St. Petersburg, Florida's Tommy "Hollywood" Graham narrowly lost the 2008 V8 Stockar GTA class Championship to good friend Tony Amico by just four points at the season ending American Road Race of Champions. This year, Graham finds himself again second in points, this time to North Carolina's Kurt Roehrig. With Roehrig unable to make this round, Graham knew he needed to take advantage and pick up a couple wins. Hollywood started the weekend off right by taking the GTA pole with a quick 2:16 and change lap time.
In the V8 GT-1 class, two time champ Dave Machavern holds a comfortable lead, but is still smarting a bit over the last two rounds at Savannah Harbor and Road Atlanta where he was bested by Jeff Emery and Charles Wicht. Machavern and crew chief Tommy Riggins brought a new set up to Sebring and quckly found on the test day, that they had gone in the wrong direction. Riggins dispatched race tech John Metros back to the Jacksonville, Fl shop to re-work the shock package, and as a result Machavern missed qualfiying on saturday morning. Knowing that Wicht was always fast on his Sebring home turf, Machavern had to have a great get-a-way from his last row starting spot.
2009 V8 SPO champ Larry Hoopaugh and runner up Paul Breene have been going at it again this year, trading poles and wins. With just a few points seperating the duo, it looks like it will go down to the ARRC again this year. Breehne put his Rousch-Yates Performance Parts Ford Fusion on the pole with a quick 2:13.005 clocking with Hoopaugh right behind him with Lee Arnold another tick back. Atlanta's Paul Troup took the V8 GT2 pole in his Camaro.
At the drop of the green for Sunday morning's race, Wicht took the point, but an aggressive Machavern was on the move, passing half the field by turn one. Breehne was running second overall just in front of his tormentor Hoopaugh. By the end of lap two Machavern had overwhelmed the field including Wicht, who was struggling with a horrible push in his winged super late model. At the checker, Machavern was nearly one half lap ahead of his closest competitor. Breehne held off Hoopaugh for the V8 SPO win coming home second overall. Wicht faded to fourth overall and second in class.
Hollwood Graham bested "young" Billy Minnear for the GTA win , Minnear, who started his racing career in the mid 60's leads the Central Florida Region SCCA GTA points. Paul Troup took the V8 GT2 win over Dale Lagasse and Terry Taylor.
Sunday afternoon's race found Machavern now starting on the front row as a result of his morning race finish. Everyone was
expecting a barnburner between the electric blue Corvette of Machavern and Wicht's trick super late model complete
with wing and a Dorton racing engines Nascar bred SB2 small block chevy.
At the start Machavern and Wicht went side by side through the high speed turn one with Machavern soon getting by
under braking. By lap two Wicht slowed and pulled off in turn 14 with a shredded left rear tire. Larry Hoopaugh
moved into the second overall position and first in V8 SPO as Breehne struggled with handling issues. Hollywood was
running comfortably in fourth overall and first in GTA with Ray Webb moving up to fifth overall in his ex Ryan Newman
Dodge Charger. At the checker, Machavern had the overall and GT-1 win, with Hoopaugh besting Breehne for SPO.
Graham completed his fine weekend again besting Minnear. Mark Smith got the V8 GT2 win in his BMW over the
Camaro of Troup and Mustang of Dale Lagasse.
The Sebring event was the first round of the Florida "Hurricane Cup" which will go to the highest point winner of the
Sebring and Homestead events. With his two wins and a pole, Tom Graham has a slight edge over Dave Machavern.
Should both Machavern and Graham end up tied after Homestead, Graham's Sebring pole will be decisive for the cup.
The V8 series thanks it partners who help make it all happen, and they are: CFR SCCA, GoPro, RaceTalkRadio.com, Sunoco, Hoosier, Goodyear, Mo's Gold, Howe Racing, FiveStar, RaceCar Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Roehrig-Enders, GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine, Racing Limo's, SaferRacer, Randy Lajoie, Hess Racing Products and Murray's Speed & Custom
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V8 Stockcar Sebring Race Report
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