Good news. It wasn’t hot at Sebring in June for a change. The bad news? It was raining.
With all Time Trial drivers’ eyes focused on their smartphones for weather reports, it became obvious that fast, dry laps might be possible early Saturday, if at all. Fortunately, the arrival of tropical storm Debby held off until just after lunch, providing two dry sessions before light rains hampered the best drivers’ efforts on R-comps. Knowing that times wouldn’t get quicker with a damp track, half the TT drivers chose the relative security of watching from covered pit stalls while the wet-driving shenanigans commenced on track.
Danny Sanzera in his Chevrolet Corvette beat Van Collier and his showroom-fresh 2013 Ford Mustang GT500 in TTR, while Bruce Bartos, Bill Steinhoff, and Eric Armstrong were the lone gunmen in TTU, TTA and TTB. Chi Ho in his Honda S2000 fought off competition from Detroit, Germany and Japan to take TTC, while Leo Duarte bested all TTD challengers in his Nissan 350Z. Rounding out the classes was TTE winner Steve Dewey in a BMW 318ti. Uncharacteristically, no track records were set in the dry sessions.
Forecasts were correct for a change Sunday morning, as drivers awoke to tropical storm Debby’s rainy weather, which lasted throughout the day, and resulted in conditions that were more appropriate for Florida’s second most popular vehicle, the airboat — the most popular being a Grand Marquis with a blinker on. Those without rain tires found themselves shuffled down the time sheets or incurring DQs for off-course excursions.
While solo TTB driver Eric Armstrong sported a set of Pep Boys radials on his Porsche Boxster, TTD drivers Victor Leo and Joshua Feingold changed to Hoosier wets on their shared Mazda Miata and elected to bump up to TTC with no other changes, handily finishing first and second, respectively. This left Luis Jimenez as the lone TTD driver on his BMW E36 M3’s daily-driver tires, while Ian Stewart wheeled an underpowered 1990 Toyota Celica ChumpCar on steamroller-width Hoosier wets to first place in TTE.
While drivers in TTU, TTB, TTC and TTE have mathematically locked up their respective championships, the TTR and TTD champions will be determined in October. The final NASA Florida event of 2012 will take place on October 6-7 at Sebring.