PERFORMANCE DRIVING

- FROM STREET TO TRACK


"SPEED AT THE FARMS" RESULTS - - DRIVING WELL WINS SATCAR RACES

SATCAR races can be won by any driver who drives well, no matter what car they bring to the event. This was shown dramatically by the winner of the first race at Blackhawk Farms on Sept. 1. Andy Besic competed in his wife’s grocery getter - - a VW Jetta Turbo Diesel with an automatic transmission. Is this a winning race car? In SATCAR it is!!

Andy is an experienced vintage race driver and won the SATCAR race by driving consistent laps closer to his qualifying time than other drivers in the race. The track was slower for the afternoon race and Andy’s average lap time was 2.875 seconds slower than his qualifying time. All the other drivers were over three seconds and some were over five seconds slower. Every lap they would lose a little time to Andy and he held the lead at the end.

Andy figured out a winning strategy and drove consistently and penalty free as close as he could to his qualifying time. This strategy will put you close to or at the front every time.

The complete race results for the Blackhawk race along with the points totals for each driver are:

1
Andy Besic VW Jetta TDi 105 Points
2
Todd Davis Buick Gran Sport 98 Points
3
Don Emrich Ford Mustang V6 92 Points
4
Fred Marano Corvette Z06 85 Points
5
Vince Shanahan Detomaso Pantera 80 Points
6
Tom Dillon Mustang GT 75 Points
7
Scott Metzler BMW M3 70 Points
8
Jim Petroski Mustang GT 65 Points
TIE
Guy Dirkin Mini-Cooper S 65 Points*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Guy was the most consistent


"GRATTAN G-FAIR" RESULTS - Grattan Raceway - Sept. 27-28

Going to Grattan again was a real treat as this is one of the most technically demanding tracks to learn and drive in the Midwest. Blind apexes, off camber corners, and a brow with a corner soon after, are just a few of the challenges of this track. Many drivers had not been there before. There was much learning on both days and significant improvements in lap times occurred, to the detriment of some drivers.

The Saturday race was scheduled for 34 laps (About one hour) duration. Five cars took the green. As the race progressed, drivers started breaking out and two ran into the three Break Out - Disqualify rule. Near the end, Michael Kopper took the lead in his Lotus Exige and ran out of fuel on the last lap, letting Guy Dirkin in his Mini-Cooper S take over the point. Guy ended up winning the race and also the Consistency Award for most consistent lap times. Fred Marano placed second in his Corvette Z06. Michael Kopper was a DNF but still received points for third place. Michael indicated that he had not topped the tank prior to the race and that was why he ran out.

The Sunday race had a new driver in the field. Steve Zarndt had just completed his driving school requirement and entered the Sunday race in his Nissan 300ZX. The race was scheduled for 36 laps. Again, as the race progressed, drivers were breaking out and several ran into the disqualification rule. Michael Kopper in his Lotus Exige drove from last to first and won the race and the Consistency Award. Tom Dillon was second in his Mustang GT. Todd Davis was running third near the end and ran out of fuel on the last lap, but still acquired third place points.

The points standings after the Grattan weekend were:

1
Michael Kopper Lotus Exige 202
2
Fred Marano Corvette Z06 183
3
Todd Davis Buick Gran Sport 180
4
Guy Dirkin Mini-Cooper S 175
5
Tom Dillon Mustang GT 173
6
Andy Besic VW Jetta TDi 105
7
Don Emrich Mustang V6 92
8
Vince Shanahan Detomaso Pantera 80
9
Scott Metzler BMW M3 70
10
Jim Petroski Mustang GT 65

"COLORFALL SPRINTS" RESULTS - GingerMan Raceway - Oct. 18-19

The third event of the Fall Series took place on a beautiful sunny weekend in southwestern Michigan. After the Grattan race we evaluated the three Break Out - Disqualify rule and decided that it was not in the best interests of good racing, so it was eliminated.

