car was fine. Next thing we know, we were in the gravel at turn 3," said one of the team's drivers. "It was just one of those things," he added.

At the front of the field, the OG Racing Porsche had completed 155 laps, or 310 miles and was holding a comfortable four-lap lead over the second place -- overall and in class -- ITE Craftsman Automotive Miata. The Craftsman Miata in turn held a one-lap lead over the ITS-leading American Engineering & Testing BMW that had gained four slots during the hour.

Running fourth, still on a pace to shatter their distance-covered record, was the Trane/American Engineering Honda. The Honda held a one-lap lead over the sixth-place ITS Motorsports Auto Datsun, the Legg Mason BMW, the Kroger Supermarkets SpecMiata and the Chase Competition Porsche. The Chase Competition Porsche, however, was on its last legs.

As the hour was ending, during the heaviest of the rain, the Porsche spun off to driver's right as it entered the Bridge Straight. They slid on the grass and, when they impacted a tree, it still was carrying a great deal of speed. The team lost several laps being retrieved from the woods, but had cut a coolant line. As the hour ended, the stream of liquid from the car was easily spotted despite the water everywhere.

One lap down, with 148 completed, and rounding out the top ten were the Vertex Honda Civic and, cracking into the top ten, the ITE RC Imports Mercedes of Ellinger/Ellinger/Skees. One second back, after their yank from the gravel trap, was the York Automotive BMW.

The SpecMiata leader held a three-lap lead over the next SpecMiata, but the fight for second was extremely tight. Only three seconds separated second through fourth in the class. The Sweeney and Sons Miata of Sweeney/Sweeney/Burrows held the advantage over the Driven Performance Miata and the RP Performance Miata.

In ITB, the Auto Centre Racing VW had worked its way into thirteenth overall and had extended its lead over the C&G Performance BMW into a 4-lap advantage. The Autoy/Autowerke BMW of Shelton/Toy/Wheeler had taken over the third spot in the class, but the Autoy Inc. BMW was seven laps down on second place.

The single entry in ITC, the Mo Beer Racing of Higgins/Baracka was holding its own against much faster cars. The team had completed 143 laps and was within easy striking distance of the top twenty.

The SSC, the give and take of the race continued to take its toll. The Forward Motion Neon had moved past the Wesley/Mayer Neon, but the Wesley/Mayer Neon was on the same lap and only forty-two seconds back. The 3J's Racing Nissan managed to erase some of the gap with the leaders and was now only one lap back from the class-leading Neon.

Several cars that had been sidelined in the previous hour managed to get their repairs completed and rejoined the wet track. In ITS, the DCS Sanitation ITS BMW, the Stephens Brothers/Premier Mazda RX7 of Crosett/Benzer/Batson/Edwards and the Iron Dragon Racing Datsun of Miskoe/Jantz-Sell/Dowd/Minuto had all rejoined the field, but well out of contention. In ITB the Conners/Sisca/Smith ITB had patched things together, but all hope of a class victory was fading. In ITA, the Advanced Therapeutic Services VW of Davison/Kolaczkowski/Kolaczkowski rejoined the field in 53rd position and nearly 100 laps down from the race leader.

At the end of the fourth hour, the score stood Summit Point Raceway: 4, Racecars: 50.

Part II

-dc region/jj-

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Series SCCA
Teams Williams