Another day of perfect weather provided the ideal setting for close and competitive racing Saturday at the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Fall Historics where five more feature race winners took to the top step of victory lane at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Clear and sunny skies returned to Road Atlanta for the second-straight day, but Friday’s cooler temperatures gave way to Saturday’s higher thermometer readings in the 80s and even hotter competition on the 2.54-mile Georgia road course.
The day’s featured Can-Am Mini Challenge Ed Spreen Cup race lived up to its pre-race hype with a thrilling finish that wasn’t decided until the last lap. Three different drivers stepped up to lead at least once in the final lap-and-a-half of the sprint race with Greg Wold prevailing for the victory in his 1964 No. 88 Morris Cooper S.
Both Wold and eventual second-place finisher Evan Gaston, in his 1964 No. 44 Austin Mini GT5, trailed race leader Andrew Nelson with less than two laps to go. After getting past Nelson’s 1965 No. 11 Fortech Mini just before the white flag, Gaston made a move on Wold to take the lead on the final race lap, setting the pass up in the uphill run out of Turn 1 and into Road Atlanta’s fast esses section.
A bobble by Gaston later in the lap put Wold back up front for the second and final time and he crossed the finish line for a 2.468 second margin of victory.
Third place fittingly went to the Team Spreen Racing (TSR) 1966 No. 12 Austin Cooper of Chris Kearney who took advantage of a last-lap issue for Nelson to steal the final podium spot. Kearney drove the same TSR Mini that Ed Spreen drove to the C Sedan National Championship in the SCCA Runoffs at Road Atlanta in 1970.
Another Saturday showcase race was the one-hour B.R.M. Chronographes Endurance Challenge race for Historic, Prototype and GT Modern (GTM) competitors.
The battle of the race was for overall and Prototype top-three honors between a trio of familiar teams and drivers that have all raced and won in HSR competition.
The victory was secured by the Matador Motorsports ex-ESM Tequila Patron 2016 No. 22 Ligier Nissan OR05 of Pierce Marshall and Eric Foss who won a B.R.M. race at Michelin Raceway for the third time since 2020.
Second place went to the Olthoff Racing 2007 No. 25 Oreca FLM09 co-driven by Larry Huang and John Edwards while Travis Engen solo drove to third in his equally ageless GMT Racing 2005 No. 2 Audi R8 LMP.
Alejandro Pimentel scored the B.R.M. GTM win in his 2018 No. 57 Porsche 991 GT3 but a pair of quick Porsche Cayman GT4 competitors kept the pressure on to the finish.
Second place in GTM went to brothers Paul Denton and Steve Denton in their 2016 No. 540 Porsche Cayman GT4 prepared by Denton Carden Racing. Drew Ewing and Chris Ferraro completed the all-Porsche GTM podium in third in their Fandango Racing 2016 No. 13 Porsche Cayman GT4.
Saturday’s additional race winners included Kenneth Greenberg, who took the B.R.M. Historic class victory in his 1996 No. 836 Porsche 993 RSR prepared by Air Power Racing, and HSR Classic RS Cup winner Mike Banz in his Heritage Motorsports 1974 No. 13 Porsche 911 RSR.
Sunday’s HSR Fall Historics schedule gets off to an early start with the one-hour B.R.M. Chronographes Endurance Challenge race for the Vintage and GT Classic (GTC) classes at 8:10 a.m. EDT. Sunday also features the second and final WeatherTech Sprint races for all Run Groups and concludes with the final Can-Am Mini Challenge race at 2:35 p.m. EDT.
Tickets for the HSR Fall Historics are available at the ticket and credentials building at Michelin Raceway which is located just inside the track’s main entrance.
• The Ed Spreen Cup memorial race pays tribute to its namesake who was a pioneering and legendary figure in the Mini racing community in North America. The Mini that Kearney drove to the third place showing Saturday was the same car that Spreen, who passed away in 2010, purchased from England in 1967 and brought to North America. The car was built for competition from a brand-new Austin Cooper S in 1966 and has been run exclusively as a race car for more than 55 years. A highlight victory was Spreen’s 1970 Runoffs triumph that organizers of the popular Can-Am Mini Challenge race planned to commemorate with the Ed Spreen Cup tribute race on the 50th anniversary of the victory in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans until this weekend, which also includes the final Can-Am Mini Challenge sprint to bring the curtain down on this year’s HSR Fall Historics on Sunday.
• Foss and Edwards are not the only two professional driver/coaches competing this weekend in the HSR Fall Historics. Local resident and Corvette Racing legend Johnny O’Connell went two-for-two on the weekend so far guest driving the Bill Heifner-owned ex-GT World Challenge 2011 No. 3 Cadillac CTS/VR. O’Connell backed up his win in Friday’s Stoner Car Care Global GT race with a WeatherTech Sprint race victory today in the No. 3 Cadillac he raced in its competition prime. Recently crowned Pirelli GT4 America co-Champion Eric Filgueiras is also in action this weekend co-driving with Angus Russell in his Amalfi Racing-prepared 2016 No. 15 Ligier JS/P3 LMP3 car.