The Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors Tour Western Conference concluded Round Eight Sunday at Portland International Raceway, ending the season with close racing and the crowning of all yet-to-be-claimed championships.
Ten championships were decided on Saturday, but several remained down to the last lap of the last race in the 2013 Majors series. The weather in Portland was typical for this time of year cool and cloudy mornings with warm sun and light breezes in the afternoon.
The first race of the final round was Spec Racer Ford. In yesterday’s contest, second place Steve Fogg, of West Linn, Ore. was sidelined with a loose muffler, and Dan Halloran of Portland, Ore. was literally knocked out of third place by an off-course excursion over the curbs. Todd Harris of Portland, Ore. locked the conference title yesterday, and was first on grid today. Fogg and Halloran took up their accustomed second and third place spots at the start, but Harris was forced to pit on lap five with a loose spark plug wire. Fogg grabbed the lead and held it to the end, with Halloran finishing a strong second place and Chris Jackson of Vancouver, Wash. finishing third.
In the fast formula and sports racing group, Miles Jackson of Seattle once again claimed the overall and C Sports Racing win, followed by James Blackwell of Olalla, Wash. in Formula Atlantic. Blackwell was running second to Snake Livernash of Spanaway, Washington, but Livernash had a mechanical failure on the last lap and was flat-towed back to the pits after the race. TJ Fischer of Portland, Ore. took the win in Formula Mazda. Larry Vollum of Portland, Ore. won Formula B, Michael Manning of Dinuba, Calif. took Formula Continental honors, Mark Schue of Portland, Ore. claimed the Sports 2000 win, and Kevin Roggenbuck of Woodinville, Wash. won D Sports Racer.
Today’s wins locked the Western Conference championships for Jackson in C Sports Racer, Blackwell in Formula Atlantic, Vollum in Formula B, Manning in Formula Continental, Fischer in Formula Mazda, and for David Ferguson of Paso Robles, California in Sports 2000.
In the GT1-2-3, AS, T1, STL race, a rare qualifying event forced the stewards to study the GCR. Simon Gregg of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and Matt Crandall of Portland, Oregon turned in identical qualifying times of 1:11.916 in their GT-1 cars. Per the GCR, the qualifying positions were decided on the next-fastest lap, which awarded the pole position to Gregg.
All indicators were go for a knock-down, drag-out GT-1 race, but Crandall got ambitious at the starting line and failed to make the right turn into Portland’s well-known Festival Curves chicane. Forced to take the escape road, Crandall rejoined the field from the rear and made a brave run through the field, at one point narrowing the gap to just 1.5 seconds between himself and Gregg. However, Gregg had a bit in reserve and turned up the wick on his DerHaag Corvette and kept Crandall in second place.
“Judging by qualifying, Matt (Crandall) was very fast. We turned the same time. I think he had the potential to run right with me, but I got a lead and he couldn’t recover,” Gregg said.
In the other classes racing at the same time, Erich Joiner of Torrance, California won the GT2 race and the conference title. Collin Jackson of Langley, B.C. claimed the GT3 race win, but it was Dave Humphrey of Langley, B.C. who claimed the Western Conference GT3 title with a third-place finish. Will Hunholz of Tucson, Arizona won the Touring 1 race after favorite Michael Von Quilich of Pahrump, Nevada retired with a mechanical issue. Von Quilich did get a finish, which was enough to lock his conference title in T1.
In the smaller formula car race with Formula F and Formula Vee, Stan Townes of Santa Clara, Calif. again drove to a win over Dave Zurlinden of Carmel Valley, California.
The race of the day was in Formula Vee, however. With identical records up to this day, the Western Conference title in Formula Vee would go to either Dennis Andrade of Brush Prairie, Wash., or to Terran Swanson of Petaluma, Calif. The race between the two was epic, with the lead changing several times per lap. But at the last lap sign, the two Formula Vees came together in the Festival Curves, leaving both drivers by the side of the track as the race came to a close. Brian McCarthy of Sacramento, Calif. won the FV race, and a Chief Steward’s Action moved Swanson back three positions for avoidable contact. That action delivered the Western Conference title in Formula Vee to Andrade.
In the final race of the day for small bore sports cars, Stephen Epperly of Salem, Ore. was leading EP and the race overall when a flat tire forced a mid-race pit stop. Jess Heitman of Portland, Oregon took over the lead and won the race overall in his F Production Mazda Miata, while Sean Powers of Glendale, Ariz. cinched his FP Conference title with a third-place finish.
Gary Gist won the EP race and with it the Western Conference title in EP.
“I went off and filled the radiator with junk, but I made a quick pit stop and they blew it all out,” Gist said. “It was fast today.”
Spencer Gorham of Gresham, Ore won Touring 3, while Erin Ebelmesser of Vancouver, Wash. took Touring 4 honors. Joey Jordan of Del Mar, Calif. won the Spec Miata race and, with that victory, claimed the Western Conference title in the class as well. Jim Hargrove of Surrey, B.C. won GT-Lite and the Western Conference title in the class. Michael Cummings of Martinez, Calif. won the H Production race and the title.
These races conclude the Western Conference Majors series for 2013. The next stop for most of these drivers is the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in September at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
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Portland, Ore. – Provisional winners for Sunday’s SCCA Western Conference Majors Tour Round 8 at Portland International Raceway. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.
American Sedan: Dylan Olsen, Kelso, WA., Ford Mustang
C Sports Racing: Miles Jackson, Seattle WA., Stohr JFC
D Sports Racing: Kevin Roggenbuck, Woodinville, WA., West DSR
E Production: Gary Gist, Del Mar, CA., Mazda RX7
F Production: Jess Heitman, Portland, OR., Mazda Miata
H Production: Michael Cummings, Martinez, CA., Austin-Healey Sprite
Formula 1000: Larry Vollum, Portland, OR., Stohr F1000
Formula Atlantic: James Blackwell, Olalla, WA., Reynard 93H
Formula Continental: Michael Manning, Dinuba, CA., Van Diemen
Formula F: Stan Townes, Santa Clara, CA., Swift DB1
Formula Mazda:, TJ Fischer, Portland, OR., Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Brian McCarthy, Sacramento, CA., FV
GT-1: Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL., Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Erich Joiner, Torrance, CA., Porsche
GT-3: Collin Jackson, Langley B.C., Nissan 240SX
GT-L: Jim Hargrove, Surrey, B.C.., Honda Civic
Super Touring Lite: Joey Jordan, Del Mar, CA., Mazda Miata
Spec Miata: Joey Jordan, Del Mar, CA., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Steve Fogg, West Linn, OR., Spec Racer Ford
Sports 2000: Mark Schue, Portland, OR, Swift DB-5
Touring 1: Will Hunholz, Tucson, AZ., Ford Boss 302S