A 2017 Competition Update… FINALLY!

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Teams lined up for the 2017 relay rally.

Yes, yes this is long overdue let’s just get that out of the way now.  All that free time I had in years past, well it doesn’t really exist anymore!

This has been an amazing season on so many levels.  Under new club president Troy Velazquez we have seen the implementation of an advanced coaching initiative for licensed drivers, we brought back the relay rally, we have established a relationship with a brand new track in the area (Club Motorsports) and oh yeah there has been some phenomenal competition happening in our time trial series.  Let’s do a quick overview of what has been going on and where the seasonal class battles stand:

Super Unlimited- Despite only having four competitors in the first five events we have had three different drivers win an event.  Dan D’Arcy took the win at Palmer 1 while Nick Coutu won his first appearance at Palmer 2.  Tom Greer has cleaned up at the NASCAR tracks winning at both NHMS events and at Thompson.  With the drop Tom holds an eight point class lead over Dan on the season.

Super A- Both Dana Johnston and Charles King have two event wins but it is the 2016 Most Improved Driver Kellie Greer who is currently leading the class.   Kellie has been to every event placing third at her first event and second at the next four events.  With the drop factored in she holds a slim four point lead over Dana for the class lead.

Super B- Jacob van Gelder has only been to two events but he podiumed at both finishing second at NHMS 2 and third at Thompson.  Dan Preston has made the full schedule so far and has four podiums and has finished second three times.  But it has really been the Jake Wile show this year in Super B so far.  It has been pretty exciting to see someone build a car to the full potential of a Super class.  Jake has won all five time trials as well as bring home three FTDs and set track records at NHMS CC, Palmer and Thompson.  Despite all that hardware Jake only leads the class by ten points so he can’t take any days off.  His pursuit of the perfect season will continue at Watkins Glen.

Super C- Super C has a shallow field but a very talented driver pool this year.  Ryan Catucci almost broke the two minute mark at Palmer in his 8000 lb Porsche Cayenne aka his tow vehicle!  Will Martins has one win at NHMS2 where he edged out Nick Fontana by six tenths of a second.  Nick had to borrow a Miata due to a mechanical with his M3.  Chris Parsons is currently in second with one win at Palmer 2- a nice recovery after losing a wheel bearing (and wheel!) on day one.  Nick Fontana currently leads Super C with three wins in four events setting a blistering track record in his M3 at Palmer 2 with a 1:42.915 which was just shy of FTD.  Nick has a slim four point lead with the drop over Chris Parsons although rumor is Nick has eloped with a T50 Miata.

Super D- Super D didn’t see more than three participants until Palmer 2.  A rejuvenated Mark Swinehart has run the table so far with five wins so far.  One more win will seal the class championship for Mark.  Can he get it done at Watkins Glen?

T100-  Dan Croteau has one class win at Palmer 2 and sits in third place with 23 class points.  Bob Cairns has three wins in three events and set FTD at Palmer 1 and NHMS 2.  Due to a mishap at Thompson however his class lead has slipped away to none other than Laura Fleming.  Laura has three second place finishes and took home first place points as the only entrant at Thompson.  Laura currently holds a five point advantage with 38 points over Bob’s 33.  Bob will need to finish at least two points better than Laura at each of the last three events to take back the class lead.  You better make it to Club Motorsports Bob!

T90- 2016 T90 class champion Jon Harris has had a strong follow up season with one class win at NHMS 1.  With the drop however, David Lapierre leads Jon by four points for the class lead at this stage.  David has three class wins in four events at Palmer 1, NHMS 2 and Palmer 2.  This will be a good battle down the stretch especially with Victor Larin on the T90 scene now who finished first at Thompson and second at Palmer 2 in his E46 M3.

T80- Having bailed on T80 for T90, Victor Larin has left a path for Marc Epstein to pursue the class championship.  Marc has podiumed at the four events he has attended with a win at Thompson.  He holds a fifteen point lead over James McKenna for the class lead.  Second place is wide open with three events to go.  Who will show up to make some noise?

