SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. – Though the sun never quite poked through and light showers fell intermittently through the afternoon, seven race groups ran 30-minute timed races on Saturday at GingerMan Raceway for round seven of the SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour.
The day began with qualifying for each of the Runoffs-eligible classes and drivers in attendance, giving way to an afternoon of racing.
The afternoon of racing opened with the Production category, along with B-Spec, with Joe Moser pulling his No. 63 Hoosier/King Motorsports/Moser Racing Honda Prelude away from the field for a flag-to-flag win. Moser pushed his orange Honda through traffic with a right rear tire locking up under braking, which got especially treacherous with two laps to go when a light rain started to fall. Moser kept control to the end.
Michael Sturm’s F Production win came following a battle with the Walker family. Joe Walker’s No. 5 Walker Racing Lotus Super 7 went around Sturm’s No. 48 Sturminator Design/Hoosier Mazda Miata on lap 12 for the lead after starting near the rear of the field. Walker abandoned the lead and pulled to pit lane just three laps later with a stuck throttle.
Sturm thought he was in the clear at that point, then suddenly discovered the No. 9 Walker Racing MG B driven by John Walker, Joe’s son, in his mirrors. Back in race mode, Sturm picked up his pace, and the younger Walker tried to go to the outside of a turn for a pass. Walker ran off course and ended his day three laps from the checkers, and Sturm finally had his win.
Defending H Production National Champion Lawrence Loshak’s brand new race car made its debut this weekend at GingerMan, and it now has a perfect record after one race. While Loshak admitted the No. 1 ETE Reman/HYPERformance/RWM/Hoosier Honda CRX wasn’t flawless, it was good enough to walk away with the class win. John Heinricy’s No. 37 Matlick Chevrolet/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Sonic used traffic to ease away for the B-Spec win, despite the slickness at the finish and the rain causing his front windshield to start to fog up.
Fabio Castellani won overall in the wings and things group, taking Formula Atlantic on a track that started wet and slippery. Drying out as the race went on, Castellani worked his No. 97 Hoosier/ABRO/Pro-One Swift 014/Toyota through the lapped field and ticked off fast laps to the finish. Tyler Thielmann’s No. 6 SO Bright LLC JDR-012 and John Gyann’s No. 47 Gycor International Stohr WF1 finished second and fourth overall for class wins in Formula 1000 and Prototype 1, respectively.
The closest battle of the race came in Formula Mazda, where Dale VandenBush had a year’s worth of racing incidents condensed to the 30-minute race in his No. 12 Lake Effect Motorsports Formula Mazda. VandenBush had built an eight second lead early on, but saw that evaporate when he ran off track through turn two, and made contact with a Formula Enterprises machine in a separate incident trying to go by.
With VandenBush’s radiator screen covered in grass, Jason Vinkemulder’s No. 10 Vinkemulder Financial Formula Mazda closed to his gearbox. Though Vinkemulder hounded him for several laps and with VandenBush’s temperatures starting to climb, he could not find a way by, and VandenBush still was able to celebrate a win.
Scott Rettich, already leading the Formula Enterprises race by several seconds after he started on rain tires, got radio communication to back off and save the tires on his No. 17 Alliance Autosport/PDI Communications Formula Enterprises machine. Rettich gave the ok, then turned his fastest lap of the race on lap 13 to seal the win. As the track dried, Rettich slid down the overall charts, but kept his FE win by more than 40 seconds.
The Spec Miata race went to a full course caution on lap six, with Voytek Burdzy’s No. 41 Advanced Autosports Mazda Miata leading Michael Novak’s No. 9 Roush/Caldwell Race Prep Miata and the No. 68 Dynomax Exhaust Miata of David Bednarz third.
Both Novak and Bednarz pushed hard on the first lap after the restart, with Bednarz going hard in the braking zone for turn one just after the first full lap. Bednarz didn’t get by, but the three were the fastest cars on course.
Novak was the leader as the field saw the one to go board. As they raced through turn 10, Novak and Burdzy touched, disrupting Novak’s rhythm as he tried to stay in the lead. The two raced down the back straight to the final corner and back to the checkered flag with Bednarz in tow and also looking for a way to the front. Following the drag race to the three-wide finish, Burdzy stayed in front by 0.098-second, with Bednarz in third and only .193-second (about half a car length) behind.