Spec Racer West Michigan report

STRICKLER HANGS ON FOR FIRST SPEC RACER FORD PRO SERIES WIN IN ROUGH AND TUMBLE RACE GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 24, 1998) - John Strickler took home his first career Spec Racer Ford Pro Series win at the inaugural West Michigan Grand Prix with a...


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 24, 1998) - John Strickler took home his first career Spec Racer Ford Pro Series win at the inaugural West Michigan Grand Prix with a 1.667-second margin over Neil Tilbor.

Strickler, of Kansas City, Kan., started the 50 minute, 27.544-second race second and had the jump over pole-sitter Warren Stilwell, taking an early lead going into turn one. On lap 4, however, Strickler's No. 22 Mattress City Racing Spec Racer Ford was passed by the No. 6 Valvoline Spec Racer of Keith Scharf.

Scharf held the lead comfortably for over half of the race while the field battled behind, while SRFPS veterans Neil Tilbor (No. 8 Tyco R/C Spec Racer Ford) and Leo Capaldi (No. 68 Autostuff Spec Racer Ford) were charging hard from their sixth and eighth-place respective starts.

A ferocious battle between Scharf, Stilwell, Strickler, Tilbor and Capaldi ensued that included seven lead changes in the 32-lap, 50.56-mile race, with Stilwell and Scharf tangling on lap 23. Heading into Turn One, leader Scharf was hit from behind by Stilwell, sending Scharf spinning into the wall, bringing out the only full course caution. Stilwell would be called in with a stop-and-go penalty for the incident two laps later, but managed to work his way back through the field to finish eighth.

Strickler, Tilbor and Capaldi then battled for the checkered flag. Capaldi took the lead from Strickler on lap 27, only to be repassed by Strickler one lap later. Tilbor, who also passed Capaldi on lap 27, momentarily passed Strickler for the lead. on lap 30. But the day belonged to Strickler as he passed Tilbor on the same lap after Tilbor locked his brakes at the end of the back straight.

But Tilbor and Capaldi hadn't had enough of each other yet, going door to door, fender to fender to the finish with Tilbor edging Capaldi on the last lap for the runner-up position. Johnny Santo Spirito (No. 19 Spirito Racing) and Robert Mumm (No. 10 Autostuff/Donnybrooke) rounded out the top-five.

Strickler takes over the Drivers' Championship points lead with his victory and now leads at 44 points, followed by Stilwell and Tilbor, 39, Santo Spirito, 34, and Mumm, 31.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Results from Friday's 32-lap, 50.56-mile Spec Racer Ford Pro Series race, part of the West Michigan Grand Prix, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out. 1. (2), John Strickler, Kansas City, Kan., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 2. (8), Neil Tibor, New Smyma Beach, Fla., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 3. (6), Leo Capaldi, Lenox Twp, Mich., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 4. (7), Johnny Santo Spirito, Denver, Colo., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 5. (5), Robert Mumm, Hales Corners, Wis., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 6. (9), John Bowden, Lawrence, Kan., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 7. (12), Greg Farrar, Clarkson, Mich., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 8. (1), Warren Stilwell, Hartville, Ohio, Spec Racer Ford, 32. 9. (16), Niki Ruman, Washington, D.C., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 10. (17), Amid Shayesteh, Richmond, Ind., Spec Racer Ford, 32. 11. (18), Martin Waalkes, Grand Rapids, Mich., Spec Racer Ford, 31. 12. (20), Thomas Hunt, Buffalo, N.Y., Spec Racer Ford, 31. 13. (21), Dave Kramer, Ada, Mich., Spec Racer Ford, 30. 14. (15), C. Peter Pope, Hickory, N.C., Spec Racer Ford, 27, Crash. 15. (19), Richard Doty, Haddon Heights, N.J., Spec Racer Ford, 25, Mech. 16. (3), Keith Scharf, Kirkwood, Mo., Spec Racer Ford, 22, Crash. 17. (4), Johnny R. Meriggi, The Woodlands, Texas, Spec Racer Ford, 18, Mech. 18. (14), Rod Beckman, Lincoln, Neb., Spec Racer Ford, 18, Crash. 19. (10), Steve Rehkemper, Chicago, Ill., Spec Racer Ford, 13, Mech. 20. (13), Andy Carlino, Palm Beach Garden, Fla., Spec Racer Ford, 10, Mech. 21. (11), Keven Clarke, Conway, N.H., Spec Racer Ford, 3, Crash.

Time of race: 50 minutes, 27.554 seconds. Average speed: 60.119 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 1.7759 seconds Fastest race lap: Warren Stilwell, 1:27.680 (64.872 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-3, Strickler; laps 4-22, Scharf; laps 23-25, Stilwell; lap 27, Capaldi; laps 28-32, Strickler

SCCA Spec Racer Ford Pro Series Drivers' Championship - Top-10 Standings Points Standings After Three Races

1, John Strickler, 44 2, Warren Stilwell, 39 3, Neil Tibor, 38 4, Johnny Santo Spirito, 34 5, Robert Mumm, 31 6, Leo Capaldi, 28 7, Keith Scharf, 26 8, John Bowden, 20 9, Denny Stripling,17 10, Johnny R. Meriggi,16

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Leo Capaldi , Robert Mumm , John Strickler , Johnny R
Teams Carlin