Paul Faessler kept his first-gen Mustang out front and clear of the wreckage to take the American Iron Extreme Championship.

It takes serious commitment to run in American Iron Extreme. Cubic inches and cubic dollars go a long way toward getting you on the podium. However, the car needs to hold together to be successful, and few racers have enjoyed more success in AIX than Paul Faessler, owner of Paul’s Automotive in Cincinnati.

Faessler had pole over Michael Naab in second and John Pattman in third. That was the entire AIX field, so everyone would be on the podium. The only question was in what position, which is why we run the race.

Faessler jumped out at the start in front of the melee. ST1 Driver David Greenman got an offset bump from behind at the green flag, which spun him into the inside wall and sent his car reeling onto the front straight, showering the tarmac with fluids and fragments.

That left the field to circle the track under caution for almost 20 minutes while crews cleared Greenman’s car and the resulting mess it made. Then, about 12 minutes after going green, the track went to full-course caution again for all but one lap, which was a green, white checkers — and that last lap was game-on.

Pattman’s car was ailing. He couldn’t keep up with the rest of the AIX pack, so he took third.

“We had a weak motor. We had a valvetrain issue and a cylinder issue, so we didn’t qualify yesterday,” Pattman said. “We started in the back of the AI field to avoid screwing up anybody else’s race. We just had to score a few laps to lock down third, so we did what we came to do, take third.”

Naab was 6 seconds off Faessler’s pace, so he brought home second place in AIX.

Michael Naab came home from Watkins Glen with second place in American Iron Extreme.
Michael Naab came home from Watkins Glen with second place in American Iron Extreme.

“I saw the wreck on the front stretch at the start and then right there at the end coming through 9, I was just hoping I made it through without anyone hitting me,” Naab said after the race. “It was just a gas game between me and Paul, if it went green, who made it longer on gas, but that didn’t come into play, thankfully.”

Faessler took the win, and after the race he was kind of shaking his head when he described the race.

No. 82 John Pattman’s engine was ailing for the AIX Championship race on Sunday. One of three entries in AIX, Pattman scored a third-place finish.
No. 82 John Pattman’s engine was ailing for the AIX Championship race on Sunday. One of three entries in AIX, Pattman scored a third-place finish.

“It was one of the craziest races I’ve ever seen. There were wrecks all over,” he said. “It was just keeping the car running and staying out of the wrecks. The Paul’s Automotive Engineering car ran great. Everything worked out awesome with the car, but it was a crazy race. I just tried to stay out of trouble, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

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Image courtesy of Tracktime Photos