The Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors Tour visited Colorado for the first time in 2013 Saturday, with 21 drivers taking wins at Continental Divide Region's “Rock the Peak” event at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
On a warm, sunny day, drivers took to the 1.5 mile oval based road course to run clockwise for the first time, meaning new track records were on the line in addition to the Majors hardware.
Race One polesitter Craig Reeder, of Scottsdale, Ariz., saw second-starting Michael Cameron get the jump to the lead in Spec Racer Ford. Reeder hounded Cameron with his No. 66 LaRue Motorsports entry before finally drafting alongside on Lap Eight of the 35-lap contest. From there, Cameron stretched out to a 24.994-second victory over Cameron's No. 10 Surface Exploration entry, followed by Jim Christian's No. 6 entry.
Group Two for small formula cars got off to a rough start, when Formula F polesitter Bill Kephart, of Colorado Springs, was involved in an incident in Turn Two with David Loken and Bob Melvin. The field was brought down pit lane to expedite the cleanup of the three cars. Following the restart, Doug Stout's No. 11 DS Masonry Van Diemen Honda led John Butkovich's No. 23 Front Range Motorsports Van Diemen Honda for 10 laps before Butkovich moved around into the lead and sped off to victory.
As expected, Formula Vee was a back-and-forth battle. Pole winner Lisa Noble's No. 7 Littlefeat.net Vortech and Tyler Hunter's No. 22 Vortech traded the lead and the fastest lap throughout the race. As they received the signal for one lap to go, the pair was side-by-side at the stripe. Hunter emerged ahead to capture the win.
Bruce Phillips, of Albuquerque, N.M., dominated Group Three for the big-bore cars, winning overall and in GT-2 in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. In Touring 3, polesitter Tommy Boileau (No. 34 BFG R1/1-800-FIGHT-MS BMW MZ4) and third-gridded Derek Kulach (No. 00 Zorro Racing/Nissan Motors Nissan 350Z) battled for the first half of the race before Kulach began to pull away and take the victory. Other winners included Michael Pettiford (Touring 2), Jim Wheeler (American Sedan) and Bob Schader, who took his fourth Super Touring® Lite Majors win of the year.
Group Five had some of the closest qualifying times, both in E Production and F Production, and the race did not disappoint.
Front row starters John Longwell and Guy Ruse got a surprise, when Rick Kosdrosky's No. 77 Caterham 7 came from fourth on the grid to take the early lead. Longwell and Ruse battled for five laps before Ruse's No. 53 Big Choice Brewing Mazda RX-7 pulled off with a mechanical. Kosdrosky pulled out to a comfortable margin over Longwell, but as Longwell's No. 38 LEDfoot Motorsports BMW 328is was coming on strong in the final 10 laps while Kosdrosky's car slowed dramatically. Once out front, Longwell, of Kittredge, Colo., cruised to victory.
F Production was more contentious, with polesitter R. Inness Eisele watching the No. 08 Little Bill Racing/Mazdaspeed Mazda Miata going to the lead in Turn One at the start. For the first 20 laps, the pair was never more than a dozen car lengths apart, swapping the lead numerous times.
On lap 21, Hingston led Eisele's No. 13 LEDfoot Motorsports BMW 318i as they encountered traffic. Going into Turn Five, they went three-wide with another car, and Hingston's car ultimately went off on the exit. After a rough ride on the rumble strips, the car began to smoke heavily and his day was done, allowing Eisele to cruise to the win. Stan Czacki, of Truth or Consequence, N.M., won Touring 4 in his No. 00 Whitehead/DGI/BFG/Summit/HPD/Cobalt Acura RSX over three other drivers. Jonathan Goodale (No. 04 Mazdaspeed/Hoosier/JoeApex.com Mazda MX-5) and Jerry Oleson (No. 81 Goodyear Austin-Healey Sprite) scored uncontested wins.
Group Six saved the best for last, with a spirited race-long battle between polesitter Anthony Simmers' No. 45 Volkswagen GTI and Pettiford's No. 41 GO 4 IT Racing Schools/Hoosier Tires/Hawk Brake Volkswagen Jetta GLI for the overall and Super Touring Under win. Already a winner in Touring 2, Pettiford took the lead on the opening lap but Simmers was never far behind, taking the lead on lap five. Simmers held the lead by the slimmest of margins for the next 16 laps before Pettiford made it by on lap 22. The pair went side-by-side through Turns One and Two the next lap, until Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., finally was able to pull out a gap of more than a second through traffic. From there, he slowly pulled away to a 3.367-second win.
In Spec Miata, second-starting Bill Tolley got the jump early in his No. 69 Speedracers Mazda Miata, with polesitter Steven Powers, of Mesa, Ariz., in tow. Like STU, the lead changed on lap five, but in Spec Miata, it was for keeps, with Powers taking the win in his Amerifirst Financial/Miatacage.com/East Street Mazda Miata.
Sunday brings another round of qualifications and 35-lap, 52.5 mile races. For full results, visit the event homepage at www.scca.com/ppirmajors.
FOUNTAIN, Colo. – Class winners from Saturday's Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors Tour at Pikes Peak International Raceway, with class, driver, hometown and car.
AS, Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, Kan., Pontiac Trans Am.
CSR, Jay Messenger, Mulshoe, Texas, Mazda SR Challenge.
EP, John Longwell, Kittredge, Colo., BMW 328is.
FB, Steve Ott, Houston, Texas, Astra SH-RR1.
FC, Barry Gilbert, Englewood, Colo., Van Diemen Ford.
FE, Henry Donohoo, Arvada, Colo., Formula Enterprises.
FF, John Butkovich, Pueblo, Colo., Van Diemen Honda.
FM, Russell Lindemann, Longmont, Colo., Star Formula Mazda.
FP, R. Inness Eisele, Evergreen, Colo., BMW 318i.
FV, Tyler Hunter, Denver, Colo., Vortech VW.
GT-2, Bruce Phillips, Albuquerque, N.M., Porsche 911 GT3.
GTL, Jonathan Goodale, Conifer, Colo., Mazda MX-5.
HP, Jerry Oleson, Aurora, Colo., Austin-Healey Sprite.
S2, Chris Helt, Fort Collins, Colo., Lola T89/90.
SM, Steven Powers, Mesa, Ariz., Mazda Miata.
SRF, Craig Reeder, Scottsdale, Ariz., Spec Racer Ford.
STL, Bob Schader, Longmont, Colo., Mazda Miata.
STU, Michael Pettiford, Louisville, Colo., Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
T2, Michael Pettiford, Louisville, Colo., Chevrolet Corvette ZO6.
T3, Derek Kulach, Englewood, Colo., Nissan 350Z.
T4, Stan Czacki, Truth or Consequence, N.M., Acura RSX.