Historically, the Crane Cams V8 Series visits Daytona International in August when temps can top 100 degrees. This year, the series scheduled Daytona in early May with the Central Florida Region SCCA looking for a “little” reprieve from the heat. The result…It was still HOT. The track surface was around 150 degrees, but the racers were willing and the outstanding competition just added to the heat.
The heat, however, didn’t seem to bother Simon Gregg and the Derhaag Motosports “machine”, as they once again grabbed the overall and Porterfield Enterprises V8 GT-1 pole on Saturday morning. Gregg’s, Jim Derhaag built Corvette has been freakishly reliable, with fifty nine straight races without a DNF coming into the weekend. They would leave with two more. The father and son team of Kenny and Jordan Bupp are always a threat wherever they show up and this weekend would not be any different. Kenny, a veteran of many IMSA Camel GT and Trans Am wars was in his trusty Riley & Scott chassis Camaro and Jordan was piloting his Hoerr chassis Corvette. Kenny took the second overall spot in qualifying with a 1:51.794 clocking on a very slick track. Jordan slotted in third in the Hamilton Safe/Horsepower Sales Corvette with Bob Borders taking the fourth spot in his Corvette.
Former Nascar Goody’s Dash champ Larry Hoopaugh grabbed the fifth overall spot and tops in the PitBoxes.com V8 SPO class. New Smyrna Beach, Florida’s Ron Stanley grabbed the second spot in the class in his ex Nascar Cup Dodge Charger. V8 GT-1 drivers Tom Keleher and Charles Wicht nailed down the next two slots. Wicht lost an SB2 Chevy motor in the process and would spend the rest of the weekend thrashing to get ready for Sunday afternoon’s final.
Keith Goldin was tops in the LG Motorsports V8 GT2 Class in the Goldin Brothers Racing Mazda RX8. The car is a former Grand Am Rolex GT entry that has competed in several Rolex 24 Hour races. Ernest Wilding grabbed the second spot in his BMW M3 with Sid Collins third.
Three veterans of the short track stock car racing world grabbed the top three spots in V8 GTA with Alabama’s Roger Reuse and brother Bobby taking 1st and 2nd with Ricky Sanders, son of Georgia racing legend Ronnie Sanders slotting in third. In his best qualifying effort at Daytona, Hall Robertson nailed the fourth spot. Former track record holder Butch Kummer had some mechanical gremlins that kept him from challenging for the pole.
The green dropped on the field at 2:24 on Saturday with Gregg holding off the Bupp’s into turn one…but barely. Jordan slipped by dad Kenny and went hunting the smooth driving Gregg. The trio ran within a few car length’s for the first few laps when Jordan began suffering a double whammy, a loss of rear brakes and blistered rubber. Kenny Bupp moved past Jordan and valiantly gave chase to the fleeing Gregg. Kenny Bupp, at 75 years young still has the physical endurance, skill, determination and maybe more importantly, the racecraft to deal with racers less than half his age. The elder Bupp finished on the podium at the SCCA Trans Am race at Road America in 2010 and this weekend put everyone on notice that he can still get it done.
Back in the field, Larry Hoopaugh was charging up from his last place starting spot as result of being late to the grid. Hoopaugh was on a mission to get to the front, sliding the car through the infield chasing front running Ron Stanley in his Nascar Cup Dodge Charger.
The V8 GTA racers were going at it, with the " Alabama Gang", Bobby and Roger Reuse battling with Ricky Sanders while Cameron Lawrence was on the move trying to get into the fight.
In V8 GT-2, Keith Goldin led early but quickly began suffering fuel pressure issues and dropped back. Ernest Wilding picked up the point and was outpacing Sid Collins Porsche 911 and William Thomas’ Mustang.
When the checker flew, Gregg had a few second advantage over Kenny Bupp for the overall and V8 GT-1 win, with Jordan Bupp, not too far in arrears despite the handling and braking issues. Hoopaugh caught and passed a determined Ron Stanley for the V8 SPO win and fourth overall. Stanley had run a strong and impressive race and garnered his best ever finish in the series.
Roger Reuse got his first win at Daytona in the V8 GTA class, holding off the hard charging Ricky Sanders and brother Bobby. Cameron Lawrence came home fourth with Georgia’s Randy Gay fifth in the ex Reed Sorenson ASA DELCO Dodge Intrepid.
Wilding got the V8 GT2 win with Collins and Thomas filling out the podium.
On Sunday, Simon Gregg again led the field to green and as before led every lap with the Bupp’s right there to pounce if he slipped up.
Charles Wicht had finished up installing his new mill just in time to make the race, but had to start shotgun on the field. Wicht quickly carved through the slower cars and headed to the front. Jay Lawrence, Cameron’s Dad and crew chief had been busy all weekend taking care of some mechanical issues that cropped up on the number 23 Regal Boats Impala but when it was time to go, the Lawrence Racing team was ready. Cameron was on fire in this race, the youngster has gotten used to winning this season and didn’t want a repeat of Saturday’s fourth place finish. He quickly dispatched his closest competition the Reuse brothers and was soon running in the sixth overall position and destroying the V8 GTA class record with a 1:57.007.
The race ended under a full course caution due to a couple of cars stuck off course and oil deposited in turn one.
Simon Gregg, Kenny Bupp, and Jordan Bupp were the top three overall and in V8 GT-1. Charles Wicht had charged up to fourth overall in his V8 GT-1 Rocketsports Corvette, followed by Larry Hoopaugh (first in V8 SPO), Cameron Lawrence (first in V8 GTA).
Robert Borders had a fine drive to seventh overall in his V8 GT-1 Corvette and Keith Goldin easily took the measure of the V8 GT2 field in his RX8. Goldin leads the class points at the halfway point in the season. ARCA racer AJ Henriksen was finding the handle on his brand new Camaro and had a good outing on Sunday.
While a number of our racers had a tough weekend battling the heat and mechanical gremlins, all agreed they will be ready to do it again at the big “D”.
A big thanks goes out the CFR SCCA for hosting and sanctioning the weekend.
The V8 Series also thanks its’ partners and they are: Crane Cams, SCCA, Porterfield Enterprises, LG Motorsports, Howe Racing, PitBoxes.com, GoPro, RaceTalkRadio.com, Sunoco, Hoosier, Goodyear, FiveStar, RaceCar Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Roehrig-Enders, GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine, SafeRacer
Next up for the group is Charlotte Motor Speedway on August 18 & 19.