Sebring February 2008
Few race tracks anywhere in the world have the rich history of Sebring. The circuit where racing legends like Jimmy Clark, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Mark Donohue, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Pedro Rodriquez, just to name a few, made racing history, A track where great marques became greater, like the Ferrari GTO's and 512, the Porsche 917, 935, and 962, Jim Hall's Chaparral, the Bird cage Maserati's, the Group 44 Jaguar, the Toyota and Nissan GTP's and the recent Audi R8.
Ask just about any road racer, "What tracks do you just have to drive,?" Sebring would be at or near the top of their list. It was no surprise that there was a great turn out for V8 StockCars season opener, running with the Central Florida Region of SCCA. Some thirty racers in V8GT-1's, V8 SPO's and V8GTA's were on hand in fast, well prepared machines, and they came to race.
Dave Machavern brought out his fast V8 GT1 Tommy Riggins C6 Corvette powered by a new Sprint Cup type SB2 motor, he put the new ponies to good use, easily taking the overall pole. Gene Felton (V8 SPO) of IMSA fame, was here with his hot ex Kasey Kahne Dodge qualifying second behind Charles Wicht, who shattered his own SPO track record with a quick 2.10.9. In V8 GTA, Tony Amico was running his fastest laps ever, taking the pole with a 2.18 and change. Tony was a couple tenths quicker than "Fast Phil" Tapia who has been showing great speed everywhere he shows up.
On Saturday afternoon as the group was lining up, the skies darkened and a light rain ensued. SCCA officials declared the race a "rain race," offering competitors extra time to switch to rain tires. Few competitors did so, and the race went off anyway. Some competitors pulled off on the first lap. A few laps into the race the bottom fell out and the race was shortened by SCCA officials. Per V8 StockCar policy points were awarded from qualifying position.
Sunday's race was spared the inclement weather, and Machavern used his big horsepower and excellent Tommy Riggins set up to drive away easily outdistancing the field. Robert Borders came home second in V8 GT1, with Bill Ridell third. Running second overall and at a pace that most GT1 drivers would love to run, was Charles Wicht, in that wicked ex Kevin Harvick South West Tour car. Charles took the win over a game Paul Breehne in his series debut in his Ford powered super late model. Boo Morgan took the final podium spot in V8 SPO in his return to series after taking most of 2007 off.
In V8 GTA, Tapia had gotten away to about a six second advantage over 2007 V8 GTA champ Jay Marshall, but half way through the event, Marshall in his MIKE COPE RACING prepared Monte Carlo had worked his way through some traffic and now was closing on Tapia at about two seconds a lap. Marshall, driving as though possessed caught and passed Tapia on the last lap. "Kansas Tornado" Ron "Burr" Keith ran consistently to come home third in V8 GTA. The Central Florida Region SCCA did their usual outstanding job of hosting the event with some 375 cars in all the groups in attendance.
The V8 StockCar series moves to the newly improved and reconfigured Carolina Motorsports Park March 29th and 30th for the Buck Muse Memorial Double SARRC event