With nearly 1,000 people at the Cumberland Airport over the busy Harvest Moon Autocross, 175 entries tangled in a Mason Dixon Shootout weekend that ended up pretty much like the real one. Early Southern victories followed by Northern triumph.
SATUDAY TOP FIVE AND PAX
With eight slots in the shoot-out on the line for drivers on either side of the Mason Dixon line, focus was razor sharp among the fastest Saturday entrants – resulting in the tightest finishing overall Top Five in Cumberland Autocross history.
Veteran Virginian Gary Hughes in his Bruton Stalker ran a lap for the angels to secure FTD with a 42.584. Karl Loper’s GTM was only .098 behind, edging top Pennsylvania qualifier Matt Parson by a mere .001. Steve Caitlin’s SSR C6 Corvette was fourth, .195 seconds back and Jeremy McCauley was just .057 behind him.
The top five was covered by just .351 seconds. By way of comparison, Bruce Wesley’s Super Street Corvette Z51 won PAX by twice that margin,
MASON DIXON SHOOTOUT
In the fourth run group, there was a “whole lotta bumping goin’ on” with Jeff Schliffka racing his way into the eighth Team PA slot and Rocket Robbie Wilson driving his 944 Cup car up into seventh on the World Team late in the session.
On the left side of the shoot out bracket, PA#1 Matt Parson and World #2 Karl Loper moved without incident to their semi-final showdown. Then, oddly, Parson laid down a sizzling lap but looped after finish (a DQ in Cumberland), Loper was faster in raw time, but snagged a late cone. As the two drivers mulled over the feeling of kissing their sister, they agreed to a gentleman’s do-over! The gracious Karl Loper finished the job clean to make the final.
On the right side of the bracket, upsets ruled. In the first round, Jeff Schliffka took out World #1 Hughes and World #6 Jake Moran trailered PA #3 Wesley. World # 3 seed Steve Caitlin dispatched upset-mind Schliffka in semi-finals to reach an all-World final.
Virginia reclaimed West Virginia in the final as Caitlin’s C6 ran mid-42s again to win the first Mason Dixon Shoot Out in impressive style over ever-faster rocket maker Loper.
SUNDAY TOP FIVE AND PAX
With the field now up to 95, perhaps anticipating the Motorcycle Cannonball lunch visit, very tight competition at the top of the field continued. If the South won Saturday, the outcome favored the Union side of the Mason Dixon on Sunday.
Oh-so-close several times this year – Matt Parson in Don Fazekas’ LS3 powered XP Miata broke through at the Harvest Moon and captured his first Cumberland Airport FTD, with a smokin’ 42.021, edging Summer Sizzler FTD Howard Leikin by .091. Usual suspects Hughes, McCauley and Loper filled out the Top Five, each only a tenth or so ahead other with all five packed within .540, again unusually close for Cumberland.
Smooth Jim Harris, bubble bump victim on Saturday, rose above the field to win Sunday PAX, edging up-and-coming Ford driver Jonathan Leyh’s beautiful Focus RS by .091. First time Cumberland entrant Chris Cann made the podium in a well-driven MR2, another tenth of second back.
Fraser Dachille and Jaclyn Heck took some great photos. Enjoy and download, drivers and fans