I am impressed! I have seen the Southern California 944 Spec class advance over the past several years, with hours and hours of good racing and even more hours of great camaraderie off the racetrack. But wow, the class has really progressed, and progressed well. There are several good racers, any one of whom could compete successfully for a spot on the podium. And that’s exactly what they did at Buttonwillow Raceway Park October 10 and 11. In fact, there was an entirely different cast of racers on the podium Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday morning started well, with racers just tenths of a second off one another’s times in the qualifying session, and Saturday’s race was equally exciting. Simon Peck went off track coming onto the front straight. Unfortunately, when he tried to come back on track, he ended up coming across in front of other cars, collecting John Niedernhofer and spinning into the wall. That put Jim Hicks in first and Everett Delano in second. Delano stayed on Hicks for a few laps and eventually Hicks went off coming onto the front straight — that turn got several of us. Delano passed him and held him off for the win. Jim Hicks finished second, and John Niedernhofer finished third.
After the race, Peck’s car was quickly fixed. It just took a little help from his 944 Spec buddies to get it running again. Man, these cars are solid!
Sunday morning, the class used the qualifying race as an opportunity to invert the five fastest racers. Boy, does that make for some exciting side-by-side action. Going around Riverside turn at over 100 mph, Jim Hicks tried a pass on the outside, which resulted in him spinning off track in a cloud of dust. Meanwhile, Chuck Sharp stayed glued to the back of Jim Richmond’s car, passing on the last lap for a win. And Sunday’s race only continued the excitement. Delano went off track coming onto the front straight at the end of the first lap, and was instantly passed by several cars. But the action was fast and furious. Simon Peck took the lead. Jim Richmond tried to pass him on the last lap, but the move didn’t work. Peck won, Chuck Sharp took second, and Richmond finished third.
No doubt this 944 Spec class in SoCal is going to continue its solid racing. I better get in some extra practice if I want to stay competitive!