LEXINGTON, Ohio – The first day of racing is complete at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where SCCA Club Racing’s top drivers from the Northern Conference of the U.S. Majors Tour convened for the first half of a BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour doubleheader weekend.
Following Friday’s qualifying and overnight rain, the first race group for small Touring and Super Touring cars took the green flag on a slightly damp track at 8 a.m. Polesitter Eric Heinrich (No. 10 BFGoodrich Tires/2002racing.com BMW E30 M3) took the overall and STU lead, but had to hold back Touring 3 leader Chad Gilsinger’s all-wheel-drive No. 07 BFG/HPD/H&R/Recaro Acura TL SH-AWD early. Once the circuit developed a dry line, Heinrich sped off to a 10-second overall victory.
Gilsinger, meanwhile, was deep in a battle with T3 polesitter Kevin Boehm’s No. 95 BFGoodrich/Honda Performance Development Honda S2000 CR for the final laps of the 19-lap, 45.6-mile contest. In the end, Gilsinger took the .326-second win. In Super Touring Lite, John Schmitt kept his No. 13 Hoosier/Red Line Oil Honda Prelude out front all the way, despite the attempts of Andrew Salzano and his No. 25 HART/BFGoodrich/HPD Honda Civic Si.
Greg Vandersluis (No. 93 Carbotech/BFGoodrich Ford Mustang) won Touring 4 and Joel Lipperini took B-Spec in his No. 81 BFGoodrich/Honda/RaceLabz Honda Fit.
Group Two for Spec Racer Ford was all Scott Rettich. The Camden, Ohio driver started his No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Springboro Car Wash Spec Racer from the pole and led all 19 laps to take a 2.827-second win over second starting Jeff Beck’s No. 31 Lindell/Ryan Spec Racer.
Group Three will go down in history as resulting in what may be the longest delay in SCCA history at Mid-Ohio. Trent Hindman, of Asbury Park, N.J., led from the pole in his No. 41 Cirocco & Ozzimo/DFL Interiors Porsche 911 Cup in the GT-2 class, briefly ceding the overall lead to GT-1 polesitter Tom Smith (No. 62 USA Metal Recycling Chevrolet Camaro). After leading for three laps, Smith went off and needed to report to the pits to remove grass from his radiator opening.
Upon returning to the track, Smith’s ailing car was caught by Dick Greer’s No. 82 Wendy’s Chevrolet Corvette and the pair waged a fierce battle in the race’s final laps for the GT-1 class lead.
While they battled, Hindman sped away to his fourth U.S. Majors Tour win of 2013 by 23.795 seconds over Steve Jenkins.
On the final lap, Smith and Greer went side by side through the Esses, bumping several times. As the pair moved through Thunder Valley for the last time, they caught the Touring 2 Ford Mustang of Joel Hipp. Greer’s car suffered a mechanical issue at the most inopportune of times, and turned to the left into Hipp, taking both cars hard into the guard rail.
Neither driver was injured, but the effort to repair the walls was significant. Additional equipment was brought in, and the repairs lasted nearly six hours. The remaining four races were shortened to 19 laps or 30 minutes, whichever occurred first.