Midwest Region NASA AI/X CMC Race October 21 & 22, 2006 – Road America


The late October weather proved to be unseasonably cool for the last race weekend for the Midwest Region.  Rain was in the forecast for both days, with cool temperatures in high thirties.  With a wet morning practice, most of the American Iron cars were satisfied with just keeping it on the track in the cool wet conditions.  When qualifying came around, it was a different story.  The pole setters in AI & AIX left very little on the table during qualifying.  The drying conditions allowed Brian Groth to snatch the pole from Bob Denton with a 2:38.060.  Chris Griswold grabbed the AIX pole with a 2:25.105, over 11 seconds faster per lap than any other car on the track.  Matt King was atop the CMC pole with a 2:48.619.

Saturday Qualifying Results AIX

1.      Chris Griswold       2:25.105

2.      Fred Fetzer            2:36.204

3.      Bill Collins  2:42.726

4.      Gene Vantluka        2:51.840


Saturday Qualifying Results AI

1.      Brian Groth            2:38.060

2.      Bob Denton            2:38.907

3.      David Algozine       2:40.043

4.      Sidney Franklin       2:41.357

5.      Mark Ruhling          2:41.866

6.      Bryan White           2:46.682

7.      Jeff Henderson       2:46.698


Saturday Qualifying Results CMC

1. Matt King                 2:48.619

2. Gene Borton 3:08.668







A cold drizzle started to fall about an hour before the race on Sunday.  Race time would not improve at all as it was a cold and wet start to the race.  AI points leader Brian Groth blew up a differential in qualifying and would have to start in the back of the field in his backup car.  The start had Chris Griswold and Fred Fetzer in the front battling for the top spot into turn one and Fred gave up the position under braking.  Dave Algozine also had a good start and was directly behind Fetzer for the first couple laps.    All the cars were slipping and sliding in the increasing bad weather at the start of the race.  Griswold was leading Fetzer into turn 8 when he locked up his brakes and went straight off deep into the sand as Fetzer would take the lead as the field went by.  The AI battle was much more contested as Sidney Franklin was the big mover from third place to take the lead by lap 2.  Sidney proved to be the master of the rain line and had the fastest AI lap in the rain at a 3:23.450.  Unfortunately, a pass under yellow gave Sidney a DQ, nullifying the wet weather driving clinic he put on during the race.  Bob Denton qualified third, but would start at the back of the field as he missed the call to grid.  Bob would also have a good drive and ended up second at the end of the race.  AIX would have Fetzer leading until the last two laps when he pulled off because he could not see due to his windshield fogging up in the poor conditions.  Bill Collins drove to victory in AIX followed by Griswold in second after working his way back up after his off in turn 8.  Matt King would also have an off in Canada corner, but recovered to finish the CMC race after Borton was out with water pump problems.  This race was treacherous at the start, and half way through the rain got heavier.  Many people were off in the sand during the race, but the Road America crews did a fantastic job getting everyone out in one lap or less.  What is even more amazing is that with 33 cars out there, struggling for grip in the wet conditions, dealing with fogging windows, spray from other cars, we had ZERO contact on course.  That was some great heads up driving guys.




Race Results Saturday AIX

1.      Bill Collins

2.      Chris Griswold

3.      Gene Vantluka

4.      Fred Fetzer


Race Results Saturday AI

1.      David Algozine

2.      Bob Denton

3.      Brian Groth

4.      Jeff Henderson

5.      Bryan White

6.      Marc Ruhling

7.      Sidney Franklin – DQ, pass under yellow


Race Results Saturday CMC

1.      Matt King

2.      Gene Borton – DNS


The Saturday night dinner was sponsored by G & V Machine and was held at Siebkins in Elkhart Lake.  150 people enjoyed the banquet style dinner indoors while watching in-car race video from exciting moments during the year, and one extremely well documented “off” in turn eight from lap one of the race earlier in the day.  Overnight the snow started falling and most of us woke up and had to brush off the 2 inches of snow that fell overnight that stuck to the vehicles.  Sunday arrival at the track had the track wet for the first practice session.  The snow that fell overnight luckily did not stick to the track and the warmer ground temperatures left the track wet instead of snow covered. 


Sunday qualifying had the track drying with a very strong wind and temperatures in the high thirties.  Chris Griswold, Dave Algozine and Matt King let it all hang out in the drying conditions to take the pole positions in AIX, AI & CMC. David Algozine battling with Jeff Henderson for 2nd place in season points battle and grabbed the 4 pole position points.



Sunday Qualifying Results AIX

5.      Chris Griswold       2:25.925

6.      Fred Fetzer            2:35.291

7.      Gene Vantluka        2:53.665

8.      Bill Collins  2:54.193


Sunday Qualifying Results AI

8.      David Algozine       2:35.476

9.      Brian Groth            2:41.100

10.  Bob Denton            2:41.786

11.  Sidney Franklin       2:45.513

12.  Mark Ruhling          2:48.652

13.  Jeff Henderson       2:49.362

14.  Bryan White           3:15.458


Sunday Qualifying Results CMC

1. Matt King                 2:52.492

2. Gene Borton 3:01.587


Sundays season ending race would have Griswold rocket off at the start and leave the battles for AI.  Algozine got a great start and even took the position ahead of the AIX car of Fetzer while trying to hold off Denton in his mirrors.  Fetzer would eventually get by again and left the AI cars of Groth, Denton, Franklin and Algozine to battle it out for position.  Denton and Franklin would get by Groth in his backup car at the start challenge Algozine for a first few corners.  Denton and Algozine would battle for the entire race as Denton was reeling in Algozine, but the lapped traffic helped Algozine, but hampered Denton’s efforts to challenge for the lead.  Algozine took the win and with it passed Henderson for 2nd place in the championship.  All three track records would fall on this day.  Griswold in AIX with a 2:22.552, Algozine in AI with a 2:34.815, and King in CMC with a 2:50.013, congratulations!  The AIX race had Griswold leading by over a minute when the power steering reservoir would crack and eventually leave him with no power steering, having to pull off with 3 laps to go.  Fred Fetzer then took the lead and never looked back. King again took the CMC win with Borton pulling off with mechanical trouble.


Sunday Race Results AIX

1.  Fred Fetzer             2:33.597

2.  Gene Vantluka         2:48.915

3.  Chris Griswold        2:22.552

4.  Bill Collins               2:37.274


Sunday Race Results AI

1.  Dave Algozine         2:34.815

2.  Bob Denton 2:35.951

3.  Brian Groth 2:37.682

4.  Sidney Franklin        2:40.408

5.  Marc Ruhling           2:39.464

6.  Jeff Henderson        2:44.393


Sunday Race Results CMC

1. Matt King                 2:50.013

2. Gene Borton 2:56.398


All in all, it was a great race weekend, even with the lousy weather.  Congratulations to Chris Griswold and Brian Groth securing the AIX & AI championships both for two years in a row!  It has been a great year for the Midwest region.  The continued growth and increased competition are sign of even better things to come. 


I would personally like to thank all the American Iron competitors for all your time and effort you put in this year.  It has been an awesome time, and the camaraderie in this region makes the events truly fun to attend.  We have a great group of racers in the region, and I hope to see you all next year. Just remember before we all go into winter hibernation, 2007 will be even better!  I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the banquet in February.





Chris Griswold

NASA AI/X & CMC Director - Midwest Region

#17 AIX




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