SCCA Racers Claim Checkers At Palm Beach

Darryl Wills (1) ran right in front of teammate Stuart Rettie for the Formula Mazda win Saturday at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway. (Mark Weber Photo)
Darryl Wills (1) ran right in front of teammate Stuart Rettie for the Formula Mazda win Saturday at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway. (Mark Weber Photo)
Darryl Wills (1) ran right in front of teammate Stuart Rettie for the Formula Mazda win Saturday at Palm Beach Int’l Raceway. (Mark Weber Photo)

JUPITER, Fla. – A slight breeze blew away the rain clouds and sunny skies were the order of the day on Saturday at Palm Beach Int’l Raceway, home of Rounds three and four of the SCCA Eastern Conference Majors Tour.

Seven 30-minute timed races were on tap, each paying full points for Eastern Conference competition.

Group one opened the day with Robert Allaer reversing field on Chuck Moran from a week ago in Formula Continental. Moran came out on top twice at Sebring, but Allaer turned the tables in their rivalry with a win in the No. 52 LTD Motorsports Van Diemen RF00/Ford, with Moran’s No. 45 Ski Motorsports Van Dieman RF99/Ford coming second.

James Goughary, near his home town in Jupiter, Fla., grabbed the Formula F checkered flag at his home track with a dominating performance in the No. 72 Van Diemen RF-00/Honda.

Group two’s fendered cars featured two class wins by out of towners escaping the cold weather for Palm Beach. Andrew Longe, from Naples, Fla., was the overall winner and Touring 2 titlist in the No. 02 Trianon/Fall-Line Porsche 997, but Rob May (from Wadsworth, Ill., in the No. 4 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3) won in Touring 3 and Cliff Ira (from Kansas City, Mo., in the No. 36 Fira Motorsports Acura Integra) won Super Touring Lite, making their winter trips a success.

The action picked up again quickly after the lunch break. Simon Gregg won his third GT-1 race to open the season in the No. 59 Gregg Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, but Randy Kinsland and John Yarosz were locked in an early battle for GT-2 supremacy.

Yarosz’ No. 33 Hoosier/Phoenix Chevrolet Corvette led early, but Kinsland’s No. 4 Crossroad Motorsports Corvette moved in front coming out of the final corner and down the front straight to take the point going into Turn 1 on lap 10. Yarosz had fought his way back around on the next lap, and led exiting the final corner when the rear of his Corvette wiggled yet again.

That wiggle on the exit put a tire into the wet grass and shot him back across the track and hard into the front straight wall. Though his day was done, Yarosz climbed from the car safely. On the spin, however, Yarosz clipped Kinsland’s Corvette and flattened a tire. Kinsland came to pit lane the next time by to change the tire, but fell a lap down.

The race fell under full course caution for the tow truck to remove Yarosz’s machine, and ended under yellow with Joe Fitos’ No. 63 Joe’s Black Wallet Toyota Camry inheriting the GT-2 lead and win.

Spec Racer Ford was a repeat of both opening races at Sebring. Cliff White drove his No. 58 Cottage Senior Living SRF off into the distance, ahead of trouble for a flag to flag win – his third consecutive victory to open the season.

Behind him, however, there were no fewer than five drivers taking their turn in the runner-up position. Ian Tilbor (No. 82 Picture and Frame Industries SRF), Jim Grey (No. 17 SRF), Thomas Anspach (No. 14 Anspach Racing SRF), Todd Vanacore (No. 19 SEI Motorsports SRF), and Casey McKibben (No. 08 McKibben Motorsports SRF) all battled for the position and ran in second during the race.

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