V8 StockCar American Road Race of Champions race report

Cool, but mostly sunny conditions met the V8 StockCar Series racers as they descended on Road Atlanta for the 2010 version of the American Road Race of champions presented by GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine on November 5 & 6. While the V8 racers are always excited about competing at Road Atlanta and especially the ARRC, this year we were doing so with heavy hearts. This summer, the V8 Series lost one of its’ biggest supporters in Joe Mobley of Mo’s Gold. Joe lost his valiant battle with cancer. There never was a more enthusiastic supporter of auto racing in general and the V8 Series in particular. Joe & Trish were sponsors of the ARCA/Remax Series, Indy Lights, The Spears SouthWest Tour Series as well as V8StockCar.com. In addition the couple always found the means to help a few deserving up and coming racers as well. Joe Mobley was an outstanding ambassador for auto racing, and a great friend to so many. He will be greatly missed and the V8 Series is so honored to be associated with Joe and Trish and the Mo’s Gold family.

The racing in the V8 Series group was some of the best ever. New track records were set in three of the four V8 StockCar classes with many other racers running their personal bests this weekend. The competition for the win in each class was fierce and nothing less than a professional effort would get the job done. The battles in V8 GT2 and V8 SPO were especially fine with only a few car lengths seperating leader and challenger the entire race.

Many of the V8 racers showed for the thursday test day to get dialed in. Doug Wilson and his BMW M3, sitting in second place in GT2 points behind Bob Mayer and his C6 Vette, was running times some five seconds a lap faster than last year. Wilson was beginning to think he had something for the Corvette contingent, but unfortunately in the last practice session of the day, the oil pressure in the Bimmer went away, resulting in some ugly noises coming from under the hood. Wilson’s shot at redemption, after narrowly losing the 2009 class championship to Mayer, was suddenly gone.

Friday mornings qualifying session went off under clear skies, but with the temperature a cool fifty degrees. Dave Machavern
put the Heritage Motorsports Corvette on the GT-1 pole, with Gene Felton and Tim Lyons right behind him. Larry Hoopaugh
grabbed the V8 SPO pole with a fast 1:27.587 blast with Bob Mitten in his ex Tony Stewart Monte Carlo about one half
second back. Kurt Roehrig set a new V8 GTA record in qualifying with a sizzling 1:28.281 lap, eclipsing the mark set by
Bob Stretch. Virginia’s Rob Morris nabbed the second spot in V8 GTA, with Georgia’s Butch Kummer running a personal best for the third spot.

Our V8 GT2 cars took the track in another group on Friday and had two qualifying sessions with Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s
Jerry Onks grabbing the pole with a record run of 1:29.091 in his Z06 Corvette. Onk’s just did edge out 2009 V8 GT2 class champ Bob Mayer who clocked a 1:29.188, with SCCA STO Runoffs winner Dave Pintaric (Viper) third at 1:29.824 and Robert Finlayson fourth in his C6 Vette. Mayer started the weekend with a 144 to 122 point advantage over Ed Lewis for the 2010 GT2 class championship and needed only to complete half of the twenty laps in the race to ensure his second championship.

Friday afternoon, ARRC group 8 featuring the V8 Series GT1, V8 SPO & GTA classes took to the track for their 6 lap points
race. Simon Gregg in an (SPO) SCCA Trans Am car started from the pole alongside Machavern’s blue GT1 Corvette.
At the green Gregg led into turn one followed by ageless Gene Felton and Machavern. Gregg began to pull away from
Machavern at about one second per lap, however Machavern needed only to keep Felton, Tim Lyons and his Mustang and
Paige Monette behind him for the V8 StockCar class win. There was a tremendous race going on just behind Gregg and
Machavern between V8 SPO competitors Larry Hoopaugh and Bob Mitten. These two were running nose to tail every lap,
alternately breaking the class track record. In GTA, Kurt Roehrig started from the pole after his track record blast and was briefly passed by a flying Rob Morris, but Morris couldn’t keep up Roehrig’s blistering pace and soon faded. Starting from the back of the GTA group was class points leader Tom “Hollywood” Graham who had an off in qualifying that put him at the
disadvantage. Hollywood held a eight point advantage over Roehrig going into the race but left with a two point deficit after running out of brakes halfway through the event. At the checker Machavern easily took the GT1 class win ahead of Tim Lyons and Paige Monette, with Hoopaugh holding off the ever present Mitten for the V8 SPO top spot. Paul Breehne came home third in V8 SPO but lost ground to Hoopaugh for the points championship. The top four in GTA were Roehrig, Morris, Bobby Reuse and 2009 class champ Randy Walker.

