LEXINGTON, Ohio – The BFGoodrich Tires Mid-Ohio Super Tour at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, round three of the Northern Conference Majors Tour, ran eight groups of 30 minute sprint races on Saturday with sunshine beating down on SCCA competitors.
The day started with the conclusion of qualifying for the final three run groups, and then launched directly into racing on the 14-turn, 2.4-mile circuit. The timed races were run for full points and contingency prizes for the Northern Conference Championship.
Spec Racer Ford was all Scott Rettich’s show up front, as the Buckeye native took control from the pole on the opening lap and set sail for a flag-to-flag victory in the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Springboro Car Wash Spec Racer Ford.
Rettich’s fast pace on his home track spread out the field up front, with Jeff Beck’s No. 31 Lindell/Ryan SRF falling 21.399 seconds back by the finish of the 18 lap race. Even so, Beck was comfortably in front of Jim Gray’s third-place No. 1 machine for the race duration, who had a gap on the battle for fourth between Mark Greb (No. 00 Plaza Auto Auction, Inc. Spec Racer Ford) and Matt Gray (No. 64 Ryan Companies US Inc Spec Racer Ford).
Gray and Greb were elevated one step on the podium when Beck’s machine was disqualified for non-compliance following technical inspection.
Jim Drago left the Spec Miata field behind in a cloud of dust, marching his No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata to a 7.034-second win over 17 laps. The two-time defending National Champion started on pole and stayed there for the distance, leading a charge of 17 cars that ran lap times below the existing lap record.
Voytek Burdzy’s No. 41 Advanced Autosports Miata settled in second place behind Drago, and had pressure from behind out of a host of Miatas. Second-starting Justin Hille’s No. 48 Hilltrux/ROUSH Miata was the first to push Burdzy, but a mechanical issue and a spin on lap five, just prior to the entrance of the carousel, required a tow and ended his day.
Jonathan Davis’ No. 16 Miata avoided Hille, and tracked down Burdzy. The two were separated by less than a half second for the duration, but Davis was never in front and stayed in a satisfying third place.
Tim Kautz is a two time National Champion in Formula F, but that still doesn’t guarantee a regular season win. On Saturday at Mid-Ohio, it took all of the talent he and his No. 88 Braeburn/Two Dogg/Hoosier Piper DF3D/Honda could muster to snag the checkered flag.
Starting fifth, Kautz trailed the No. 4 Alpine Litho-Graphics/Farley Engines Piper DF-5 of Cliff Johnson for four laps before moving to the lead. Jeremy Grenier’s No. 12 Ski Motorsports/Hoosier Citation Formula F followed, and the two slowly worked away from the front of the field.
The two Honda-powered machines were nearly identically matched, with Kautz slightly faster through the quick turns, and Grenier slightly quicker through the slow corners. Kautz kept Grenier behind him in those corners, and when Grenier moved out of line down the back straight in an attempt to pass, the two cars could only go side by side under power. At the end of the time limit, Kautz and Grenier had completed 20 laps and were separated by just .238-second.
Michael Brent’s No. 47 Hoosier Tire/QRE Invader QC1 took the Formula 500 win, catching a break when his nearest rival encountered trouble. With TJ Shaughnessy tightening up the lead, a Formula F machine spun in turn one. Brent went by, but Shaughnessy measured his options between the spinning car and the bridge. With inches to spare on either side, he split the difference in his No. 17 Social Security/QRE/Hoosier Invader QC1 but ran off track and through the gravel trap. Shaughnessy continued in second, but too far back to challenge Brent for the win.
Michael Varacins ran away with the Formula Vee win in his No. 65 Speed Sport/Veetech/Hoosier Speed Sport AM-5.
A five car train dotted the landscape at Mid-Ohio early in the Touring 2 race, as the Corvettes and Porsches worked the track like Spec Miatas. At the end, John Buttermore had driven his No. 52 Hoosier/Carbotech/Stoptech Chevrolet Corvette to a class win. Buttermore had fallen back to fourth at the beginning of the race.
Starting to stretch his advantage over Aaron Quine’s No. 97 Hutter Performance/Stupid Fast Tires Chevrolet Corvette anyway, the pair caught a gaggle of cars into the carousel. Buttermore used it to his advantage, working through the slower classes and pulling away for the win.
Sage Marie led early in the No. 64 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Tires Acura TL SH-AWD, but going into the braking zone at the end of the backstretch, suddenly felt his pedal go all the way to the floor. When that happened, still in a straight line, the rear brakes locked up and pitched him sideways, allowing David Daughtery’s No. 05 Nissan/Hoosier/Carbotech/Enkei Nissan 370Z to get side by side through the esses.
The pair stayed neck and neck through the next several corners, but Marie just couldn’t keep up with the overheating brakes. Daugherty kept it in front, and hustled to the win.