Take American Iron, give racers the freedom to install as much horsepower and torque as they dare, and you get American Iron Extreme. However, as any racer knows, when you up the power, you increase the loads on all components — and the risk of failure.
No one knows that better than Brian Faessler, who was leading nearly half of the race when his left lower ball joint broke and he had to pull off track at Turn 10. That handed the lead to five-time AIX National Champion Chris Griswold, who was having problems of his own. His car was smoking in turns and at corner exit. Eventually, the tire gave out.
“I was real close to Brian (Faessler), and we were having a great race. It was probably the best AIX race I’ve been in,” Griswold said of his second-place finish. “He pulled off right at The Attitudes and the left hander out of The Attitudes, I felt a wiggle out of the rear. So right at the same time he had an issue, I almost looped it into the Tooele turn. Then I figured out how to manage it, which was very difficult. Every time I accelerated or decelerated, it wanted to spin. I had a hell of a time and with one lap to go the tire blew and I just couldn’t maintain the pace to stay ahead. That was the hardest race of my life.”
It was John Miksula who eventually got past him for his first AIX National Championship.
“We’re one of the only two naturally aspirated cars out there and we hung in there, decided to be reliable and took it to the finish,” said a breathless Miksula afterward. “It’s my first time at the track. We did tons of tire testing and blew up all sorts of tires and we finally got it right, and they lasted throughout the race. It feels awesome. I didn’t expect that.”
Griswold held onto his second-place spot, but not by much. As he limped his car around for the last lap, third-place finisher John Jung was coming on strong, and he finished just six seconds behind Griswold. Another quarter lap would have been all he needed to put Griswold behind him.
“It was a great week,” Jung said. “I’ve never been here before. We had a little bit of a learning curve with the tires and alignment but we got everything happy and brought home a podium.”