The Northern Conference Majors Tour season took yet another step closer to completion on Sunday at GingerMan Raceway, ticking off yet another point scoring day on the way to crowning 28 class champions. After a season that started in January with the Eastern and Western Conference, only a joint event between the Northern and Mid-States Conferences remain on the U.S. Majors Tour schedule.
The action on Sunday climbed as high as the temperatures, which approached 90 degrees under humid, sunny skies at the West Michigan track.
Jeff Beck opened Sunday with the best drive of the weekend after showing up late to the grid in the No. 31 Lindell/Ryan Spec Racer Ford.
Beck missed the call to the grid, pulled onto the track from pit lane after the field went by at the green flag, then set his sights on the front of the field. The multi-colored car carved up the back of the field until he caught the battle for third place between the No. 6 Elite Autosport/OakBrook Investments SRF, the No. 7 Flat Black Racing machine of Saturday winner Adam Gottlieb, and the No. 71 Plaza Auto Auction of Mark Greb on lap eight.
With Beck in their mirrors and the battle raging, Gottlieb spun and scattered Greb – where the two actually made contact – letting Beck into the fourth position. He moved around Jankovskis on the next lap between turns two and three, and still had 11 laps to make up the eight seconds between him and the leaders. Running 1.6 seconds per lap quicker around the 2.14-mile circuit, Beck closed the gap quickly and used an outbraking maneuver into Turn 11 to go around Steve Kohli’s No. 52 machine for second.
Still over a second behind then-leader Rick Bartuska, Beck closed the final gap in a hurry. On lap 16, Beck and Bartuska’s No. 15 M/K Industries SRF exited turn three side by side, and Beck pulled into the lead as the pair went through the left-handed turn five. From there, Beck held the pace to the stripe, with Bartuska second.
Gottlieb recovered from his spin to track down Kohli for third going into turn 11, just before taking the one lap to go sign.
Group Two featured a field of repeat winners on Sunday, beginning with Tom Sloe walking away from the field in the No. 97 Hutter Racing Eng/Hoosier/Russell Auto Center Chevrolet Corvette for a Touring 2 victory. The battle behind him for second was anything but easy, however, as the No. 33 Chevrolet Perf/TPR/BackStreet Perf/SKF Chevrolet Camaro of Todd Napieralski ran down the No. 00 Trianon Porsche 911 of Andrew Longe on lap 18.
Napieralski moved briefly in front of Longe as the two split a Spec Miata coming out of the turn five and six complex on lap 18, but Longe reclaimed the position on the same lap. Without the help of traffic, Napieralski made the pass stick in the same spot on the very next lap, moving into the position for good.
Defending Super Touring Under National Champion Raymond Huffmaster drove his No. 07 Hoosier/VirSec Virtual Security Pontiac Solstice to a weekend sweep, as did Aaron Kaplan in Touring 3 behind the wheel of the No. 18 Kaplan Racing Systems BMW M3. Greg Vandersluis, driving the Touring 4 Carbotech/BFGoodrich/Ford Racing/Vandersluis Motorsports Ford Mustang, and Voytek Burdzy’s No. 41 Advanced Autosports Mazda Miata in Spec Miata also earned maximum Northern Conference Majors points during the weekend.
Kevin Ruck’s F Production No. 3 Hoosier/Honda/Cobalt Acura Integra extended a somewhat dubious streak at GingerMan. In each of his last three Majors appearances, Ruck has experienced a gremlin that has resulted in a flat tire to end one day of his doubleheader, but has earned a win in the opposite race. Ruck’s bad day came during Saturday’s race, but the former National Champ solved the problem on Saturday evening and turned up the wick for an overall win on Sunday.
John Schmitt swept the weekend in Super Touring Lite behind the wheel of his No. 13 Honda Prelude; Joel Hipp’s No. 86 Austin Mini was a two-time winner in GT-Lite.
James Weida reversed yesterday’s Formula 500 battle, walking away from the field and Saturday’s winner Brian Brothers in the No. 22 Weida Apartments/Formula X-1 Scorpion W1/Rotax.
