Friday May 11
Events 17, 18, 19 - Watkins Glen Time Trials
There were three events scheduled for the second trip to Watkins Glen. At the beginning of the day, the 1st place #10 Viper ACR had a 115 point lead over 2nd place. The 2nd place #2 Superformance had a 65 point lead over the #8 Dodge Viper. Both margins are comfortable this late in the game. But there were two unknown factors. First, Watkins Glen is Ron Adee's (#8 Viper) home track. Dennis clearly showed at VIR that the home track advantage is real. Second is the "let it all hang out" last event factor. In years past, the "let it all hang out" factor has put some top contenders off the track and out of the top 10. This year would be different.
In the first event, the #8 Dodge Viper found new wings and beat the 2nd place #29 Mazda RX7 by 4.8 seconds in an event where the margin of victory is typically a second or less. Dennis in #2 wound up in 8th place, 11.1 seconds behind 1st. The margin for 2nd tightened to 30 points.
In the second event, the #8 Dodge Viper again showed surprising speed, posting a 2nd place finish 0.4 seconds behind the 1st place #88 Corvette Z06. Dennis turned up the wick and pulled out a 5th, a much improved 5.1 seconds behind the #8 Viper. The gap for 2nd place closed to 15 points.
For the third run it was all or nothing. Dennis took everything out of the car including the hardtop and the passenger's seat. As the observers commented, he drove like a wild man. Nothing was left on the track. The #8 Viper again showed uncharacteristic blinding speed and pulled out another 1st, 5.8 seconds ahead of the 2nd place #10 Viper ACR. Dennis' extraordinary efforts brought him in at 4th position, 8.2 seconds behind the #8 Viper.
When the dust settled, the #10 Viper ACR retained its grip on 1st. The extraordinary efforts of the #8 Viper resulted in a tie for 2nd place overall with the #2 Superformance.
What to do about a tie? From the One Lap web site, the official rules state "To be overall winner and all class winners will be determined by the total high scores accrued from each of the contests along the route. Trophies will be awarded far [sic] overall standings and class winners." There is no provision for breaking ties, so by the rules, a tie stands as a tie. Nevertheless, the One Lap officials decided to use the cumulative lap times as a tie breaker. On that basis, 2nd place overall was awarded to the #8 Viper and our Olthoff/Lee team was awarded 3rd overall. Making up (or disclosing) the rules when the event is over is very bad form. But Dennis and Rick did a fine job and I will not detract from their sterling accomplishments by grousing.
In Vintage American, the leading #57 Corvette GSR came in 9th in the first round and then DNF'ed the remaining two. Barry had a slow start with a 36th in the first round, but followed it up with a strong 24th and then a 25th. The GSR held onto 1st in Vintage American by the slimmest of margins - 5 points. The Kline/Roxbury team finished a strong 2nd in class. Great job guys!
Dennis and Rick have given Superformance an amazing victory - again. And Barry and Jim put the icing on the cake. The amazing thing is this. Both cars are basically box stock Superformance. The engines are both stroked 351W's, 408 and 396 CID respectively, that are available to any Superformance owner. And that makes it all the more amazing.
In the days and weeks ahead I will be adding more stories and pictures to complete the story. Check in and check it out.