Mayer Dominates at V8 Barber, Cam Lawrence takes Sebring
Two time V8 StockCar GT-2 Champion Bob Mayer, who has had an up and down 2011, looked to get back in the hunt for a three-peat by winning at Barber Labor Day weekend. With Tropical Storm Lee bearing down on the gulf coast, a number of competitors decided not to make the trip. A small, but competitive group of V8 GTA and V8 GT2 racers took the gamble.
Mayer, driving his familiar bright yellow number 38 CrossRoads Motorsports prepped C6 Corvette, set a new standard for the V8 GT-2 class in qualifying with a fast 1:35.251 blast. Rob Leopard was second overall and second in class with a 1:39.489 in his C5 Corvette. Thomas Brooks mad it a sweep of the top three spots by V8 GT-2 Corvettes with a 1:40.319. Hayes Flynn took the V8 GTA top spot with a quick 1:40.480, followed by Steve McGowan, Robby Boyett, Bobby Reuse and Gene Copeland.
When the green waved for the Saturday race, Mayer made good use of the massive torque of his LS7 motor roaring out to a ten second overall lead in just the first few laps. At that point Mayer just put it on cruide control and let Rob Leopard and Thomas Brooks wage war for second in V8 GT2 and overall. Leopard and Brooks battled each other hard and traded the spot a couple of times, but at the end Leopard got the spot.
In V8 GTA, Charlotte NC racer McGowan led early with Boyett in second with Bobby Reuse and Gene Copeland in hot pursuit. Reuse got by Boyett in the Museum turn on lap four and then slipped by McGowan a lap later for the lead. Copeland began to fad a bit at that point, however the first three were covered by less than a second. On lap eleven McGowan got back by Reuse. Boyett was now charging back and on lap thirteen was side by side with Reuse for second at the start/finish. Boyett, however wasn’t able to make it stick and at the finish it was McGowan, Reuse, Boyette and Copeland.
Troprical Storm Lee was moving in on the area so the decision was made to have Saturday’s race count as double points and eliminate Sunday as a V8 points race.
Twenty cars started the weekend at the Sebring event with two casualties from the test day. Charles Wicht suffered engine problems in his new V8 GT-1 Corvette and Mark Strong had mechanical maladies with his V8 GT2 Panoz as well.
Qualifying went off on Saturday at 11:47 and in somewhat of a surprise Cameron Lawrence put the Regal Boats V8 GTA Impala on the pole with a fine 2:16.824
clocking with Richard Smith (V8 GT2) in his Miami Fast Lane RX7 second overall. Bob Borders was third overall in his V8 GT-1 Corvette, followed closely the the V8 GT-1 RX8 (Grand Am Spec) of Keith Goldin. V8 GT 2 points leader Bill McGavic was next in his tube frame RX7 just in front of Lee Arnold in his V8 GTA
Sunday Morning’s race went off at 8:47 under warm and dry conditions. Polesitter Cameron Lawrence led easily into one in the former Jay Marshall ride, that is still prepped by reknown Florida short track racer Mike Cope. Borders used the big power in his 'Vette to quickly get by Smith’s RX-7 with McGavic following just behind. Lee Arnold was on the move in his ex Reed Sorensen ASA Delco Series Target sponsored car. Newcomer Chad Jorgensen was starting to find his way around the famed 17 turn circuit in his ex ASA Series Olds Cutlass, running solidly in third in the V8 GTA class. Ernest Wilding in his BMW M3 and Tim Smith in his very cool 1967 Shelby GT 350 were battling for position in the V8 GT 2 class.
At the checker, Lawrence held a commanding overall and class lead, with Lee Arnold battling up through the field to take second overall and second in V8 GTA.
Bob Borders brought his Corvette home third overall and first in V8 GT-1. Richard Smith held off McGavic for the V8 GT2 honors, followed by Jorgensen, who garnered a third in V8 GTA with Bill Minnear fourth in the class. In V8 GT-2 Wilding got third with Tim Smith fourth in the Shelby.
The Sunday afternoon race commenced at 1:25 in the afternoon with Cam Lawrence again starting from the pole. Lawrence again led into one and began checking out on his closest pursuers. Richard Smith used the great brakes in his V8 GT2 RX7 to get by Bob Borders powerful Corvette in the hairpin for third overall. Smith’s advantage lasted only until the back straight where Borders, as expected shot by using all 800 HP in his SB2 mill. Border’s then set his sights on second overall running Lee Arnold in his V8 GTA Dodge Intrepid. On lap four, Borders again used his big power to drive by Arnold on the back straight.
Richard Smith had fallen back a bit into the grasp of Bill McGavic in his similar tube frame RX7. Smith had a bit of advantage in power, but McGavic car was working superbly and few are more capable than McGavic on the Sebring course he calls home.
The duo swapped positions several times before McGavic held the spot as Smith’s racer seemed to slow a bit.
At the checker, Lawrence had an eleven second advantage over Borders for the overall and V8 GTA wins, Borders had a similar advantage over third running LeeArnold. McGavic came home a strong fourth overall and first in V8 GT2 with Richard Smith fifth. Ernest Wilding brought his BMW to the checker sixth and third in V8 GT2.
The V8 Series thanks the Central Florida Region SCCA and its’ workers for another great job hosting the Sebring Event.
We are especially grateful to our partners for the help they provide, they are; SCCA, Porterfield Enterprises, LG Motorsports, Howe Racing, PitBoxes.com, GoPro, RaceTalkRadio.com, Sunoco, Hoosier, Goodyear, Mo’s Gold, FiveStar, RaceCar Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Roehrig-Enders, GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine, SafeRacer, Randy Lajoie
Next up for the V8 Group is Homestead with the Florida Region SCCA. Daytona overall winner Alex Gonzalez will head the line up in his fast Pancho Weaver built Camaro.