– A light drizzle that slowly increased in intensity greeted racers in the back half of Saturday during the opening round of competition at the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour stop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
While the track started to dampen during the Group 6 race, which featured E Production and GT-Lite racecars, the rain really began to create chaos in Group 7 when the big GT-1, GT-2, GT-3, Touring 1 and American Sedan steeds hit the track. An early spinner kept the Group from receiving the green flag before being pulled into the pits for a long delay. Ultimately, the Group got only a few laps of green flag competition before being lined up behind the pace car to receive the checkered flag.
With the rain still coming down, F Production and H Production drivers made their way on course to start their race. The declining conditions caught out pole sitter Eric Prill who gingerly crept off track in his Mazda Miata at the first turn, handing the lead to Kevin Ruck in his Acura Integra. With only six minutes remaining in the event, Ruck gave up the lead to eventual winner Charlie Campbell in a Mazda Miata.
“Really, it was pretty treacherous out there,” Campbell said after the race. “But I got the start right and things just worked out for us in the race. I don’t mind the rain, so it really didn’t bother me.”
Things didn’t improve any for the open-cockpit pilots in Group 9 — consisting of Prototype 1, Prototype 2, Formula 1000, Formula Atlantic, Formula Continental, Formula Enterprise and Formula Mazda vessels — which suffered the same fate as the earlier Group 7 event and had very few laps under the green flag before queuing behind the pace car for a checkered flag.
But while the day’s later racers were mistreated by Mother Nature, some good racing indeed took place earlier Saturday. The Spec Miata challenge, which featured more than 50 cars, had an intense battle ultimately won by Justin Hille.
“The race was great,” Hille said sitting in his car after slipping off his helmet. “Michael Carter got ahead at the beginning, but seemed to be making a few mistakes I was waiting to capitalize on. I was finally able to get around him on the back straight, but I couldn’t create a gap. I ended up defending every lap because I knew if he got by I’d never be able to slip by again.”
Fingers are crossed for better weather Sunday during the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour competition from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where 23-lap or 35-min races are scheduled to begin at 8:40am Eastern Time. More information can be found at SCCA.com/majors
-American Sedan: Tom Sloe; Newbury, OH; Ford Mustang
-B-Spec: John Heinricy; Clarkston, MI; Chevrolet Sonic
-E Production: Joe Moser; Wilmette, IL; Honda Prelude
-F Production: Charlie Campbell; Corry, PA; Mazda Miata
-H Production: Jeremiah Reed; Cardington, OH; Volkswagen Rabbit GTI
-Formula 1000: Alex Mayer; Harleysville, PA; JDR
-Formula 500: Steven Thompson; Royal Oak, MI; T&R Fabricating TR1
-Formula Atlantic: Sedat Yelkin; Canfield, OH; Swift 008a
-Formula Continental: Nigel Saurino; Tulsa, OK; Van Diemen
-Formula Enterprise: Scott Rettich; Columbus, OH; Formula Enterprise
-Formula F: Hans Saurino; Tulsa, OK; Van Diemen FF
-Formula Mazda: Jarret Voorhies; Kissimmee, FL; Formula Mazda
-Formula Vee: Gary Blanarik; Baden, PA; Silver Bullet
-GT-1: Dave Ruehlow; Hartland, WI; Chevrolet Corvette
-GT-2: Trent Hindman; Wayside, NJ; BMW E46 M3
-GT-3: Chad Bacon; Kingsport, TN; Toyota Celica
-GT-Lite: Steve Sargis; Frankfort, IL; Triumph Spitfire
-Prototype 1: Tim Day Jr.; Scottsdale, AZ; Stohr WF-1
-Prototype 2: Greg Gyann; Willowbrook, IL; Stohr WF1
-Spec Miata: Justin Hille; Canfield, OH; Spec Miata
-Spec Racer Ford 3: John Black; Olympic Valley, CA; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
-Spec Racer Ford: Matthew Harper; Charlotte, NC; Spec Racer Ford
-Super Touring Lite: John Schmitt; Sunbury, OH; Honda Prelude
-Super Touring Under: Max Gee; Mansfield, OH; Honda Prelude
-Touring 1: Mark Boden; Buffalo Grove, IL; BMW M3
-Touring 2: Michael Lavigne; Hooksett, NH; Ford Mustang GT
-Touring 3: Chad Gilsinger; Marysville, OH; Acura TL SH-AWD
-Touring 4: Ryan Kowalewski; Indianapolis, IN; Mazda MX-5
Photo: Justin Hille on his way to a hard-fought win in Spec Miata on first day of competition at the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour at Mid-Ohio
Photo Credit: Shaun Lumley