American Iron Race Report – Mid-America Motorplex June 17 & 18 2006


Round 4 of the NASA Midwest Region was held at Mid America Motorplex in Pacific Junction Iowa, which is just a few miles Southeast of Omaha, Nebraska.  The weather was once again hotter than normal with temperatures in the Mid 90’s.  The American Iron and American Iron Extreme group had the largest group of the weekend with 15 cars and earned themselves an entire run group by themselves.  It was good to see, as the action on the track produced by far, the best AI race I have seen. 


Saturday qualifying had the AI guys battling throughout the entire session for fast lap.  When it was over, the top 4 positions were within a quarter of a second, Wow!  Matt Ericson had the AI pole; Buddy Cisar claimed the AIX pole.  The results for qualifying were as follows:

AI Qualifying - Saturday    Best Time

1. Matt Ericson                     1:42.611

2. Ted Schwartz                    1:42.703

3. Brian Groth                        1:42.787

4. Bob Denton                      1:43.015

5. Richard Cranston             1:44.009

6. David Algozine                1:45.003

7. Sidney Franklin                1:45.886

8. Bryan White                     1:48.097

9. Jeff Henderson                 1:49.334

10. Mark Luna                       1:52.781



1. Buddy Cisar                      1:43.793

2. Bill Collins                         1:47.194

3. Gene Vantluka                  1:53.839

4. Chris Nickell                      1:54.025


The AIX race had Cisar taking the green flag but mechanical problems would eventually hand over the lead to Collins followed by Vantluka and Nickell at the end.  The AI race was much more contested as the drivers continually swapped positions with no metal to metal contact throughout. The exciting AI race start was just the beginning of an entire race full of overtaking, multiple lead changes and close battles throughout the entire field.  This race was by far the most exciting amateur race that I have watched. The green flag waved and the start had Brian Groth in 3rd place get caught in to high of a gear and he would drop back to 8th place by the first corner.  Denton pulled a great out braking maneuver on Ericson going into turn 5 on cold tires on lap one to take the lead.  Ericson followed closely and would take the position back on lap 2 in the last corner as Denton went a bit wide.  Groth worked his way back to fifth place by lap three getting by Franklin.  Lap 6 had the top 5 cars bumper to bumper with Ericson in the lead followed by Denton, Schwartz, Groth and Cranston.  Growths’ experience at this track showed when he could continually gain ground going into the last series of corners which would set him up nicely for a good launch down the main straightaway.  Groth got by Denton on lap 10 after numerous times showing his nose but not completing the pass.  Lap 11 had Groth and Ericson side by side in turn 5 were Denton also followed him through to take back 2nd position.  Three quarters of the way through the race still had the top 5 AI cars bumper to bumper.  Numerous side by side passing attempts were made, some successful, some not, were attempted almost every lap.  Denton and Ericson would continue to battle for second easily swapping positions at least 6 times in the final two laps.  Denton would end up with the position as Ericson would have some mechanical gremlins that would continually pop up in turn five, giving Denton the 2nd position in the end.  Brain Groth set the track record in the race which would stand all weekend at a 1:41.715.  Qualifying Results do not count towards track records.


AI Race Results – Saturday Best Time

1. Brian Groth                        1:41.715

2. Bob Denton                      1:42.838

3. Matt Erickson                   1:42.787

4. Ted Schwartz                    1:42.785

5. Richard Cranston             1:43.103

6. Sidney Franklin                1:44.247

7. David Algozine                1:43.922

8. Bryan White                     1:47.189

9. Jeff Henderson                 1:50.186

10. Mark Luna                       1:53.975



1. Bill Collins                         1:47.161

2. Gene Vantluka                  1:53.585

3. Chris Nickell                      1:52.547

4. Buddy Cisar     


Sunday again saw some very warm temperatures with a serious threat of rain.  Qualifying was again hotly contested with the top four cars all serrated by less than .35 seconds.  Ted Schwartz laid down a blistering lap before suffering fatal engine problems which would keep him from taking the flag in the race.  Brian Groth again showed his strength by taking the pole position with a smoking lap of 1:41.216.  Just after qualifying the skies got very dark all around, but we escaped with some wind and cooler temperatures. 

AI Qualifying - Sunday Best Time

1. Brian Groth                        1:41.216

2. Ted Schwartz                    1:41.278

3. Bob Denton                      1:41.438

4. Richard Cranston             1:41.551

5. Matt Erickson                   1:43.388

6. Sidney Franklin                1:44.034

7. David Algozine                1:44.894

8. Bryan White                     1:45.698



1. Buddy Cisar                      1:41.694

2. Bill Collins                         1:46.152

3. Gene Vantluka                  1:52.865

4. Chris Nickell                      1:53.983







The cooler temperatures after qualifying lasted about an hour, as the sun, 94 degree heat, and plenty of humidity returned for race time.  The start of the race had Groth and Denton on the front row.  The green flag waved as Groth got by Denton into one and kept the lead until lap 3. Lap three had Denton all over Groth again until he made a small mistake in the last turn which allowed Denton to take the lead going into turn one.  Groth would recover to retake the position only two laps later and slowly pull away.  Denton would them retake the lead again after Groth pulled off after the last turn with a mechanical failure.  Denton managed to hang on for the victory followed by Erickson and Franklin.  Cranston ran strong early but would have some problems of his own spinning a couple of times on the back side of the track and slipping back to fifth place

AI Race Sunday                   Best Time

1. Bob Denton                      1:42.590

2. Matt Erickson                   1:43.894

3. Sidney Franklin                1:44.373

4. David Algozine                1:44.456

5. Richard Cranston             1:42.973

6. Bryan White                     1:45.679

7. Jeff Henderson                 1:46.087

8. Mark Luna                         1:43.694

9. Brian Groth                        1:41.979



1. Buddy Cisar                      1:42.590

2. Bill Collins                         1:47.082

3. Gene Vantluka                  1:52.516

4. Chris Nickell                      1:54.041


The weekend turned out to be a huge success.  MAM is truly a fantastic facility with terrific track management who go out of their way to accommodate our requests.  The track is very safe for the racer with lots of runoff room.  The layout of the track produced some great passing opportunities with the most passing and side by side racing that I have seen in amateur racing.  I would also like to thank all the AI racers for coming out for an entire weekend of racing with no contact between cars.  It truly says a lot for the quality of the race drivers to have tremendously close racing, numerous passes, multiple lead changes all without contact.  That is the way it is supposed to be done guys, keep up the great racing.  Our next event will be July 22nd and 23rd at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet Illinois.   Check out, or NASA Midwest - National Auto Sport Association information and directions.



Chris Griswold

NASA Midwest Region AI, AIX, CMC Director




Chris Griswold

NASA Midwest Region AI, AIX, CMC Director



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