BRASELTON, Ga. – With more than 300 cars on the entry list for the Sports Car Club of America’s BFGoodrich Tires Atlanta Super Tour, close races were a lock.
It happened, and what transpired on Saturday at Road Atlanta for round five of the Eastern Conference Majors Tour, in many classes, was the Club’s own version of March madness.
Timed 30-minute races were on the docket for eight race groups, comprised of 27 Runoffs-eligible classes.
The first race of the day was highlighted by a cat and mouse game between two very different cars, repeated in two groups.
Kurt Rezzetano started his No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Ford Racing/Hoosier/Hawk Performance Ford Mustang on the pole, and pulled an early gap overall and in Touring 2 on the No. 02 Trianon/Fall-Line Porsche 997 of Andrew Longe. The two raced around the 2.540-mile circuit, approximately 20 seconds apart, with the Mustang in control of the early stages.
Likewise, the No. 04 Fall-Line Motorsports/Hoosier/Rytec Doors BMW M3 of Rob May played the leader role in Touring 3, setting the pace in front of the No. 07 HPD/BFGoodrich Tires/Hondata Acura TL of Luke Wilwert in the early stages.
Both class leaders worked through traffic on a very busy track. Any chance the two trailing cars would have had to prove their late-race superiority went out the window on lap 13 with just over 10 minutes to go. A turn-five incident involving four cars (Richard Baldwin’s Touring 3 No. 22 Zorro Racing/BMI/BFGoodrich Nissan 350Z, Greg Schermer’s Touring 2 No. 149 Posh Racing Porsche GT3, Amy Mills’ No. 14 Flatout Motorsports Mazda Miata and Joseph Guinta’s No. 163 Povoledo Track Day Mazda Miata) brought out a full course caution, ending the race under extended clean-up.
Each driver emerged from the incident without significant injuries, though the hairiest moment came when Baldwin’s Nissan clipped the mechanically slowed Porsche and barrel-rolled to a stop and was hit by Mills’ Miata.
The small formula cars came up next, with each of the class winners earning their trophies on Saturday. Tim Kautz’ No. 88 Braeburn/Two Dogg/Hoosier/Euroquipe Piper DF-3D Honda fell behind early in the Formula F battle and also trailed Clint McMahan’s No. 2 Satellite Racing Nova KBS-01 Formula 500 overall.
Kautz, making his first appearance since being presented with the Presidents’ Cup at the SCCA Convention, had the class lead by the completion of lap one, however, and a gaggle of Formula F machines trailed. In clean air, however, Kautz methodically stretched a gap until the checkered flag. McMahan lost touch with the overall leaders when he spun on lap nine, but stayed in front of the Formula 500 class to win.
The Formula Vee race had a running order that was mixed up every lap. Early, Steven Davis (No. 80 Hoosier/Butler Engines/Roxannes Headers Racer’s Wedge SB-1), Donnie Isley (No. 30 Agitator By Brookshire Agitator 016), and Jonathan Weisheit (No. 61 JK Technologies, LLC JK Technologies XP-1) each taking a turn at the front early on. Isley, unfortunately, pulled his car-camouflage wrapped to pit lane on turn 10, temporarily leaving Davis and Weisheit alone on the track.
If you weren’t closely, watching, however, you may not have noticed, as two laps later Isley’s sister car, piloted by Laura Hayes, appeared seemingly out of nowhere and moved right to the front of the field down the front straight. The addition of the No. 22 Protoform P2 made the battle up front three-deep again, and became four strong when Charlie Rogers caught up in his No. 23 Akula Motorsports Protoform P2.
Davis pulled off and out of the race just a handful of laps from the end, and Rogers fell back, leaving the last three laps the domain of Hayes and Weisheit. Weisheit saw the one to go board in front, but Hayes moved around in turn one. The pair danced through the turn 10 complex at the end of the backstraight side-by-side, but Hayes reappeared under the bridge in front and completed the final corner for the come from behind win.
The Spec Racer Ford race was a four car battle featuring four of the top SRF drivers in the country. Brian Schofield started up front in the No. 61 PM Racing SRF, but Trey Ayres’ No. 7 Ayres Racing SRF, John Greene’s No. 29 Jacky Jones Lincoln/PM Racing machine, and Franklin Futrelle’s No. 36 Comprent MotorSports/Futrelle Performance Coaching sled each took a turn at the front.
Not even a full course caution in the middle of the race could separate the group, as they once again pulled away at the green. Continuing to swap positions, Schofield was on the point with one lap to go. While the three behind fought for second through the turn 10 complex, Schofield turned a mistake-free lap and snuck away for a three-car-length win. Greene, Ayres and Futrelle followed at the finish line.