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Daytona Double SARRC

I had already made the tough decision to not drive in the annual Double SARRC at Daytona long before wrecking my car at Road Atlanta in July, but I was still pumped up about making the trip. I would get a chance to visit my mom in Orlando, I’d pick up our new (to us) “Greyhound Bus” (to transport our two rescued greyhounds), I’d get to see some great racing at the Birthplace of Speed, and we’d finally get a chance to demonstrate that our GTA-Southeast rules were working pretty well. A large contingent of GTA cars from both Kansas and Texas would be there, and a week before the event we had twenty-one (21!) GTA cars registered to race.

I had worked out a deal with Andy Fox where we’d share his ex-ASA car for the weekend, but unfortunately that plan was run off the road (literally) by a drunk driver that crossed the center line and took out Andy’s truck and trailer as they were headed to the track early Saturday morning. Everyone is okay and the racecar was not damaged, but it’s obvious the racing gods wanted neither Andy nor me to race that weekend.

I visited with my mom Saturday morning, but when I arrived at the track I KNEW without asking anyone that qualifying had been a zoo – Ron (Burr) Keith, was on the GTA pole! <g> Ends up the session was stopped partway through due to a rain shower, plus with 60+ on the track getting a clear lap paid a serious premium. Everyone had to deal with the same conditions, however, and the head of the Kansas Tornadoes had gotten the job done! Jeff Bailey and 2008 SARRC points leader Tony Amico had their times thrown out because they blew the checkered flag, so they moved to the rear of the grid with Scott Lagasse Jr. who had failed to go out in the morning. The entire GTA field:

No.

Driver

Home State

Best Lap

66

Ron Keith

Kansas

2.05.590

22

Gregg Rodgers

Texas

2.05.717

00

Jay Marshall

Florida

2.06.071

06

Bob Stretch

Texas

2.08.937

70

Rudy Revak

California

2.09.008

79

Bob Davis

Virginia

2.09.309

20

Greg Cecil

Florida

2.11.752

37

George Lutich

Florida

2.12.248

91

Randy Keith

Kansas

2.12.454

134

Preston Fowler

North Carolina

2.12.724

116

Phil Tapia

Florida

2.13.990

29

Ron Fariss

Virginia

2.14.749

7

Tom Graham

Florida

2.16.791

11

Stacy Rodgers

Texas

2.18.671

12

Steve Wiles

Kansas

2.21.522

81

Tom Boldry

Kansas

2.27.095

10

Jeff Bailey

Florida

dsq

77

Tony Amico

Florida

dsq

19

Scott Lagasse

Florida

nt

I was calling the race for Jeff as he made his charge from the back of the pack so I don’t remember a lot of what happened at the front, but I do recall looking a couple of times and seeing the first five GTA cars running nose to tail. I know that Burr led some laps and Gregg was in the hunt, then a full-course yellow came out about lap five when Paul Breehne’s SPO Late Model blew a tire in NASCAR Four and then blew all the bodywork off in the subsequent spin. I thought for sure Paul had smacked the wall a ton since the hood and windshield were the only pieces still attached to the chassis, but I was assured he had not.

The yellow was out for four laps so we were setting up for a famous “green, white, checker” finish.  The final order for Saturday’s race was:

 

PIC

No.

Driver

Home State

Race Lap

1

06

Bob Stretch

Texas

2.00.570

2

22

Gregg Rodgers

Texas

2.00.171

3

00

Jay Marshall

Florida

2.00.667

4

29

Ron Fariss

Virginia

2.01.091

5

66

Ron Keith

Kansas

2.02.372

6

37

George Lutich

Florida

2.03.176

7

10

Jeff Bailey

Florida

2.04.778

8

79

Bob Davis

Virginia

2.05.062

9

81

Tom Boldry

Kansas

2.09.186

10

11

Stacy Rodgers

Texas

2.09.897

11

12

Steve Wiles

Kansas

2.10.613

12

20

Greg Cecil

Florida

nt

13

91

Randy Keith

Kansas

2.08.085

14

77

Tony Amico

Florida

2.07.372

15

7

Tom Graham

Florida

2.06.131

16

19

Scott Lagasse

Florida

2.09.770

17

70

Rudy Revak

California

2.09.047

18

134

Preston Fowler

North Carolina

nt

19

116

Phil Tapia

Florida

nt

Apparently  Greg Cecil’s transponder wasn’t working, and Preston and Phil had opted to sit it out because they were concerned about it raining. California champion Rudy Revak lost a drive shaft on his Ford, Tom Graham lost a clutch, Tony Amico had a flat tire, and Scott Lagasse was penalized four positions for multiple passes under yellow. Spirits were high in anticipation of the battle resuming on Sunday.

