Race 20 | Formula 500 | Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
1 | Jason Knuteson | Indianapolis | Scorpion SI | n1
2 | Bob Gieson | Milwaukee | Red Devil LD04
3 | Jeff Jorgenson | San Francisco | Novakar JJ-10
Well you might say that picking the reigning gold medalist is a bit of a copout, but a quick perusal of this year's June Sprints might change your mind. We had it in our minds that Jeff Jorgenson was the one who would get it done this year – and he still might! Jorgenson, as of this writing, has a perfect string of five wins in the NorPac standings, but then he ran into the buzz saw of Jason Knuteson and Bob Gieson at the Sprints. Does that mean it will end up the same? Maybe, maybe not. But all accounts seem to have National Champ Knuteson clearly in control, though Gieson had the nose of his Novakar firmly attached to Knuteson's tail pipe for much of the race as the duo fought lap after lap.
And it might come down to who has the right car. In a class like F500 on a four-mile course like Road America, it may be the car that works best on the long straights that has the edge. We'll see.
So, let's look at some of the other contenders. Michael Mueller, like Gieson, has a home course advantage. Speaking of home course, let's not forget Herb Nobel or 2000 National Champ Aaron Ellis. Great Lakes Division guys have plenty of track time at Road America too, so the likes of Kenny Price Patrick Gallagher and Jeff Blumenthal are ones to watch.
Jack Walbran has been having a great season, as has Chris Huskamp, although he was sidelined at the Sprints. There are a number of others who might be able to jump into the mix, as well. Steve Moore, Michael Brent and NorPac's triple threat of Jorgenson, Don Clar and Joe Rozelle all stand a chance of mixing it up with the leaders. But don't count out Glen Smeal, Joe Palmer, Chuck McAbee and Chris Hite. This one will be worth the price of admission.
Race 21 | H Production | Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
1 | Dan Meller | Milwaukee Region | Honda CRX
2 | Tom Feller | Detroit | Triumph Spitfire | n4
3 | Dan Collishaw | Glen | Austin Healey Sprite | n2
The consensus at the June Sprints and on the Web is that a Limited Prep Honda CRX is the car to have at Road America – Dan Meller validated that perception at the Sprints. He qualified his CRX 4.6sec faster than the next HP car, ran off at the start, spun, restarted well back and still finished third. It was quite a performance.
Tom Feller is always a safe choice to win HP, and he will challenge Meller. Feller knows how to win. Dan Collishaw isn't optimistic about the chances for a 948cc Sprite at Road America, but he set a lap record at VIR. He should do well.
There were three competitive VWs at the Sprints – Bob Kelly in a Scirocco won with Tim Pitts second and Chris Albin fourth, both in Golfs. Any of them could contend for a podium finish, as could Greg Gauper, driving a Honda Civic. Gary Wittman and Mike Cummings lead their respective divisions in Sprites, as does Jamie Blust in his Triumph – all three are entered for the Runoffs and are likely to be racing for a podium finish if they can learn the track fast enough.
Not entered at the article's deadline were several fast drivers. Ron Bartell is a former champion, whose Midget is very well prepared. Matt Brannon finished second at the Runoffs last year in his Fiat X1/9. And Keith Church is running his very fast Toyota Corolla in HP this year. Any of these drivers could be in the mix for a podium finish.
J. Michael Hemsley
Race 22 | Formula Ford | Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
1 | Tim Kautz | Chicago | Piper
2 | Jeremy Treadway | Mohawk Hudson | Swift DB6
3 | Tony Coello | Milwaukee | Van Diemen RF01
Tim Kautz won the Formula Ford class at the June Sprints by an impressive 18sec. That is good enough to predict a National Championship in September for the Piper driver. He's fast, consistent and looking to add an SCCA National Championship to his collection of trophies. As far as we're concerned, this is his year.
Jeremy Treadway finished second at the Sprints, and factoring in his previous performance, including his second-place finish at last year's Runoffs, we believe he'll claim that second spot once more – although if he can get close enough to Kautz, he'll definitely make his presence known.
Tony Coello is always one to keep an eye on. After a disappointing Runoffs last year, where he qualified fourth but finished 11th, he's back with a vengeance. The Sprints saw him in third, only a second behind Treadway come the checker. The telling tale, however, is that his fastest lap of the race was 1.1sec better than Treadway's and a tenth off of Kautz. If the cards happen to fall correctly for Coello, we wouldn't be surprised if he flipped our prediction list.
Should one of our picks falter, though, Cliff Johnson stands a chance of catching the trio – passing for the lead, however, is another story. We also know four-time National Champ Thomas E. Schwietz Jr. is capable of reeling in the leaders and adding to his championship medal collection. And don't count out Michael Sauce. We're not counting any of them out, we're just betting it's Kautz from flag to flag.
Wm. C. Mitchell