The fourth race of the CMC season in the Rocky Mountain region took place at the newly reconfigured and paved 2.2-mile Pueblo Motorsports Park in Pueblo, Colo. Thirteen CMC racers fought it out for the class points lead, and even with the heat and wet conditions, they broke track records along the way. The favorite, Tommy Schlender, driving a Firebird, cut his teeth on this track and set the track record in 2010 in his AI car, but did not race in 2011. Cody Powell, the 2011 CMC RM champ, was out to gun down Schlender and ruin his weekend. As predicted, Schlender was fast qualifier with Powell in second. In the first race Saturday morning, Schlender easily took the checkered flag and set a new track record.
The second race Saturday afternoon was a different story. With winds and nasty storm clouds brewing, many racers, predicting a downpour, elected to put on unshaved Toyo rain tires. The cars’ grid positions were inverted, meaning that the fastest cars from the first race were in the back, with the slower cars out front, guaranteeing crazy passing. The track configuration between the last Turn 10 and Turn 1 is a drag strip, which was used the night before. When the flag dropped, 13 cars drag raced down the quarter-mile track and went three wide in Turn 1, with Schlender streaking toward the front. The hardest rain occurred at the start of the drag strip in Turn 10, but no one could know how slick it was. Coming around 10 and onto the drag strip, you have to cross the burn out area, which was as slick as grease. When the cars came around the turn, virtually all were sliding sideways with Schlender doing donuts down the track. Powell passed him and raced on for the win.
Race three on Sunday had Bryan Curtis winning and setting another track record, with Powell second and Schlender third. The fourth race had the three previous winners pitted against each other in an inverted start. Schlender had a strategy to beat the hard-charging Powell and record-breaking Curtis.
“I knew I needed an edge to beat them, so I did not add any gas so I would be super light,” Schlender said.
Curtis lost a power steering pump and belt early, and on the second-to-last lap, Schlender’s car, low on fuel, hesitated in Turn 7 allowing Powell to get around him. Perry Herrmann finished third.