T70- T70 has had some phenomenal competition this year.  It was great to see Jason Gannett back out there at Palmer 2.  Shiv Joshi stormed onto the scene at Palmer 1 with a very strong second place finish at his first COM time trial event.  Greg Hosselbarth was the class leader after two events with a second place finish at NHMS 1 and a win at Palmer 1.  Unfortunately a slight mishap at Thompson has sidelined his M3, but not his attitude.  Dan Durusky is currently in third place with 26 points with three third place finishes in four events.  2016 T70 class winner Jon Cowen was MIA in the first two events but has two wins in his three events since.  Nelson Barros is the current class leader with 38 points, seven more than Jon.  The only real difference is the one extra event Nelson has attended.  Dating back to last year, either Nelson or Jon have won the last ten T70 events where one of them showed up.  Nelson has a grip on the lead but this is one of the best head to head battles in the club.

T60- T60 has had deep fields all year long averaging over eight entrants per event.  Roe Cole has only made three events but has two second place and a third place finish good for fourth place with 25 points.  Stephan do Penasse has put on a great showing leading off the season with a win in wet conditions at NHMS1.  He has 30 points with the drop, only two behind 2016 T60 class winner Troy Velazquez.  Troy has podiumed at all five events this year highlighted by a photo finish at NHMS2 where he finished 0.041 seconds behind class leader Peter McParland!  Comeback-player-of-the-year Peter McParland has been on a rampage in T60.  After NHMS1 he went on to win the next four events. Peter sits with 46 points and is also the current leader for overall driver champion by a slim margin.

T50-  Only four drivers have competed in more than one time trial in T50 this year.  David Wittmer sits in third with 29 points in three time trials highlighted by a win at Palmer 2 and two second place finishes at Palmer1 and NHMS2.  Jeff Baker sits in second place with 36 points finishing 2nd or 3rd at all five time trials.  Jeff Wasilko had a dominating start to the season with four wins in the first four events highlighted by a track record at Palmer1 with a 1:48.431.  He leads the class with 44 points.

T40- AKA the Greatest Show on Pavement.  In my entire time with COM I can’t recall such a deep, diverse and competitive class.  In the four dry time trials The top four T40 finishers have all been within 1.5 seconds of each other.  T40 has had four different event winners and six drivers are within 13 points of first place with three events to go.  Auto-X convert Matt Daniels sits in fifth place with 23 points.  Matt cleared the T40 field at NHMS in the rain by over 2 1/2 seconds and has been in the mix ever since.  If I asked you who was the only T40 driver with two wins on the season I bet you would guess wrong.  Well Robert “The Palmer Whisperer” Smigiel is that driver.  Robert edged out Scott Rosnick at Palmer1 by only 0.106 seconds.  That was a little too close for comfort so he cranked it up at Palmer2 to beat class leader Sash Dias by a massive 0.167 seconds!  2015 & 2016 T40 class champion Scott Rosnick has yet to win an event but sits tied in second place with Tom Cannon with 28 points.  Both have two seconds place finishes.  COM sophomore Sash Dias has been the one to pull away from the pack however.  With one win at NHMS2 and three more podium finishes he sits in first with 36 points in his BRZ.

T30- Three-peating class champion Stephen Hosker will not four-peat this year as he is in the middle of showing cancer what a T30 dominator is made of.  We are thinking about you Steve and can’t wait to see you back out here.  COM sophomore Andrew Grigg sits in third place with 34 points after the drop highlighted by a win at NHMS1.  It may look like Emily Berthier really likes to come in second place but we all know that is not the case.  She has been less than a second from first place in two out of the last three events.  She sits in 2nd place with 38 points after the drop with five second place finishes.  Mikhael El-Bayeh probably wishes he had his Civic ready at the beginning of the season.  He has gone 4/4 in the last four events since getting it back on track setting track records at both Palmer and Thompson.  One thing is

Pete McParland owns a slim lead in the overall driver championship standings.  Who will blink first?

Peter McParland- 61.4

Jake Wile- 59.0

Mark Swinehart- 57.8

Mikhael El-Bayeh- 56.6

 

It should be exciting to see how these battles play out over the remaining three time trials.  We are anticipating one of the highest attended Watkins events we have seen in a number of years followed by our first event at the brand new track Club Motorsports in Tamworth, NH.  Sign up for that event now it is already filling up fast!  Don’t forget about NHMS3.  Rumor is we may be running south oval.

See you in the paddock.

~Dave W.