For the second straight day, Michael Varacins made the normally close Formula Vee field look like it had been left behind, taking a 24-second victory in his No. 65 Speed Sport/Veetech/Hoosier Speed Sport AM-5/VW. Varacins total gap for the weekend was an impressive 41 seconds over the field.
John Buttermore’s No. 52 Hoosier/Carbotech/StopTech Chevrolet Corvette slowed from the lead in Saturday’s race, but ran perfectly to a 39.303-second win on Sunday in Touring 1. Buttermore was followed to the finish overall by GT-2 winner Tom Patton’s No. 50 Red Line Oil/Hoosier Sunbeam Tiger and GT-3 winner Joe Kristensen’s No. 4 Acura RSX.
Andy McDermid’s No. 24 WeatherTech/Felice Perf Eng/T&A Shocks Ford Mustang trailed the No. 38 Engines by JB Chevrolet Camaro of Thomas Toth early, but moved into the lead with a pass in turn seven on the third of 21 laps. Any chance Toth had of chasing McDermid down evaporated just two corners later when the Camaro spun to the inside on the left-handed turn nine. Toth continued to finish second, but well behind McDermid.
Jason Vinkemulder’s No. 10 Vinkemulder Financial Formula Mazda swept the weekend in his class, lapping his competitors in the weekend’s final group. Brian Hall’s D Sports Racing No. 69 Audi/Hoffman Estates Stohr WF-1 took the group’s overall win after finishing second a day prior.
The Northern Conference Majors Tour wraps its season in a joint event with the Mid-States Conference at Gateway Motorsports Park, Aug. 3-4. Run together, points will count in each conference.
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SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. – Provisional race winners from Sunday’s SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour races at GingerMan Raceway. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.
American Sedan: Andy McDermid, Howell, Mich., Ford Mustang
C Sports Racing: Jacek Mucha, Laval, Quebec, JMS016cp/Mazda
D Sports Racing: Brian Hall, Spring Grove, Ill., Stohr WF1/Audi
E Production: Lance Loughman, Lake Zurich, Ill., Datsun 240Z
F Production: Kevin Ruck, Delaware, Ohio, Acura Integra
H Production: Aaron Johnson, Martinsville, Ind., Triumph Spitfire
Formula 500: James Weida, West Lafayette, Ind., Scorpion W-1/Rotax
Formula 1000: Nicho Vardis, Sylvan Lake, Mich., RFR F1000/Suzuki
Formula Atlantic: Charles Duncan, Broomfield, Colo., Swift 016A/Mazda
Formula Continental: Thomas Gaffney, Birmingham, Mich., Reynard SF-88/Ford
Formula Enterprises: Reece Everard, Rochester, Mich., Formula Enterprises/Mazda
Formula Mazda: Jason Vinkemulder, Spring Lake, Mich., Formula Mazda
Formula F: Michael Green, Dayton, Ohio, Piper DF-2
Formula Vee: Michael Varacins, Burlington, Wis., Speed-Sport AM-5/VW
GT-1: Dick Greer, Columbus, Ohio, Porsche 911
GT-2: Tom Patton, Hamilton, Ohio, Sunbeam Tiger
GT-3: Joe Kristensen, London, Ont., Acura RSX
GT-Lite: Joel Hipp, Norwalk, Ohio, Austin Mini
Spec Miata: Voytek Burdzy, Shiller Park, Ill., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Jeff Beck, Ingleside, Ill., Spec Racer Ford
Sports 2000: Tony Sleath, Dearborn, Mich., Carbir CS2-A2
Super Touring Lite: John Schmitt, Sunbury, Ohio, Honda Prelude
Super Touring Under: Raymond Huffmaster, Clarkston, Mich., Pontiac Solstice GXP
Touring 1: John Buttermore, Wixom, Mich., Chevrolet Corvette
Touring 2: Tom Sloe, Newbury, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette
Touring 3: Aaron Kaplan, Evanston, Ill., BMW M3
Touring 4: Greg Vandersluis, North Olmsted, Ohio, Ford Mustang