LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 21, 2001) - This weekend, Formula Atlantic racer Larry Connor has a chance to do something only two men have accomplished. As the defending champion of the Formula Atlantic class in the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs at Mid-Ohio ...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 21, 2001) - This weekend, Formula Atlantic racer Larry Connor has a chance to do something only two men have accomplished. As the defending champion of the Formula Atlantic class in the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Connor can win his second straight championship should he win this week.
Since 1979, the Atlantic class has been part of the Runoffs. Despite the presence of such talented drivers as Greg Ray and Stan Wattles, only Michael Angus (1984-85) and Steve Forrer (1996-97) have managed to win consecutive championships.
Connor will be reaching for history on Goodyear tires.
"At the end of the day, it's about whether you can run fast, consistent laps, whether it's lap two or lap 19," Connor said. His Goodyear tires, Connor said, allow him to do so.
Connor, 51, lives in Dayton, Ohio with his wife, Christine, and their children Lauren, Shane and Colin. He started racing in 1982 and has been competing in Formula Atlantic since 1999. During that three-year period, he has managed to win 65 percent of the races he has entered. This year, he was a co-champion of the Formula Atlantic division in the SCCA's Central Region.
"Of all the tracks we run on here in the Midwest, this is the most physical track," Connor said. "You can throw the car around a little bit, but it does give you a workout. The other factor here is this track's grip characteristic changes on a daily basis. It is very difficult to determine what the grip level is going to be."
Connor drives a four-year-old Ralt RT 41 chassis and said the Formula Atlantic cars are fun to race. The cars are open-wheel, single-seat racers with unlimited 1600 cc engines rated at about 240 horsepower. The teams in the series typically use Goodyear's D-1199 front tire and the D-2863 rear tire.
"It's been an evolutionary process of trying different tire compounds, with the 120, the 160 and the 100," Connor said. "First, to find out what works best on this car and, number two, to see what's going to work based upon the individual track and individual temperatures."
The right choice could bring Connor his second Runoffs championship.