American Iron Race Report – Autobahn Country Club July 22 & 23, 2006


Weekend five of the NASA Midwest Region was held at the beautiful Autobahn Country Club South Course in Joliet Illinois.  The race weekend was sponsored by CJ Erickson and Algozine Masonry who provided an awesome dinner and drinks for everyone at the track after racing on Saturday. The track is located just a couple miles west of the new NASCAR track.  Friday practice day was well attended by both racer drivers and HPDE drivers.  The weather was warm and humid with a little drizzle at the end of the day, but not enough to slow the track down too much.  Jeff Henderson had an electrical fire late on Friday, and had the entire wiring harness replaced overnight with some late night thrashing and was ready to go out for practice Saturday morning.  If you know much about the wiring harness in an 86 Mustang, you know that is quite a project.  If I didn’t see it happen myself, I would have said (and did) “There is no way this car will be running by tomorrow morning”.  I was happy to be proven wrong.


Saturday qualifying had Brian Groth on the AI pole with a smoking lap of 1:35.985.  Jason Andrew was a close second but he was DQ’d for contact with Ted Swartz in turn one when Jason locked up the brakes and contacted Swartz while he was turning in at turn one.  The AIX pole had Chris Griswold on the pole with a 1:33.119.  Robb Brent had the CMC pole with a 1:41.734.  Matt King fell out of CMC with a valve problem during practice.


AIX Qualifying                     Best Lap

1. Chris Griswold                  1:33.119

2. Fred Fetzer                        1:36.395

3. Mikey Remen                    1:37.391

4. Wade Gagich                    1:44.922



1. Brian Groth                        1:35.930

2. Matt Erickson                   1:36.985

3. Ted Schwartz                    1:37.745

4. Robin Burnett                   1:37.763

5. David Algozine                1:37.850

6. Bob Denton                      1:38.621

7. Dean Smeltzer                   1:38.916

8. Jeff Feit                              1:39.017

9. Sidney Franklin                1:39.263

10. Mark Luna                       1:41.702

11. Jeff Henderson               1:42.740

12. Bryan White                   1:44.185

13. Tom Fuehrer                   1:44.360

DQ: Jason Andrew – contact w/ Schwartz



1. Robb Brent                        1:41.734

2. Aaron Bambach               1:43.233


The race started with a standing start for the CMC and Factory Five Racers one half lap ahead of the main field of AI/X.  Robb Brent sped off to the lead at the start and held the lead until a cracked oil pan created a lot of smoke on certain parts of the track.  Robb was black flagged for smoke on lap 10 with a large lead.  He could not recover from the delay going to the black flag station and Bruce Byerly held on to take the win.


The AIX race had Griswold on pole and he walked away from the competition from the start.  Fred Fetzer came in second, Mickey Remen retired with a broken clutch cable on lap 7.  The AI race was much more contested with Brian Groth taking the lead at the start.  That lead would disappear on lap 3 when Matt Ericson would get by Groth to take the AI lead. Groth would eventually drop out with an electrical problem. Robin Burnett would work his way up to second place with Dave Algozine in tow in third by the end of lap 5.  Burnett would get loose on lap 6 and Algozine would close up right behind Burnett and eventually out brake him going into turn 8.  Bob Denton & Jason Andrews were also battling behind and Denton would go deep into turn 9 to keep Andrews behind him.  The move took him too deep as it turned out, as Denton misjudged the braking zone and contacted Algozine in the passenger door, causing Algozine to spin off track.  Burnett was still in second, but would pull off on lap 7 with brake problems.  Jason Andrews, who started at the back of the field due to the qualifying incident worked his way up to second place by lap 10, but would also suffer from a mechanical failure on lap 13 and pulled off.  David Algozine would make it back to battle for 4th just before a suspension failure caused a spectacular spin in the grass going onto the main straight.  Dave managed to keep it off the guardrail going down the main straight, but left plenty of evidence of his misfortune such as dirt, sod, rocks most of the way down the front stretch.  Algozine suffered with the broken suspension for another half lap before pulling off behind the turn 10 corner station ending his day.  Dean Smeltzer worked his way up to third before locking up his brakes and sending his car over the inside curbs after the long back straight which caused him to loose a couple of positions.  He eventually gained the positions back and finished the race in third position.  Mark Luna in only his second weekend of racing this year started tenth and finished in second position.  Great run Mark, Congratulations Matt Erickson on a well deserved win.  Denton was DQ’d for his contact on Algozine in the race. Results are as follows.


