The 2016 Pumpkin Carve Weekend was planned to be a time to shine for PAX adjusted class racing. Shine they did, but only when enough light and dry tarmac appeared to allow racing. Day-long soaking rain on Saturday, compliments of Hurricane Matthew, forced one of the rare cancellations in Cumberland Autocross History – but Sunday’s exciting racing and dramatic PAX shootout delivered a great ending to good season at CBE.
The belle of the ball during both morning and afternoon heats was the new-to-them 1974 Dulon C-Mod Formula Ford of John and Vicky Ryan. John was fastest in the morning in the 45 second range and in the warmer afternoon, scorched a 42.957 pass to secure FTD by a 1.3 second margin. The car itself also starred, immaculately turned out for a 42 year old machine.
More newsworthy newness just behind as well, in the persons of rising track star Robbie Wilson, charging up to second overall in Dan Dazzo’s Cayman and local contender Ken Bane achieving the overall podium in his turbocharged SM class Miata. XP winner Karl Loper was fourth and the A Street winning Corvette of Pittsburgh’s Randy Pearson rounded out the Top Five.
Strong performances in the class contests included Eric Hartman’s win in CAMT in his gorgeous ’69 Camaro, topping a five car group, and Philadelphian Andre Downey’s drive in STX. A six-car gaggle in G Street ended up with former Cumberland FTD Dan Whiteman edging Bethel Park’s Bob Killmer in a battle of Focus STs.
The Pumpkin Pax Shootout was a total hoot, pure and simple. Lucas McKenzie was the surprise to top indexed qualifier, but he and Dan Hill, who drove himself into the field late in the day, were both off in their match-up, a first for CBE! On that side of the bracket Jeremy McCauley edged Eric Coffman in an epic quarterfinal pairing by a scant .04 seconds.
On the other side of bracket, veteran Smooth Jim Harris and upstart Robbie Wilson trailered car after car on their way to semi-final clash that went to Harris on the strength of metronome consistency in the mid 37-second PAX range.
In the final, both Harris and McCauley drove their best laps of the shootout. Smooth Jim’s 37.104 covered the Pennsylvanian’s 37.421 to grab a popular special event title at CBE!