Saturday’s ARRC feature races for the V8 racers started off with the Group 6 V8 GT2 contingent made up of SCCA STO, GT2, ITO types.
This affair would be for double V8 series points as the group elected not to hold the six lap sprint race. As mentioned earlier, points leader
Bob Mayer held a 22 point lead over Ed Lewis for the class championship and wanted to race Onks, Pintaric and Finlayson aggressively for the ARRC win, but knew he must also be mindful of the big picture and needed not to have a DNF and lose the championship. The hyperkinetic Mayer couldn’t stand it though and it was obvious from listening to him banter with crew chief Sam Power, he was going for the win. At the green, the amped up Mayer stood on it went for the big power shift from second to third, hitting fifth gear instead and instantly going from second place back to about sixth. Onks set sail with Pintaric and Finlayson in tow. An obviously “mad at himself” Mayer was now on fire clocking some of his fastest laps ever chasing the fleeing Onks. Mayer quickly moved back to second place past Pintaric and Finlayson, whose beautiful copper colored Corvette was now sounding a bit sick. For twenty laps Mayer valiantly chased the smooth driving Onks, closing to within a car length or so on several occasions, however by the last few laps Mayer had completely used up the tires and every ounce of energy he had. Mayer followed Onks across the finish line with Runoffs winner Pintaric third, Fast Eddie Lewis fourth and Barry Vincion fifth. V8 Series founder and president Lee Arnold watching from high above the front straight remarked simply, “these guys are good!” Mayer took home his second straight Mo’s Gold Championship ring, this one for himself, as he awarded last years ring to crew chief Power.

Nearly thirty stock cars and GT’s started the “really big noise” group 8 race. Jacksonville, Florida’s Simon Gregg in his Derhaag Motorsports Trans Am Series
Corvette and Dave Machavern in his Tommy Riggins built GT-1 Corvette started from the front row with Gene Felton and Larry Hoopaugh in row two.
Felton was wheeling his Chevy Nova that is somewat of a re-creation of his 70’ IMSA GT racer. The new version is actually all modern tube frame construction complete with an 800 horsepower mill versus the originals tub chassis and 500 horses. At the green Gregg jumped into the lead followed by Felton and Machavern. Hoopaugh and Mitten were leading the stock car contingent, with Mitten usually only inches off of Hoopaugh’s bumper. The two would stay that way for twenty tough laps. Paul Breehne battle Bob Monette in his Trans Am Camaro and Monette’s daughter Paige was right there in the thick of it as well.

Back in the GTA group, Roehrig was leading with Morris, Kummer and Walker valiantly trying to keep pace. Hollywood Graham was trying to battle his way
back to the front from his mid pack starting spot. Grant Leadbetter in his ex Nascar Cup car, Lee Arnold in his ex Boris Said ride and Dr. Ed Bull in his ARCA
car were running competitively in fourth, fifth and sixth in V8 SPO.

On lap three Kummer had an off course excursion which ended his day and two laps later Felton was gone with mechanical maladies. On lap fifteen, while running in the top three in GTA, Tony Amico had a tire go down ending his fine run. BJ Holley in his GTA also disappeared about the same time.

At the checker, Gregg had built up a twelve second lead over Machavern for the overall win. Machavern, however easily took the GT1 class and v8 SC win
as well as his third class season championship. Hoopaugh held off the relentless charge of Mitten for the V8 SPO win, with Paul Breehne coming home third. With his win, Hoopaugh repeated as the V8 SPO champ, again just edging out the hard running Breehne.

In V8 GTA, Kurt Roehrig lead the entire race, running a comfortable pace and finishing well ahead of Rob Morris and Randy Walker. With his win,
Roehrig took the V8 Series GTA championship. Roehrig won six races during the year as well as setting track records at VIR, Savannah Harbor, Roebling
and Road Atlanta.

The V8 Series wishes to thank the Atlanta Region SCCA, its’ workers and staff for another teriffic job putting this classic event on. Thier effort was truly professional.

The V8 series also thanks it partners who help make it all happen, and they are: ATL Region SCCA, GoPro, RaceTalkRadio.com, Sunoco, Hoosier, Goodyear, Mo’s Gold, Howe Racing, FiveStar, RaceCar Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Roehrig-Enders, GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine, Racing Limo’s, SaferRacer, Randy Lajoie, Hess Racing Products