Several of the regulars were there along with some new faces. A few cars had mechanical issues so the Saturday field was quite small. Among the new entries was Dan Mroz who brought his brand new Lotus 2 Eleven, ostensibly just to break-in and test. Once he saw the format, he decided to enter the race.

Todd Davis knew that we would be scheduling more one hour races and did not want to run out as he had at Grattan. He added more fuel capacity to the Buick and could now run almost two hours without refueling.

The race was scheduled for 32 laps. Todd Davis started on pole with his Buick Gran Sport and Dan started last in the Lotus. At the end of the race, Phil Reynolds in his Porsche 944 Turbo held a solid lead. Second place was quite close with Todd in the Buick just a few car lengths in front of Dan in the Lotus for second and third, respectively. Todd also won the Consistency Award.

The Sunday race (32 Laps) started additional cars as the mechanical issues were solved and Guy Dirkin joined us. Todd Davis had low oil pressure in his Buick, so he rented the SATCAR Mustang V6 for the day. Jason Lakomiak from Ohio had worked on his Mustang GT for almost the entire weekend trying to solve an engine issue. He finally was able to enter and complete the race.

The Mustang V6 is not a world beater so Todd was the slow qualifier and sat on pole with the Lotus again being fast car. The Lotus had a PPT of slightly over eight minutes so Todd had about a four lap lead before the Lotus started!!! Todd held the lead throughout most of the race due to his consistent, quick driving. On the last straight before the last corner of the last lap Dan in the Lotus finally caught and passed Todd to win the race. Todd placed second and Phil Reynolds in his Porsche 944 Turbo placed third. Todd won the Consistency Award (Again).

The slowest and fastest cars in the field finished 1 - 2 with only a four second separation at the end!!! This finish shows very dramatically how effective the
SATCAR PPT system is in equalizing the competition. Comparing average lap times to qualifying times, Dan was slower by about 0.6 second and Todd was slower by just over 1 second. Dan drove a slightly better race and deserved the win.

There was no "Persistence In The Face of Adversity" award, but if we had one, Jason Lakomiak would have received it for his efforts to get the problems solved with his car and finally getting it into the race on Sunday.

The points totals after the GingerMan race were:

1
Todd Davis Buick Gran Sport & Mustang V6 396
2
Fred Marano Corvette Z06 348
3
Guy Dirkin Mini-Cooper S 260
4
Michael Kopper Lotus Exige 202
5
Dan Mroz Lotus 2 Eleven 197
6
Phil Reynolds Porsche 944 Turbo 197
7
Tom Dillon Mustang GT 173
8
Jim Petroski Mustang GT 140
9
Andy Besic VW Jetta TDi 105
10
Don Emrich Mustang V6 92
11
Vince Shanahan Detomaso Pantera 80
12
Scott Metzler BMW M3 70
TIE
Jason Lakomiak Mustang GT 70

"FOUR MILE FINALE" RESULTS - Road America - Nov. 1-2

The weatherman was cooperative and provided an acceptable, though not perfect, weekend for the final race of the series. We wanted to schedule our typical one hour races for the drivers. Considering the high speeds and amount of the lap at full throttle, we anticipated that some cars would not be able to make the full race without running out of fuel. So we inserted a mandatory 10 minute pit stop for all drivers, to take place between laps 8 and 15 at the driver's option. If the car needed fuel it would be filled by SATCAR staff in suitable fireproof gear. If no fuel was needed the car would just be held for 10 minutes and then rejoin the race.

The Saturday race was scheduled for 21 laps (84 miles of racing). Todd Davis had not solved the oil pressure issue in his Buick so he entered this event in his 2005 Pontiac GTO. The pit stops added an additional element of strategy to the race and the lead changed several times during the stops. The pit stops and fueling were managed very well by SATCAR staff members and everything was very smooth and efficient. When the racing was over, Todd Davis finally achieved a win. He also won the Consistency Award (Yet Again). Michael Eblenkamp in a Porsche Boxster and Marc Molzon in a Porsche 944 Turbo were battling for second place but the pace was just quick enough that Marc had a Break Out on the last lap. The resulting time penalty moved him to fifth. Michael was second and Todd Zimmer in a Corvette Z06 was third.

