2008 V8 STOCK CAR SEASON IN REVIEW
The V8 StockCar Road Racing Series’ 2008 season, its’ fifth anniversary, was an unqualified success story. Despite a serious economic slowdown and sky high fuel prices, V8 racers still found their way to track. Two venues, VIR and Daytona experienced their largest, most talented fields ever. All of the ten race weekends were well attended and with the best competition ever. Winning in any V8 StockCar class got a whole lot tougher in 2008, taking nothing less than a professional effort to get the job done.
Former Grand Am ChampionDave Machavern showed up to do battle in V8 GT-1 in his Tommy Riggins built C6 Corvette and quickly demonstrated he was going to be the man to beat. Machavern got two wins on the opening weekend at Sebring and never looked back enroute to seven more wins and the class championship. The Riggins Competition crew always had the Heritage Motorsports rocket ready to rumble enabling Machavern to set two new track records at Sebring and Daytona erasing standards set by fast guys Tony Ave and Jeff Emery. Daytona’s Ray Webb rode multiple podium finishes to second place in the points chase. Bill Riddell had two wins in 2008 in his ex Tommy Riggins Buick V8 GT-1 and will be back in 2009 in a brand new 1963 Ford Falcon racer. You’ll have to see it to believe it. Charles Wicht and Bill Smith converted their already super fast late model stock cars to V8 GT-1 configuration later in the year, garnering wins at Road Atlanta & Daytona (Wicht) and Roebling Road (Smith) the duo look to upset Machavern’s plans of repeating in 2009.
In the V8 GTA class, the action was hot-n-heavy, often with a dozen or so cars quick enough to challenge for a win. The championship went down to the wire at the ARRC with both points leader Tony Amico and Tom “Hollywood” Graham having problems yet Amico emerging the champ by just four points. Both Amico and Graham improved remarkably upon their 2007 performance with Tony taming his aggressive driving style just a bit, resulting in multiple wins and Graham seemingly getting faster in the car at every round. Other GTA drivers who were a force during the year were 2007 Champ Jay Marshall, Daytona winner Bob Stretch, Ron Fariss, Ron Keith, Bob Davis, Randy Gay, George Lutich, Roger and Bobby Reuse, Kenny Liesfeld and more. Nascar Nationwide series racer Scott Lagasse Jr made his first road racing start ever with V8 StockCar at Daytona in a V8 GTA. Scott showed he has the knack for turning right as well coming home second in his first weekend. Look for this class to be even more hotly contested in 2009.
In V8 SPO, the big story was the emergence of Paul Breehne Jr. Breehne, wheeling one of the few Ford powered entry’s, a Fusion prepped in the Riggins Competition shop, was improving at every outing and showed a remarkable ability to quickly get up to speed at tracks he had never seen before. Breehne garnered two wins at Sebring and also the ARRC at Road Atlanta, ultimately finishing second in the points race to Lee Arnold. Danny Foster used an ex Ganassi Racing Dodge to his advantage in 2008, running strong and taking his first win at Daytona no less. Former three time Nascar Dash series champ Larry Hoopaugh made his first start in the series also getting a win at Daytona. Hoopaugh’s steed was an ex ARCA car prepped by ARCA star Bob Schacht. Schacht himself competed at VIR and was fast in his new ARCA road racer, Bob will test the V8 SC waters again at the Winter Heat at PBIR and Sebring. Doug Sanders in his Baucom Motorsports prepared cup car picked up his second career series win in V8 SPO win, getting it done at the SIC at Roebling Road. In 2009 look for former Florida late model racer, Robert “Bubba” Longbottom to be a strong challenger for class wins. Longbottom picked up the super fast ex Scott Murphy road race late model chassis and has acquired a hot 18 degree Chevy small block to go with it. Also returning in 2009 will be road racing legend Gene Felton in one of his ex Nascar Cup cars. Felton, 72 years young set a new track record at Road Atlanta in 2008.Rich Koehler will bring out his fast super late model type racer in 2009. Koehler broke the VIR track record last year and was running away with the class win before suffering a late race accident. Scott Murphy will probably alternate between his fast V8 SPO stock car and his even faster V8 GT-1 Corvette. “Slideways” Murphy is crazy fast and entertaining every time he shows up.Bosco Logsdon and SqueaK Kennedy will again share their V8 SPO Monte Carlo while the build of their new V8 GT-2 Corvette is in progress.
In 2009, V8 StockCar will add the V8 GT-2 class for ex World Challenge cars, Koni Challenge racers, Grand Am GT cars and similar performing sports cars.Look for 2008 SCCA SE Division Champ Bob Mayer to be a front runner in his ex Scotty B White World Challenge C6 Corvette, as well as Tom Wilson in an ex Archer Brothers Viper, and Ed Lewis, Steve Epley , Henry Gilbert in Z06 'Vettes. Husband and wife racers Ed and Kim Braswell will be competitive in their World Challenge type Corvette’s whenever they show up, as well as IMSA and SCCA veteran Al Wicht in his ex World Challenge Camaro or his ultra reliable winged 5.0 Mustang.
The 2009 season will kick off with the “Winter Heat” at PBIR February 14 & 15 and then move to Sebring the following week. Racers from Vermont, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, Georgia and others as well as the Florida contingent will be on hand.
Come check out V8 StockCar in 2009, America’s favorite stock car and GT road racing series.