Springtime Coneage - Event #3 Recap
Springtime Coneage – Event #3 certainly lived up to its name. With at least 474 cones hit (results do not show cones on DNF runs), corner workers got a good workout at our third event. With 148 drivers that cone count averages 3.2 cones per driver, and a cone being hit on more than half the runs. We’ll look at more at the cone stats, point fingers, and name names later.
The day was one of those sometimes overcast, sometimes sunny types that have you looking for a jacket on minute and shorts the next. Nate Whipple’s course featured a fair amount of sweepers and three nicely spaced slaloms. An element that crossed the runway from right to left seemed to be one of those tire killing, grind it out, slow in, slow out maneuvers during course walks, but enough room was left before and after the element to allow for proper set-up and exiting, giving a deceptively quick element for those that did it right.
With another great turnout, we were able to divide the event into three heats. Drivers were asked to park their cars after their 3rd run and report to work. Because almost no one was late, op stewards were able to keep things rolling with little or no downtime between heats. In fact, there were heats where the last car of the heat was followed immediately by the first car of the next heat. This lack of down time allowed for 6 runs for every driver and the last car finishing around 5:15.
Comparing the names in the Novice class from the first two events with the open classes shows that quite a few have ‘graduated’ to open classes. But this hasn’t showed in the attendance numbers as the Novice class was again the largest class at the event with 26 entries. Thomas Soja, driving an HS Mini, took the lead on his fourth run of the day with a 67.601 (Factored to a 54.013), then on his sixth run, dropped down to a 67.428 (53.875). A good thing he did as, running in a later heat, Tristan deBarros put a hard charge on in his DS WRX, coming in on his last run with a 65.766 (53.993) a mere .118 behind the leader. Michael Caporello, Derek White, Anthony Chan, Ben Yeskey, and Robert Dionne rounded out the trophy list.
At the other end of the experience spectrum were 19 people running in Pro Class. Nick Barbato set the time to beat in his RUFocused.com Honda S2000CR with a third run 54.826 (BS Factor to a 46.218.) No one could match that on the first runs of the afternoon, but on Run 5 Eric Chiang drove into first with a 55.247 (ES - 45.744.) Coming down to last runs, Barbato knew he need to cut over half a second to catch Chiang and cut just enough, running a 54.177 (45.671), taking the win by a factored .073.
It came down to last runs in ES as well and the last name also remained the same. Joe Barbato held a narrow 2 tenths lead in his 1995 Miata going into the afternoon runs. He saw that disappear as John W. England drove his bgfindashop.com 1995 Miata to a 57.444 on his fourth run, then increased his lead on the fifth run with a 56.811. Barbato kept pace with a 57.180 on his fifth run, then took the lead on his last run with a 56.632. England had a chance to take both the win and narrowest margin of victory on his last run, but his 56.622 was marred by a cone.
BSP has been the John Rappa and Marc Monnar show this year with Monnar taking close wins over co-driver Rappa in the first two events. Monnar looked primed for three in a row as he led in the RX-8 after morning runs. But Rappa cut the lead by a tenth on his fourth run and took a .399 lead on the strength of a 55.036 on his fifth run.
Co-drivers Kenneth Johnson and Andrew Barrette, driving the greenwichfloristct.com / Big-E Motorsports Subaru WRX, didn’t wait until 6th runs to put down their fast times of the day. Johnson put down a 58.883 on his third run besting Barrette’s 58.933 to take the lead into the afternoon runs. Both Johnson and Barrette ran faster scratch times on each of their first runs, and either would have been enough for the lead if clean. Neither could get back into the 58’s, giving the .042 win (and smallest margin of victory at the event) to Johnson.
Super Street Modifed – about the only Open class where one might see a Miata, CRX, Lotus Elise and Corvette Z06 competing head to head and competitively. Don Kuehl’s CRX has monster horsepower, enough to power a stock Si, DX, and a handful of HF’s. So it is no surprise that he held the lead after the first set of runs and extended it on his fifth run with a 56.051. While Kuehl’s morning run was enough to win, Bill Salie, another purveyor of horsepower in the Z06, charged hard into second place with a 56.583 on his last run, nipping Gus Heck’s 56.643 in the Lotus. Oh and the Miata - that would be Mathew Nieman, running a 57.092 to take the last trophy spot.
Street Touring Compact or Spec Touring Civic – you pick what STC really stands for. But before you decide, take a look at the STC grid from this event where all three cars (for five drivers) were Civics from the same generation. Of course, you could also look at the results and decide that the ‘C’ stands for cones as only one driver had more clean runs than dirty runs. Roger Whipple led the cone counts with 10 while Chang Ho Kim was close behind with 8. But it was Kim that triumphed in time as he drove his FunHondas Civic to a win with a 58.320 on his fifth run, taking the lead from co-driver Rachel Baker who had jumped into the lead with an afternoon opening run of 58.734.
The battle in STX is heating up and will probably be a staple on these pages. Dave Gott, in the Tulley BMW 330ci had won the first two events and, with the rest of the field shuffling positions behind him, held an 8 point lead going into the third event. Gott’s co-driver, Derek Sivret led after the morning runs on the strength of a 57.806, a half second ahead of his co-driver. Despite putting cone marks on the RX-8 on all three runs, Jeff Anderson was in third with a 56.907 run that had a cone on it. Gott wasted no time going into the lead, besting his co-driver by .020 on his fourth run. Anderson backed up his dirty raw times with a class winning 57.068 on his third run, a time that no one could match clean or dirty. That .020 was important for Gott as it allowed him to maintain his lead in class standings. Going into the National Tour the (unofficial) standings are Gott (24 points), Anderson (16) and Sivret (14) in the top three spots. With the National Tour coming up, it’s still anyone’s game.
Finally, more on the cones. With 19 entries, you would expect Pro class to have a lot of cones, especially since the Pro’s are the ones that tend to be the closest to them. With a total of 105 cones recorded, they certainly get the Top Cone Count of Day award. And with 114 runs taken, you would think that they get the prize for most cones per run, scoring .95 cones for every run. But not so fast. A look at the results shows that both DS, with three drivers and 18 cones and STC with 5 drivers and 30 cones both getting the Top Factored Cone count of the day, averaging 1 cone per run. Finally, the Cone King award goes to Allen Parker. Parker, it seems, couldn’t get used to the fact that an SSM CRX has much wider tires than a GS CRX, picking up a whopping 17 cones over the day. Apparently he must have heard that he was in second place in the overall count before his last run, as he nailed 7 of them just to make sure of his ‘win.’
Check out more event videos at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFF0B230117BB6CD8