On Sunday, Fred Marano had a brake problem on his Corvette Z06 after qualifying so he rented the SATCAR Mustang for the race. He ended up as slow qualifier (Due to the car, not Fred) and the race was scheduled for 20 laps, again with a mandatory 10 minute pit stop. We had two new additions to the field for Sunday. Evan Leicht in a VW GTI, had just completed his driving school requirements and was entering his first race. The other was Jon Wong from AutoWeek magazine, who brought a Honda S2000 CR.

There was some early moisture in the air but again, the race went smoothly, including the pit stops. Todd Davis evidently became significantly faster as he ran into a series of Break Outs. The lead was changing through the pit stop action and probably everyone may have led at some time or other. We could not see it but over the radio the corner workers were reporting lead changes on the last laps. There were three passes for the lead on the last half lap!!!

At the end, Marc Molzon won the race in his Porsche 944 Turbo, new racer Evan Leicht placed second in his VW GTI, and Guy Dirkin in the Mini-Cooper S was third. Todd Zimmer in a Corvette Z06 won the Consistency Award.

I have known Evan's father, Tim, for many years and he has much racing experience. He was at the event with Evan and was lap timing for Evan. At the pit stop he coached Evan that he had to up his pace slightly and continued timing. Evan took his father's advice, drove well, and obtained the result. Good driving Evan!!


FALL SERIES - FINAL RESULTS

Now that the Fall Series is complete, we can look back and realize that even though the car counts were less than desired, the series was a success. For that, I must attribute a large measure of gratitude to the key staff members who helped the events run smoothly:

 
Wayne Seely - Operations Director - managed the activities and kept the events on schedule
Jim Anderson - PR Director - assisted in getting photos and working with magazine staff.
Kathy Kramer - OperationsStaff - performed too many functions to list - a great help
Gregg DeZutti - Assisted on the grid and start line
David Adney - Assisted on the grid and start line
Connie Adney - Assisted with administrative functions
Tom Dillon - Assisted on the grid and start line
Jim Brozynski - Classroom Driving Coach
Brad Pines - Classroom and In-Car Driving Coach
Larry Boyer - Classroom Driving Coach
On-Track Driving Coaches - Rudy Arias, Andy Besic, Mitch Bessette, Ken Frey, Dave Hesse, Greg Miller, & Todd Zimmer

.Two drivers attended all the races of the series and received SATCAR personalized jacket rewards - Todd Davis and Fred Marano.

The final driver standings were Todd Davis - First, Fred Marano - Second, and Guy Dirkin - Third. The final points totals were:

1
Todd Davis Buick Gran Sport, Mustang V6, Pontiac GTO 506
2
Fred Marano Corvette Z06, Mustang V6 423
3
Guy Dirkin Mini-Cooper S 352
4
Michael Kopper Lotus Exige 257
5
Dan Mroz Lotus 2 Eleven 197
TIE
Phil Reynolds Porsche 944 Turbo 197
7
Marc Molzon Porsche 944 Turbo 185
8
Michael Eblenkamp Porsche Boxster 183
9
Todd Zimmer Corvette Z06 177
10
Tom Dillon Mustang GT 173
11
Greg Miller Corvette Z06 150
12
Jim Petroski Mustang GT 140
13
Andy Besic VW Jetta TDi 105
14
Evan Leicht VW GTI 98
15
Don Emrich Mustang V6 92
16
Vince Shanahan Detomaso Pantera 80
17
Jon Wong Honda S2000 CR 75
18
Jason Lakomiak Mustang GT 70
TIE
Scott Metzler BMW M3 70

Todd Davis was a very deserving champion of the series. He was the first driver to commit to running the entire series and he met that commitment even though he had mechanical issues at two of the events. Todd drove three different cars in the four events and acquired one first place, several seconds, and several Consistency Awards.

A great THANK YOU to all the drivers who participated in SATCAR Fall Series events.

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