Ground-pounding American pony cars converged at Autobahn Country Club for the fourth race weekend of the year in the NASA Midwest Camaro-Mustang Challenge series.
In Saturday qualifying, Kent Owens in his Pontiac Firebird won the pole with a 1:39.19, followed by Derek Wright in a Chevrolet Camaro with a 1:39.21, and Bob Denton in his Pontiac Firebird in third with a 1:39.58. Erik Sjoblom started fourth, with Tim Bennett, Bryan White, Greg Hampton and Joe Sullivan in the Team Road Rage car, bringing up the back of the pack.
Saturday’s race featured a standing start, but Denton was held when the cars were released from grid due to a miscommunication from the drivers meeting. Denton advanced two positions lickety-split, and then began to make his way through the field. Sullivan suffered brake failure in his Mustang and had to come in early. Hampton, who started seventh, also had to come in early due to a tire coming apart. The finishing order was Owens in first, Wright in second, with Denton having fought his way back up to third.
In qualifying Sunday, Owens won the pole with a 1:39.09, just .10 seconds quicker than Saturday’s time. Denton took second on the grid with Wright in third with a time of 1:39.99. The rest of the pack tightened up on Sunday, with quicker lap times throughout the starting grid. Erik Sjoblom started fourth again, with Bennett, White, Hampton, Dave Lowum, now driving for Team Road Rage, and Robert Salus at the rear.
If you smelled burning clutch that day, it’s because Sunday’s race also was a standing start. As the race progressed, the cars spread out to form three different battles for first through third, fourth through sixth, and seventh through ninth. Owens, Denton and Wright exchanged first place several times over the course of the race. Sjoblom, Bennett and White also went back and forth a few times during the race.
The final finishing order was Sjoblom in first, Bennett in second and Owens in third. Here’s why: Denton was DQ’d for at-fault contact with Owens. Wright was also DQ’d for punting Owens when he came into Turn 1 too hot.