Sunday dawned early but the weather was dry all day. Getting a clean lap was again paramount during qualifying, but many of the drivers came in halfway through the session so the guys running at the end effectively had an open track. When it all shook out Bob Stretch was again on the pole and Tom Graham & Scott Lagasse were starting at the back due to transponder issues. They lined up in the following order for the last race Sunday afternoon:

 

No.

Driver

Home State

Best Lap

06

Bob Stretch

Texas

2.00.273

10

Jeff Bailey

Florida

2.00.938

00

Jay Marshall

Florida

2.01.000

22

Gregg Rodgers

Texas

2.01.660

66

Ron Keith

Kansas

2.02.235

37

George Lutich

Florida

2.03.141

116

Phil Tapia

Florida

2.03.443

81

Tom Boldry

Kansas

2.03.522

29

Ron Fariss

Virginia

2.03.624

77

Tony Amico

Florida

2.03.684

70

Rudy Revak

California

2.03.742

91

Randy Keith

Kansas

2.04.657

79

Bob Davis

Virginia

2.05.257

12

Steve Wiles

Kansas

2.05.935

11

Stacy Rodgers

Texas

2.06.941

134

Preston Fowler

North Carolina

2.08.701

7

Tom Graham

Florida

nt

19

Scott Lagasse

Florida

nt

I’ll have to look at MyLaps to figure out all that led a lap on Sunday, but it was a barn burner. Bailey jumped to an early lead, then a freight train of ASA cars pulled by Bob Stretch got by him in the International Hairpin in the infield. I’m pretty sure Gregg led at least one lap, and I do know that the top six GTA cars were covered by less than two seconds halfway through the race. We again had a full-course yellow, but this time is was resolved quickly because the Pace Car was only out for one lap. 

Bailey got a good jump on the restart (due to a heads-up call by his Crew Chief) and slotted into second behind Bob, but he had nothing for the “slime green” ASA car. Burr pulled off with overheating problems after a trip through the grass to avoid a back-marker after the restart, but he was pumped up about having second fastest race lap. Ron Fariss had rubbed a hole in the oil pan Sunday morning and didn’t make the show, Tom had again burned up a clutch, but I don’t know what happened to the others that dropped out. Jeff and Gregg had a helluva battle for second that went down to the last lap, and at the checkers the final order (with best race lap) was: 

PIC

No.

Driver

Home State

Race Lap

1

06

Bob Stretch

Texas

2.00.970

2

10

Jeff Bailey

Florida

2.01.009

3

19

Scott Lagasse

Florida

2.00.881

4

79

Bob Davis

Virginia

2.04.817

5

77

Tony Amico

Florida

2.04.865

6

22

Gregg Rodgers

Texas

2.00.807

7

91

Randy Keith

Kansas

2.04.066

8

81

Tom Boldry

Kansas

2.05.543

9

11

Stacy Rodgers

Texas

2.06.457

10

134

Preston Fowler

North Carolina

2.10.535

11

66

Ron Keith

Kansas

2.00.722

12

7

Tom Graham

Florida

2.04.756

13

37

George Lutich

Florida

2.05.027

14

116

Phil Tapia

Florida

2.06.178

15

00

Jay Marshall

Florida

2.00.505

16

12

Steve Wiles

Kansas

2.43.560

17

70

Rudy Revak

California

2.05.669

18

29

Ron Fariss

Virginia

-

What I took away from the weekend is there is NO clear single chassis, engine, or tire combination that is head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Bob Stretch won both days and had fastest GTA lap of the weekend, but he did NOT turn fast race lap either day. What I can imagine (to be verified when I can look at all the lap times on MyLaps) is that Bob was easily the most consistent driver EVERY lap – no errors and hitting the same points lap after lap after lap. That also supports my contention that the biggest improvement we’ll find in our cars will be found in the carbon-based control unit connected to the steering wheel.

The last SARRC points races are August 30,31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, then the 2008 SARRC GTA Champion will be determined at the SARRC Invitational Challenge at Roebling Road the weekend of September 20,21. 

The last race of the year will be November 7-9 (we qualify on Friday and race on Saturday) at Road Atlanta. Not only is this the American Road Race of Champions Presented by Grassroots Motorsports, but it’s also the final round of both the GTA National Tour and the V8StockCar Series. We’re expecting over fifty (50!) ground-pounders to show up that weekend, at least thirty of which should be GTA cars. Should be one helluva show!

See y’all at the track…