SEBRING, Fla. – The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour wrapped up a busy weekend of racing on Sunday at Sebring Int’l Raceway.
Hosted by the Central Florida Region, each of the seven race groups ran 14 lap or 35-minute races, whichever came first.
The Spec Miata class was up to its old tricks on Sunday at Sebring, running a thrilling 10-lap race that featured drama, heartbreak and some outstanding driving.
The opening stint of the race saw Preston Pardus, Tyler Gonzalez, Jim Drago and Michael Carter grow a gap from the rest of the 52-car field, but a full course caution came out on lap six to erase that gap. The fearsome foursome had already pulled away from the field on the restart, however, and looked poised to settle the podium amongst themselves.
Looking to set the pace as the laps wound down, Pardus, Gonzalez and Carter rode three-wide through turn one, with Carter on the inside and Gonzalez the middle. Pardus, out of room on the outside, and Gonzalez touched and pushed Carter off to the inside and into the guardrail.
Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata was there to pick up the pieces, ran past Gonzalez under the bridge and was next to Pardus entering the hairpin when both got onto the brakes.
“They were so bound up into the carousel that I got a really good run behind Tyler and Preston,” Drago said. “I didn’t want to push Tyler, so I had to go far left. When we got down into the hairpin, I was wide left and Preston was wide right and we were both looking in the mirrors to see where Tyler was and if he was going down the middle. We both went to close the gap and touched wheels and it pushed Preston off.”
A final yellow ended the race with Drago in front, Gonzalez second, and Elivan Goulart in third. Pardus collected himself after running into the grass, but finished fifth.
A five-car pack in Formula F and a two-car rock fight in Formula 500 opened Sunday morning at Sebring, with both races coming down to the last lap.
Four drivers led in Formula F, with Mac Clark’s No. 64 Britain West Motorsport Mygale SJ2013/Honda taking the top spot at the end. Saturday winner Dylan Christie, Maxwell Esterson and Rob Radmann also led laps, with David Livingston, Jr. in the mix, too.
“That was a crazy race,” Clark said. “We had a five-car train going, and that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
Teammates Russell Strate and Jack Walbran swapped the lead in Formula 500, with Walbran’s No. 67 Mitchell Racing Services Scorpion/Rotax coming out on top.
“We carried two cars to the end as close as we could be,” Walbran said after the race.
Central Florida Region and Runoffs paddock marshal extraordinaire Charlie Leonard knows every square inch of the grass and pavement at Sebring Int’l Raceway. He also knows the race track pretty well, apparently.
Leonard led flag-to-flag in GT-Lite, but spent the entire 14 laps of the race being pushed by Paul Mevoli in a Nissan Sentra. Leonard got the jump at the start and then fought his way around the track for a 0.632-second win in the No. 14 JB Racing/Goodyear Tires Nissan 200SX.
“I was lucky to get out in front of him,” Leonard said. “I think I may have cut him off at the start, but it wasn’t intentional. It was just a great race. The car handled really well the whole time. It was just amazing.”
In other action…
– Ken Kannard drove his No. 51 Northwest Cable Construction/Hoosier Racing Tire/G-Loc Brakes Mazda Miata to a win in F Production. Originally from Wisconsin, Kannard now lists Sebring as his hometown.
– Tim Kezman won the unofficial Fall-Line Motorsports duel in Touring 2 over Mark Boden. Kezman’s No. 144 Fall-Line Porsche 911 caught traffic at the right time to pull away near the finish.
– Brian Schofield’s No. 61 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford was more than two seconds ahead of second place at the finish for the SRF Gen 3 victory.
– Tray Ayres’ defense of the Prototype 2 National Championship began with a two-race sweep at Sebring in the No. 7 Mazda/Ayres Racing/Comprent Van Diemen ESR/Mazda.
– Hartley MacDonald swept the Formula X weekend in the No. 27 Florida RV Sales and Service Mazda MZR. The open-wheel class is a landing spot for a variety of cars. MacDonald’s is a pro-series USF2000 machine.
– Jonathan Start prevented Tim Kezman from a double win weekend, taking the GT-2 victory in the No. 151 Kalin Construction/Hoosier Dodge Viper.