Phillips Among SCCA Western Winners

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Les Phillips won both the Formula F race (pictured) and the Formula Continental race Saturday during round three of the SCCA Western Conference Majors Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. (Dennis Baer Photo)
Les Phillips won both the Formula F race (pictured) and the Formula Continental race Saturday during round three of the SCCA Western Conference Majors Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. (Dennis Baer Photo)

BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. – Round three of the SCCA Western Conference Majors Tour crowned a host of winners on Saturday and set the stage for a Sunday showdown in the second half of the doubleheader.

The California desert provided the hottest Majors race in any Conference already in this young season, with temperatures stretching into the low 90s.

The first group played out in a battle of attrition. Mike Lewis’ No. 12 Goodyear/Cyclo/Redline Oil Jaguar XKR led early and in GT-1, but slowed dramatically on lap six of 15 before nursing his machine past the halfway point for a point-scoring finish. That left Tom Wickersham’s No. 02 Maine Straight Racing Porsche GT3 in the GT-2 and overall lead, cruising for a win.

Like the battle up front, the Touring 1 class was a battle at the midpoint that didn’t quite materialize. Michael Von Quilich’s No. 19 Apartments24-7.com/MyFreeLife.com Dodge Viper was being chased by Ken Davis’ No. 64 Davis Stone Inc Chevrolet Corvette until, with four to go, Davis fell out of the race. Von Quilich cruised to the victory.

Attrition also decided the E Production battle. John Longwell chased Aaron Downey’s No. 5 Roundpeg.com Mazda RX-3 while holding off the No. 50 K&G Racing Mazda RX-7 of Gary Gist early on. When both fell victim to mechanicals issues, Longwell’s No. 38 LEDfoot Motorsports BMW 328i was elevated to the lead, just in front of the No. 42 CureSarcoma.org/Electromotive/Fuel Safe/Hoosier Mazda RX-7 of new Western Conference point leader Philip Royle.

Former Spec Racer Ford National Champion John Black posted a noteworthy drive in his class. Starting at the rear of the 18-car field after failing to post a qualifying time in the morning session, Black worked his way through traffic in the No. 17 machine. A boost from a full course caution on lap nine moved him closer to the front, and when the dust settled he had moved into fifth place.

The class win went to Mike Miserendino, who took over the Western Conference point lead in the No. 11 MBI Racing SRF. Miserendino followed the No. 61 SRF of TJ Acker as the two broke away from the field, first from the green flag and then again after the yellow. Left alone, Miserendino moved to the front with two to go and held on for the win.

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