The V8 Series weekend at Savannah Harbor RaceCourse was a weekend of firsts. It was the first time the V8 Series competed with Historic SportsCar Racing, the first time at the interesting and fun track on the Savannah riverfront, the first time our stock Cars and GT cars had their own group, and the first time we have raced when it was more than 100 degrees in the shade! The Savannah Harbor RaceCourse proved to be challenging and entertaining, and as V8 racer Butch Kummer aptly opined, "this thing has a lot more character than what shows from Google earth or in car video's."
Many of the V8 racers showed up for test days on thursday and friday. They quickly took a liking to the two mile circuit that features some elevation change, very tight sections, heavy braking areas, two long straights and a very fast, heavily banked turn one that had competitors thinking they had somehow wandered onto Rockingham Speedway.
Former V8 GT1 Champ Jeff Emery was a late entry and didn't make the test day, but quickly had his fast Fred Strube built winged Monte Carlo flying around the circuit. Emery put his red, white & blue racer on the pole with a 1:15.9 and change clocking. Dave Machavern's Heritage Motorsports Corvette was second in GT-1 and third overall behind the HSR spec ex TA Mustang of Don Soenen. Former IMSA Camel GT racer Pete Kirill
brought out his BEMCO built, Tommy Riggins prepped Camaro, a car that was a former class winner at the Rolex 24 hours. It had been more than twenty years since Pete last raced, but he quickly showed he hadn't forgotten the technique. Larry Cope and Ray Webb were on hand in a couple more Riggins built cars. Gene Felton was competing in his new Hamke built 1975 Nova, a re-creation of his ex IMSA championship car.
At the green on saturday's GT race, Emery used all the muscle in his potent chevy mill and led into one. The fast banked section was much to Jeff's liking as the Altamonte Springs, Florida racer got his start in circle track late models. To say he was quick through turn one is an understatement. Emery pulled away from Soenen and Machavern over the first few laps at about one second per lap while they battled for position. Felton in the Nova, Cope in his Buick Somerset Regal and Kirill in the Camaro ran strong throughout the race.
At the checker, it was Emery, Soenen in the HSR spec car, Machavern, Cope, Felton and Kirill. Grand Am racer, Ron Zitza, driving Brad Blum's Porsche 914-6 was impressive, cutting some very quick laps. Zitza took the V8 GT2 class win in the racer that was built and prepped in his Winter Park, Florida, Zotz Garage Porsche performance shop.
Next up was the stock car guys, featuring former Nascar Dash champ Larry Hoopaugh, Grand Am Daytona Prototype competitor JC France, VIR double winner Kurt Roehrig, ARCA competitior Willie Mullins, Grand Am Continental Tire Series racer, Squeak Kennedy,Alabama's Reuse brothers, Hollywood Graham, Roebling winner Harry Harper, 2009 GTA champ Randy Walker and HSR stalwart Don Soenen.
In the stock car group qualifying, Larry Hoopaugh (V8 SPO) had it all dialed in cutting a fast 1:20 and change, with JC France about a second back.Kurt Roehrig took the V8 GTA honors with a 1:21.xxx clocking with Bobby Reuse, Tom Graham, Randy Walker, Squeak Kennedy and Roger Reuse following.
Hoopaugh easily led into turn one at the start of saturday's race, with JC France next and a determined Kurt Roehrig closely behind. Bobby Reuse was running strong in fourth overall and second in GTA in his Hamner powered late model. 2009 GTA champ Randy Walker and Harry Harper got together resulting in both having to retire. Hollywood Graham was showing some strength in his Ford powered GTA entry and was having a good battle with Lee Arnold in his SPO Impala. Don Soenen and Willie Mullins were going at it, Soenen in an ex Quaker State cup car and Mullins in the Bugsy's Automotive ARCA Monte Carlo that he and Dave Planakis prepare. Roger Reuse in his late model and Squeak Kennedy in a ASA type Monte Carlo were also having a good go.
When the checker flew, Hoopaugh had a several second advantage for the overall and SPO class win. JC France came home second overall and second in SPO chased to the checker by GTA winner Roehrig. Bobby Reuse and Hollywood Graham came home second and third in GTA, followed by the SPO cars of Arnold, Soenen and Mullins.
Sundays' GT race started with Emery again on the pole, with Soenen in the HSR Mustang and Machavern in the Corvette just behind. The green dropped and Emery roared off again, running laps a good second or more faster than his closest competition and was not challenged. Machavern dropped out on lap five with an ailing motor, with Ray Webb leaving about the same time with failing brakes. At the finish,Emery was there first overall and GT1 ahead of the HSR spec Mustang of Soenen. Richard Liebhaber was next in his Grand Am GT typeFerrari and Mickey Craig in a Viper Competition Coupe. Brad Blum got the GT2 win over Ralph Tolman's Ferrari 308.
In the Stock Car Sunday race, Hoopaugh again took the overall and SPO class honors in his HGC Monte Carlo, followed by France and GTA winner Bobby Reuse. Kurt Roehrig had led early in GTA but brake issues slowed his charge. Willie Mullins made a couple of exciting passes to get a podium in SPO and come home fifth overall.
The V8 StockCar Series wishes to thank Historic Sports Car Racing for the invite to compete with them and for the great job they did with handling the logistics of the event. HSR's courteous and helpful staff made it a fun weekend for all.
V8StockCar.com wishes to thank its' partners who help make it happen and they are: HSR,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 and Hess Racing Products
for more info on the series check out http://www.v8stockcar.com
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Emery & Hoopaugh Shine @ Savannah Harbor
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