RACE: Mid-Ohio Runoffs Thursday press notes

Thursday October 10, 1996 Welcome to the second day of Qualifying for the Sports Car Club of America Valvoline Runoffs. The weather remains warm and sunny. The first Qualifying session of the day was for F440. 27 of the 29 entered cars...

Thursday October 10, 1996

Welcome to the second day of Qualifying for the Sports Car Club of America Valvoline Runoffs. The weather remains warm and sunny.

The first Qualifying session of the day was for F440. 27 of the 29 entered cars took the track for a DRY qualifying session and the pole time dropped by 28 seconds! Scott Woodruff was the first to go off course at station 11 in his Red Devil T89SW. He impacted the concrete barrier with the left front of the car. He is fine, but due to the location the session was black-flagged to pull the car to a safer position. After the re-start, Don Baker spun and ended up in the gravel pit in his KBS MK7 at station 1. Tom Stevens put his Sidewinder in the gravel pit at station 11 on the drivers' left. The KBS MK7 of Ron Vince was reported spraying fluid from the right rear. The pole position went to Jim Hale in his KBS MK7 with a time of 1:38.065 and a speed of 88.104 mph. Rusty Cook who had the provisional pole after Wednesday's qualifying dropped to 2nd.

The 2nd session was for SSB and surprisingly the top 3 positions didn't change, although the lap times went down considerably. Kevin Stepinski impacted the tirewall at station 9 on the drivers' left, but was able to get his Plymouth Neon back on track. Beuran Hicks took a rough ride in his Mazda Miata on the "gator teeth" at station 1A, tapped the guardrail but was able to continue. Brian Cooper's Dodge Neon was reported to have sparks under the car. He pulled it off at station 2. David Daughtery, the defending SSB champion in a Nissan 240SXSE, kept the pole, but bettered his time by 16 seconds with a time of 1:48.671 and a speed of 79.506. Next to him on the grid is Mike Galati in his Mazda Miata. Both Daughtery and Galati's times are under the existing Runoff qualifying record for SSB.

The 3rd session was combined for GP and HP cars. Joe Hauser, competing in his 32nd Runoffs race, took the track in his Nissan SPL 311 in GP. Phil Chiles' AH Sprite was reported to be smoking heavily through station 5. Brian Linn stopped his car on drivers' left in the kink at station 14. At almost the same time Larry Gallagher stopped his Nissan Roadster in the middle of the track at by station 3. The session was black-flagged. After the re-start, Lee Feineigle ended up at station 11 and the car was pushed to a safe position. Lee is entered in 4 different classes in this year's Runoffs - possibly a record. He is running one car - a Nissan 1200 in both GT-5 and HP. and another car - a Nissan 1600 in both EP and GP. Crites car continued to give off a heavy smoke screen, finally pulling off at station 10. Mark Weber driving his GP car hit the guardrail at station 16, he was uninjured but a front tire was flattened. Mark was eventually able to change the tire himself and get the car, that is entered in GP and FP classes, back to the pit lane. The pole position in GP went to Vic Skirmants in his Porsche 356A with a time of 1:45.375 and a speed of 81.992 mph. The HP pole went to Steve Hussey in his AH Sprite with a time of 1:47.049 and a speed of 80.71 mph.

The 4th session of the day was for GT3 and 27 of the 29 entered drivers put in dry qualifying times. Fletcher Williams' Nissan 240SX was reported smoking excessively. Mike Cyphert hit the guardrail at station 7 on the drivers' left. He was able to continue, but ended up pitting early with tire rub on the left front of his Toyota Paseo. Ray Halin put his Mazda RX7 into the tirewall at station 7 "moderately hard". Ray is okay but the car had to be flat-towed into the pits. The pole belongs to Michael Lewis and his Mazda RX7, having taken 30 seconds off his time from the rainy session Wednesday. His lap time was 1:34.330 with a speed of 91.593 mph which was also under the exiting track record for GT3.

The 5th session of the day was a combined GT1 and GT2. Dave Finch was able to lower his lap time by almost 24 seconds, keeping the pole with his Porsche 944. The new pole time was 1:32.910 for a speed of 92.993mph. John Stott went into the tirewall on drivers' left at station with his Mazda RX7. He was able to get back on track. Steve Limbert 's Porsche 914-6 slid off the track at station 14, lightly impacted the tirewall, but was able to continue. The GT1 pole went to Max Lagod's Chevy Camaro with a time of 1:28.521 and a speed of 97.603 mph. Lagod did not go out during the rain session on Wednesday.

The FP class went out in the 6th session of the day and all 20 of the cars entered were able to get a lap on the dry track. Mark Irwin took a rough ride by station 14 in his Bertone X1/9, but was able to continue. Jim Saurino stopped in the middle of the track in his MG Midget, but it was pushed to a safe place for the rest of the session. Harold Flescher slid off the track at station 11, but was able to continue in his AH Sprite. Harold is the defending FP champion and qualified in the 2nd spot on the grid. Craig Chima, FP champion in 1994, is on the pole with a time of 1:38.519 and a speed of 87.698 mph. Chima is driving the same MG Midget that took him to the championship in '94.

The 7th session of the day was for the new T1 class that had 19 entrants, all of who went out for the second qualifying session. Eric Van Cleef, third on the grid with his Toyota Supra slid off the track onto the wet grass at station 14 and slid all the way to station 16. The pole position was captured by Grant Carter in a Pontiac Formula with a time of 1:44.357 and a speed of 82.792 mph. Grant was the last national champion in the SSGT class in '95 and would love to be the first champion in the new T1 class. Second on the grid is Kerry Alexander in a Chevy Camaro, only 0.2 seconds behind Grant.

The 8th session of the day was for GT4 and all 26 cars were on course for the second qualifying session. Hubert Duprez pulled his Nissan 200SX off at station 2 before station 3. Rusty Bell drove his Toyota Tercel off at station 15 on the drivers' left with a possible broken wheel. Russ Theus, who did not take his Toyota Tercel out in the rainy Wednesday session, took the pole with a time of 1:38.318 and a speed of 87.878 mph.. Russ is the defending GT4 champion.

The last session before lunch was for EP. All 26 entered cars went on course for the dry session. Robert Bennett hit the tirewall "lightly" with his MGB at station 3, but was able to continue. Mark Brannon's Elva Courier was reported smoke coming from the back of the car. He finally ducked into the pits, went back out and was still smoking! Bob Kirby spun his Porsche 914 in front of station 3, but was able to continue. Sam Halkias spun his Triumph TR-6 at station 7, but was able to continue. Austin Britton spun his Lotus Super 7 at station 11 and ended up sitting behind the guardrail till the end of the session. Dave Headley was off at station 10 and required a rope tow back to the paddock. Dave Headley put his MGB on the pole with a time of 1:38.159 for a speed of 88.020 mph.. Sam Halkias is next to him on the front row.

The first session after lunch was still dry, but not any warmer! The GT5 group had 24 entrants listed, but Richard Kraus has withdrawn his car after suffering severe engine problems in practice. The remaining 23 cars all posted times during their "dry" session. The session was quiet and Jamie Houseman got the pole in his Honda CRX with a time of 1:43.290 and a speed of 83.647 mph. David Walsh is not defending his title this year in GT5, having moved to GT4.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Jamie Houseman , Mark Irwin , Max Lagod , Michael Lewis , Sam Halkias , Craig Chima , David Daughtery , Rusty Cook , Fletcher Williams , Lee Feineigle , Rusty Bell , Hubert Duprez , Vic Skirmants , David Walsh
Teams Williams