Factory Five Challenge Series driver John George sent us this report of the most recent Challenge Series race in the mid-west.
6 FFR Challenge cars compete at MidOhio July 26-28, 2013. In attendance Brian Sanders, Greg Wellinghoff Jr, Eric Kostamaa, Lyle Riggen (Team RT Tavi Racing), Rafe Basking, and John George.
Friday test day saw Brian, Eric, Rafe and John using the extra track time to tune their cars. The weather was beautiful, track was dry. This changed to rain Saturday!
Saturday qualifying saw Rafe on pole, with John, Eric, and Gregory in tow. Brian and Lyle not liking rain racing decided to opt out of the race. At the start of the race Rafe and John were nose to tail the first lap with Rafe getting the advantage in the rain maintaining a gap of the front straightaway all of the race to John. John with two laps left hydroplaned off track and had slight contact with the tire wall, forced him to retired from the race not knowing how much damage was done. Gregory took 2nd, and unfortunately Eric at the end of the race failed to complete the last lap coming in with the rest of the field giving 3rd place to John but learning an important lesson in 4th (make sure to get the checker flag!) The rain stopped after the race allowing Brendan Dougherty and Greg Hall to jump on John’s car to get it patched up for Sunday’s race.
Sunday saw beautiful weather returning with everyone on track for warmup. Qualifying Rafe got pole, followed by John, Brian, Eric, Greg, and Lyle. FFR challenge cars were placed at the 3rd flying start at the end of the AI/SI group forcing them to work through a lot of traffic at start. The green flag flew, Rafe got a good jump on John but under braking saw John take the lead and put a bunch of cars between him and the rest of the field. It helped that a spinning mustang right at the start caused everyone behind taking evasive maneuvers to avoid contact. Unfortunately Gregory had to take to the wet grass to avoid the spinning mustang and made heavy contact with the tire wall causing right front suspension damage forcing him to retire from the race. The race was hectic, plagued with multiple yellow flags and a stune of Corvettes, BMWs, Vipers, Camaros smashed up early and middle of the race. By the second restart Rafe caught back up to John and proceeded to have a great battle for the lead. On the last lap of the race battling for the lead at the end of the back straight saw John was on the outside with Rafe inside both super late on the brake. That is when things got exciting, slight body contact between John and Rafe causing Rafe to spin out. This gave John the win with Rafe 2nd, followed by Brian, Eric, Lyle, and Gregory.
John right after the race quickly jumped out of the car, changed out of the race suite and jumped into the rental car racing to the airport. He flew in for the race with Brendan Dougherty hauling his car from PA.
The next race will be back at MidOhio August 23-25, this time trying to start a new tradition by loosely organizing a Factory Five Invitational inviting any and all FFR race cars to come race with all of us regular racers.