AIX Race-Saturday             Best Lap

1. Chris Griswold                  1:34.696

2. Fred Fetzer                        1:35.774

3. Mickey Remen                  1:39.139


AI Race- Saturday               Best Lap               

1. Matt Erickson                   1:36.796

2. Mark Luna                         1:37.876

3. Dean Smeltzer                   1:37.749

4. Ted Schwartz                    1:38.311

5. Jeff Feit                              1:38.504

6. Sidney Franklin                1:38.524

7. Bryan White                     1:41.684

8. Tom Fuehrer                     1:42.428

9. Jeff Henderson                 1:42.352

10. Jason Andrew                1:36.805

11. David Algozine              1:38.798

12. Robin Burnett                 1:37.863

13. Brian Groth                      1:36.765

14. Richard Cranston           1:49.491


DQ: Bob Denton – Contact w/ Algozine


CMC Race – Saturday         Best Lap

1. Bruce Byerly                     1:41.825

2. Robb Brent                        1:41.963


Sunday Qualifying was again dry and a little less humid than Saturday.  The AIX pole was claimed by Fetzer. Mickey Remen and Chris Nickell rounded out the AIX field. Griswold missed qualifying with a bad magnetic pickup on his distributor and would start the race at the back of the field.  David Algozine also started in the rear as his replacement parts for his suspension did not show up in time for qualifying.  The AI pole was again claimed by Brian Groth with another smoking lap of 1:35.574.  The track newness wore off for the racers that were visiting Autobahn Country Club for the first time as the qualifying tightened up the top three cars within four tenths of a second.  Bryce Byerly claimed the CMC pole ahead of Robb Brent.


AIX Qualifying – Sunday   Best Lap

1. Fred Fetzer                        1:37.058

2. Mickey Remen                  1:37.403

3. Chris Nickell                      1:44.816

4. Chris Griswold                  No-Time



1. Brian Groth                        1:35.574

2. Jason Andrew                  1:35.877

3. Robin Burnett                   1:35.971

4. Matt Erickson                   1:36.542

5. Dean Smeltzer                   1:37.441

6. Bob Denton                      1:37.852

7. Sidney Franklin                1:38.377

8. Richard Cranston             1:38.743

9. Ted Schwartz                    1:39.039

10. Jeff Feit                            1:39.386

11. Bryan White                   1:41.007

12. Jeff Henderson               1:41.883

13. Tom Fuehrer                   1:44.056



1. Bruce Byerly                     1:41.020

2. Robb Brent                        1:41.300


Sundays AIX race start had Fred Fetzer on the AIX pole with Mickey Remen alongside.  Griswold would be on a tear at the start from 17th position due to no qualifying time.  He started by getting by 7 cars inside of turn one, a couple more into turn two.   Smeltzer and Griswold went through turn 3 side by side as Griswold then got a jump on Fetzer on the short stretch on the outside on the way to turn four.  It was the way outside as he took the grass to get by Fetzer for 2nd place in AIX behind Remen.  Griswold would then get by White into turn 5, Denton into six, and Remen into turn 8.  A couple more passes later in the lap would have Griswold passing a total of 13 cars on the first lap.  Lap 3 had Griswold 2nd  overall behind the very fast and well driven World Challenge Viper of Thomas Glen in the VVCX class.  Brian Groth again also had a great start and had the lead until lap 8 when he suffered a broken timing chain.  Bad luck for Brian Groth as that is the third race in a row that Brian has suffered from a mechanical failure while leading the race.  Jason Andrew would take the lead from Groths’ misfortune.  Bob Denton and Sidney Franklin were battling nose to tail until Denton's transmission would get locked in third gear and Sidney would take the position after a couple of off's from Denton in turn 5.  Mark Luna was out after lap 2 with engine problems.  Matt Ericson and Robin Burnett would have a great battle between the two new body style 2005 Mustangs for 2nd place.  Erickson would eventually get the best of Burnett and take 2nd place on lap 4.  David Algozine also had a great run from 18th overall at the start to pass 5 cars  at the start to get to 6th place after lap one.  Algozine would have a great run up to 4th place in AI.  The race was stopped short after contact when Smeltzer locked up his brakes on the back straight and over-cooked the corner into Ted Schwartz.  Both cars were unable to finish as the race was red flagged.


AIX Race – Sunday             Best Time

1. Chris Griswold                  1:33.221

2. Chris Nickell                      1:48.476

3. Mickey Remen                  1:36.889

4. Fred Fetzer                        1:37.782



1. Jason Andrew                  1:36.443

2. Matt Erickson                   1:36.795

3. Robin Burnett                   1:36.978

4. David Algozine                1:36.637

5. Sidney Franklin                1:37.900

6. Bob Denton                      1:37.716

7. Jeff Feit                              1:38.524

8. Bryan White                     1:40.177

9. Jeff Henderson                 1:41.197

10. Tom Fuehrer                   1:41.654

11. Ted Schwartz                  1:38.187

12. Brian Groth                      1:35.540

13. Mark Luna                       2:00.778

DQ: Dean Smeltzer – Contact w/ Schwartz



1. Bruce Byerly                     1:41.371

2. Robb Brent                        1:41.113



Our next event will be August 12th and 13th at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.  It will be a dressed rehearsal for the national event only one month later in September.  This should be a well attended event with some very close racing. Check out or NASA Midwest - National Auto Sport Association for information or directions.



Chris Griswold

NASA Midwest Region AI, AIX, CMC Director




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