NASA Texas welcomed Walter “Russ” Reed and his AI SN95 Mustang and Andrew Fisher in his CMC SN95 Mustang to their successful first event at Motorsports Ranch Houston in January. Fisher chased a few little mechanical issues, which are to be expected considering he first saw the car one week before the event. Reed had a whopper of an introduction as he spun in some oil on his second turn in a race! More on that oil later.
In American Iron, there were only two cars in attendance that weekend. In race one, Craig McCormick got the best of Casey Holdway and took the AI win. Both drivers enjoyed the added speed due to the AI rule change for 2020 that dropped the weight-to-power ratio. McCormick ran a 1:43.611, narrowly grabbing the lap record that Mason Melkowitz and Team Downunder had set in 2009!
In Camaro-Mustang Challenge, Joshua Sooknanan took first, with John Martin in second and Michael Mosty in third. Sooknanan did some heroic driving to stay out front with the relatively new-to-him fourth-generation Camaro, with Mosty dogging him at every turn while Alvaro Fernandez and Martin hung out only a car length or two back. Fernandez’s car started losing power due to fuel issues, a problem that plagued him all weekend, and dropped him out of the hunt. With Fernandez out of the way, Martin was able to catch and pass Mosty near the end.
In race two, the story was less about the finishing order than it was about the short but interesting drama. Bert Withers and Russ Reed had joined the AI field and were running third and fourth in AI heading into Diamond’s Edge on lap one. Withers’ car suddenly released a giant smoke screen and oil, causing him to start spinning. Reed, right behind him, also started spinning and both cars sailed through the swampy grass and across the track on the other side. Luckily the CMC field was able to slow down enough to avoid any contact. The track went double yellow, and stayed that way until it was black flagged. Fernandez passed an out-of-class car under yellow, and was summarily DQd.
On Sunday, race three started with wet conditions due to the rain that had come through overnight. It was actually quite fun to be out for qual on a completely wet track but without any actual rain. Those conditions let Dan Records capitalize and earn a well-deserved pole.
In American Iron, McCormick took first again with Holdway in second and Reed in third.
In CMC’s third race, the track was dry, but there were puddles in the typical spots. One such spot is the apex of the last turn coming onto the main straight. There, right along the curbing, was a large puddle. For the first lap, David Francis took this turn nicely and at a decent clip. The second time around that water had been splashed well into the line and when Francis touched it, the car just went straight, and I mean straight into the wall. It was heartbreaking but we were all glad to see Francis unhurt —physically anyway — after the session. Mosty took first, with Martin in second and Sooknanan third.
For race four the AI crew decided to start behind the CMC group, making it a field invert, just to make things interesting. Holdway nabbed first, with McCormick in second and Reed third.
In CMC, it was a repeat of race three results and a very spectacular off by Daniel Records at the exit of the Carousel were the highlights. Mosty took first, followed by Martin in second and Sooknanan in third.