CARS VERSUS NATURE – On the prospect of winning V8 and 4-cylinder shootouts, 134 entries graced the entry sheets on Summer Sizzler weekend. By Sunday night, all promises were kept…but not before another dance with the unpredictable upper Potomac River basin weather.
An early afternoon wind driven deluge flattened pop-ups and moved the porta-pots, even destroying the 13 year old Short Gap Lions food tent, a CBE fixture. Run Group 1 was dry. After a stand down, Run Group 2 was damp but reasonable. Organizers surrendered early in Group 3 when the lightning arrived, closing the day’s racing and delaying the shoot out to Sunday. Among astericked Top Five Finishers, FTD Jeremy McCauley, Robert Kilmer, Rob Charnesky and Steve Caitlin all ran in the dry. Matt Parson in the XP LSV8m powered Miata snagged fifth with a impressive wet run in Group 2 that turned out to foreshadow Sunday results.
The Sunday forecast was similar to Saturday, leading organizers and entrants to embark on an accelerated schedule get the day’s competition in before any precip arrived. Worked like a charm. Matt Parson rolled right from good Saturday wet session to Sunday dry FTD, followed by Steve Catlin, Howard Leikin, Eric Coffman and Tink Phillips in the Top Five Overall.
Parson and Catlin then held serve all the way to the final round of the V8 SuperCar Shoot, trailering Eric Fargo and Karl Loper respectively in the semi-final round. In the finals, Steve Catlin’s ’08 ZO6 almost pulled a repeat of his Mason Dixon Shootout win last fall, running his best raw time of the day, 39.829, but whacked a cone in the showcase turn, handing the trophy to Parson’s LS powered Miata on the strength of a sold 40.032 pass.
The four cylinder field was expanded to eight cars and was faster on average than the V8’s in qualifying times. Nobody had ANYTHING for 2016 Cumberland FTD Howard Leiken’s track beast Lotus. In winning the final round against Ken Bane’s sweet SSM Miata, Howard ran an astounding 39.192 second pass, well under Matt Parson’s event FTD time of 39.566.