COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Feb. 5, 2008) - This year’s Polar Prix, Texas Region’s annual winter National event, was practically tropical, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s all weekend. The only snowflakes in proximity were those on the members’ wristbands.
Worker counts are often a concern at Texas World Speedway, because when they are low racers must forego the coveted 2.9-mile course. Not so last weekend. Although rumors thrummed through the paddock, the weather and course remained constant throughout the weekend. Over 160 drivers enjoyed the challenging course and large fields which provided those in attendance with a much better weekend than Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Group One, Spec Miata, ran right before lunch, but no one lost focus or wished for an early ending. The grid sheet hardly set the tone for what was to come, since the top four were separated by nearly two seconds, an eternity in SM terms. The start looked like the LA freeway at rush hour with 26 identically outfitted commuters converging on a narrow curve of roadway. Blake Clements beat out polesitter John Phillips for the lead and through sheer force of will, he stretched out a slim advantage. Phillips could not respond, since he was absolutely hounded by Aaron McSpadden and Matt Reynolds. While the trio fighting for second place dodged and parried, Clements extended his lead slightly. Reynolds slipped by McSpadden, but Phillips used every trick he ever learned to keep the younger driver behind him. The finish order was just that: Clements, Phillips, Reynolds.
Two lap records were broken in Group Two. First the GT-1 lap record crumbled at the hands of David Fershtand, who went flag-to-flag in his Ford Mustang. E Production National Champion Thomas Thrash pulled the same feat behind the wheel of his trusty Mazda RX-7. Also in Group Two, Richard Dickey collected Touring 3 honors in a Mazda RX-8.
In Group Three, Mike Sauce got a great start and took over the Formula Ford and race lead by lap three, doing battle with brother Harry along the way. Mike would eventually drop out of the race on lap eight, giving Harry the victory in his Swift DB6. Charles Hearn got the better of Formula Vee polesitter Bill Griffith at the start and defended his spot from Jim Rainey to claim the FV win in a Protoform P2.
Twenty-five Spec Racer Fords took to the track and for fifteen of the scheduled sixteen laps, the top three cars were covered by the proverbial blanket, but a bit of last lap excitement broke them apart giving Johnny Meriggi a deceptive 2.4-second margin with Brian Grigsby and Scott Monroe following. By strange coincidence, a pair of unrelated Webers driving Austin Healy Sprites collected the H Production and F Production class wins. That would be Robert Weber in HP and Mark Weber in FP, who made a last lap pass on Mike Halbrook’s Mazda Miata for the win. Meanwhile, Joseph Mcclulughan captured the Showroom Stock C win in a MAZDA3.
The open wheel and sports car classes composed Group 5, the final National race of the day, where Formula Enterprises polesitter Rusty Mitchell was able to hold off a charging Scott Mcqueen for the win. Keith Young and Davis Parr had no trouble earning Formula Atlantic and Formula Mazda wins, respectively. Equally dominating was James Smith in C Sports Racing, who’s Stohr lapped the entire class en route to victory. Roy Maxwell went from last to fast in D Sports Racing, overcoming a poor qualifying position to win DSR.
Full results are available here.
The Southwest Division returns to action at Texas World Speedway for a Double National, March 8 – 9. Lone Star Region will perform hosting duties. See www.lonestarscca.org for more information.