American Iron Race Report Autobahn Country Club October 8th 2007

 

The season ending race weekend for the Midwest Region was held Autobahn Country Club in Joliet Illinois. This Monday race would feature a very rare opportunity for the racers.  This race was run on the 20 turn, 3.56 mile full course.  This opportunity was unique for racers as the full course is usually only run by members of Autobahn Country Club.  The weather was warm and humid for October with temperatures in the high eighties. 

 

American Iron Qualifying on the full course had newly crowned 2007 AI National champion Jay Andrew on pole by a mere .1 seconds over Dave Algozine and just .4 seconds over Mark Luna.  Matt Erickson would miss AI qualifying due to earlier business commitments but would be back in time to start at the back of the AI field. The AIX class was represented only by Bill Collins; as 2007 AIX National Champion Chris Griswold was a spectator due to an emergency appendectomy a few days earlier. 

 

AI Qualifying Monday

1.  Jay Andrew               2:44.735

2.  David Algozine          2:44.881

3.  Mark Luna                2:45.164

4.  Sidney Franklin         2:47.111

5.  Scot Young              2:47.369

6.  Bob Denton              2:50.235

7.  Matt Erickson           no-time

 

 

Scot Young in the GTO would miss the race while fixing a steering rack issue.  Bill Collins would have brake problems on the pace lap and also pull off. That left the AI racers to battle up front and they did not disappoint. The drop of the green flag had Algozine with a great start, as Jason looked to have missed a shift, and Algozine pulled in front before turn 1.  Erickson would get a great jump at the start and work his way up to 4th after just one lap. Algozine, Andrew, Luna, Franklin and Erickson went nose to tale for several laps.  Luna had a few problems at the start and dropped back to 4th.  Lap 4 would have Luna challenge Erickson for 3rd and take the position. The next lap had Luna look inside of Andrew into the transition turn and get along side of Andrew.  Luna now in second then set his sites on Algozine who was just ahead.  The top four cars were all within a second of each other on the track for the first 5 laps when Luna made an error in turn 3 of the South course and went way off into the grass.  Some quick thinking and fast reactions kept him out of the wall and got him back on track behind Erickson who was in third behind Andrews.  The top four cars stayed nose to tail the entire race and had the spectators running back and forth on the patio deck as the race switched between the north and south courses.  Luna would eventually keep pressuring Erickson for 3rd and would get by him on the last lap to take the 3rd position.  Algozine and Andrew would be side by side on numerous occasions but Algozine managed to stay ahead at the end and take the checkered flag just ahead of Andrews. Congratulations to Matt Erickson with his 2:44.918 lap time cemented his name in the record books as AI track record holder.   

 

AI Race #1

1.  David Algozine          2:45.107

2.  Jay Andrew               2:45.011

3.  Mark Luna                2:45.195

4.  Matt Erickson           2:44.918***

5.  Sidney Franklin         2:46.295

6.  Bob Denton              2:52.070

7.  Scot Young              no-time

 

*** Track record

 

The 2nd race would have Luna missed the call to grid and start from the pit lane. He would later pull off with an end to his day with a mechanical problem. Dave Algozine had the pole based on the finishing order of the first race and got another good start and stayed out front.  However, by lap two, Erickson was climbing all over Algozine.  He got along side a few times, and then got under Algozine entering turn 4 of the North track, and got passed for the lead.  Algozine was on his bumper as they entered turn 1 and Erickson just barley left enough room and Algozine stuck it inside, and they went side by side around the transition.  Having the inside, Algozine just barely pulled him down the front straight of the South track and took South turn 1 inside and out front.  Erickson got alongside a couple more times, but not enough to pass.  While fighting to get past Algozine, Jason saw an opening and got around Erickson for 2nd place.  Algozine went a little wide exiting South turn 12 and Andrew got along side, as they went down the straight transition between the S and N.    They were still side by side going around North turn 3, but I had the inside for North turn 4 and held him off.  As the race progressed, Algozine, Andrew, Erickson and Franklin were dicing all over.  There was some very tight racing in the last few laps.  Algozine was able to hold them off and take first.  The top four cars crossed the line within a second of each other. 

 

AI Race #2

1.  David Algozine          2:46.033

2.  Jay Andrew               2:46.299

3.  Matt Erickson           2:46.030

4.  Sidney Franklin         2:45.030

5.  Scot Young              2:47.110

6.  Bob Denton              2:52.148

7.  Mark Luna                no-time

 

What an end to the season!  The racing action on the full course was by far the closest, cleanest, and most exciting racing of the season.  I donít get to watch a lot of races usually being on course myself, but wow; that was fun to watch.  Four cars battling for the lead lap after lap is what it is all about; good clean racing.  Congratulations to Dave Algozine and Chris Griswold for securing the AI & AIX Midwest region championships for 2007.  I hope to see you all next year. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Chris Griswold

AI / X Director NASA Midwest