TOPEKA, Kan. (July 26, 2016) – The 2016 SCCA Tire Rack Wilmington Championship Tour was on fire with hot competition burning up the concrete in each of the five heats this past weekend at Wilmington Air Park in Wilmington, Ohio, with a total of 360 registered entrants blazing through the high-speed course designed by Danny Popp. The Cincinnati Region executed the event without a hitch even with so many competitors.
The first heat was host to the largest Class of the event, with 34 competitors in C Street. John Wolf held the lead over co-driver William Bostic going into Sunday competition, with Chris Harvey, Dennis and Chris Sparks, Deana Kelly and Jim Zeisler all within about two-tenths of second place. The battle for the podium was sure to go down to the last run with such close competition, but Wolf was able to stretch out his lead and take the Class win in his Scion FR-S as Bostic held station in second just 0.01 ahead of Harvey in a 2016 Miata. Dennis Sparks trailed by a scant 0.022 behind him for fourth, showing that the Mazda RX-8 can still hang near the top.
Some controversy in heat one came with Street Modified FWD as a mystery cone came into play. In the end, day one leader Chris Haydu was bumped to second place as David O'Maley Jr. took the win once audit sheets were collected.
In the second heat, things started getting hotter. Street Touring R had a mix of cars fighting for the top spot, with two generations of Miatas and an S2000 in the top three spots, only two-tenths separating them, and then only about two more tenths between third and ninth place. Brian Karwan in his 2016 Miata held the lead going into Saturday. Tim Viars gave chase but could only maintain the gap as Karwan started strong and held the lead through every run to take the eventual win. Viars held second as Greg Janulis moved up two spots to third.
Second heat also brought an exciting battle with A Street as Mark Labbancz ran down the day-one leader, Brian Robertson, to take the win on his final run and claim his first-ever National event trophy, leaving him with a "perfect" win record for every National event where he has trophied.
Tragedy struck in heat three as a catastrophic failure brought another Street Mod Subaru out of commission as Dan Stainback's STi erupted in smoke during co-driver Heidi Ellison's first run. With Tim White's Subaru out of commission from Saturday, this left only Aaron Miller within reach of challenging the Panda 240SX of day one Class leader David White and his co-driver, Todd Kean. Kean, two-tenths back from day one and only 0.015-second behind Miller, took the lead on run two and extended it further on his final run. White held on to second ahead of Miller who rounded out the podium. Michael Aversa, with the only remaining Subaru in Class, rounded out the trophies in fourth.
Over in Street Touring Xtreme, Raymond Dsouza in a Subaru BRZ set out to prove that horsepower wasn't going to be the deciding factor for the Class win. He led Kyle Herbst's BMW 128i by 0.086-second going into Sunday. He extended the lead on day two, bringing home a two-tenths lead over Herbst. Matt Jones came in third.
Fourth heat's Super Street R win looked up for grabs before Saturday runs. It was anyone's guess as to which combination of power and gearing would come out on top. After Saturday, though, everyone in Class would have to chase Grant Reeve, who held nearly a half-second lead over Sam Strano. By SSR terms, this was a fairly unorthodox gap since the class positons have been historically decided by thousandths of a second. Reeve proved that Saturday was no fluke and nearly doubled his lead Sunday to claim bragging rights as the overall event PAX leader and SSR victor. Strano held second by a scant 0.052 over Josh Luster who had Sunday's fastest time in Class to bump co-driver Evan Schickel to fourth.
In the final heat, Street Touring Sport saw something of an invasion as Dave Montgomery, Marc Osgood and Matthew Glagola jumped back into Hondas as their FP and SSM cars respectively were unable to make the event. Montgomery apparently hadn't lost touch with his CRX, or the change of speed made it easier for him to adapt as he brought in the only sub 75-second Saturday run for the Class. This put him into the lead over Sean Greer going into Sunday, with Osgood just a tenth back and co-driver Glagola just behind. The top three held station Sunday as Montgomery doubled his lead to take the Class win, with Greer staying second stretching out his own gap over Osgood.
Full results can be found at the Tire Rack Wilmington Championship Tour webpage. Next up for SCCA Champ Tour drivers is the Tire Rack Colorado Championship Tour taking place July 29-31 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado. For additional information on Tire Rack SCCA Solo, visit www.scca.com/solo.
Story: PJ Corrales
Image: Mark Labbancz earns his first National Solo win in A Street
Credit: Perry Bennett