MAY 12, 2014

It was a great weekend at VIR for the first race of the 2014 Formula 600 Challenge Series.  8 drivers took to the newly repaved Virginia International Raceway full course.  Saturday started with Qualifying for race 1 before lunch.  Clint McMahan with Satellite Racing took 1st in class and overall pole for the race group that was mixed with Formula F, Club Ford, and Formula Vee.  Fred Edwards was 2nd and George Bugg had great success with his Novakar finally exorcising the final gremlins that plagued him last season to take 3rd in class.  Matt Strand with Satellite Racing, last year’s season champion, was down on power and suffered engine failure early in qualifying.  Two rookies fresh from driver’s school joined the series with Craig Laprade turning in a respectable 6th for only his second weekend in a F600 and his first time to VIR.  Ryan Barth the other rookie joining the series unfortunately had to coast back into the pits on his out lap due to a sheared key on his axle.  Here is the final qualifying order for race 1.

Qualifying for Race #1

  1. Clint McMahan
  2. Fred Edwards
  3. George Bugg
  4. Ted Simmons
  5. Matt Strand
  6. Craig Laprade
  7. Ken Van Horn
  8. Ryan Barth

Race number 1 was scheduled near the end of the day, but Mother Nature had other plans.  Heavy rain, high winds and lightening moved into the area pushing the last three races of the SCCA weekend to Sunday.  Luckily the only reported damaged was a few collapsed canopies and George Bugg and his crewman, Steven Huppenberger, getting trapped in their trailer when their canopy collapsed and wedged the trailer door shut.  With race number 1 getting pushed to Sunday, it was going to make for a very busy day with race #1 for the F600 Challenge starting around 9 am shortened to just 8 laps followed by a 10 minute qualifying just after lunch followed by an 8 lap race #2 late in the day.  Race number 1 started with a very late green flag that caused a bit of an accordion effect towards the back of the field but no contact was made.  Clint McMahan got a good start from pole and went on to win the race.  Matt Strand starting from 9th overall was shot out of a cannon with a fresh Greg Moon engine on the start and leaped to 2nd overall by the second corner.  On lap 2 he then passed Clint McMahan on the approach to the esses to take the overall lead.  With Clint pressuring, Matt spun in hog pen approaching the front straight dropping to 8th overall and giving the lead back to Clint for the start of lap 3.  He then started picking off drivers one by one and worked his way back up to 3rd in class.  Fred Edwards ran a very consistent race starting 3rd overall and 2nd in class and finished 2nd in class.    7 of the 8 cars took the checker with Ted Simmons unable to make the start due to an oil leak.  Here is the final finishing order for race number 1:

Race #1 Results

  1. Clint McMahan (new class track record 2:01.657s)                            —
  2. Fred Edwards                                                                                    +8.4s
  3. Matt Strand                                                                                        +21.4s
  4. George Bugg                                                                                     +23.2s
  5. Craig Laprade                                                                                    +1:50.1s
  6. Ken Van Horn                                                                                     +2:16.5s
  7. Ryan Barth                                                                                         +1 lap

Qualifying for race #2 was shortly after lunch with 6 of the 8 F600’s taking to the track.  Ted Simmons would have his oil leak fixed by race time, but was unable to finish the repair in time for qualifying.  Ken Van Horn also had a mechanical issue that prevented him from qualifying, but he would also make the race.  Due to the compressed schedule qualifying was shortened to only 10 minutes with most drivers only getting 4 laps.  Fred Edwards continued to better his times taking 1st in class for qualifying.  Matt Strand’s effort was cut short on just his 2nd lap due to a wiring short that blew a fuse killing power to the car.  He would end up 2nd.  George Bugg with another good run qualified 3rd.  Clint McMahan developed a transmission issue that could not be fixed at the track in the last lap of race #1 that led him to take it easy in qualifying to preserve the car for the race settling for 4th in class.

Qualifying for Race #2

  1. Fred Edwards
  2. Matt Strand
  3. George Bugg
  4. Clint McMahan
  5. Craig Laprade
  6. Ryan Bart
  7. Ted Simmons
  8. Ken Van Horn

Approaching turn 1 Fred Edwards slipped to 4th with Clint, Matt and George getting by.  From there, things got really hectic.  Clint McMahan slipped his nose up on the inside of Matt putting Matt in the middle with George Bugg trying the outside line making it three wide into turn 1.  Matt was late in braking and ended up dropping two wheels off the outside.  George had braked earlier and was able to turn in behind Matt and get by him.  Fred Edwards trying to avoid the melee in front of him ended up spinning.  Luckily there was no contact and the rest of the field made it by.  Unfortunately this dropped Fred to last overall on lap one.  Matt Strand was able to recover from his off track excursion in lap one and only loose one position by the time they got back around to the start/finish line which he then made up on the next lap.  Unfortunately this gave Clint the gap he needed to hold on for the win.  Clint turned in a new track class track record of 2:00.957s on his third lap opening up the gap to Matt and then settled in to maintaining the gap to Matt to try and preserve his transmission to the end.  He nearly had it taken away in the closing lap when passing a slow lapped car and made minor contact.  Clint went two wheels off to the inside trying to avoid the contact.  Luckily both cars stayed in control after the contact and Clint was able to finish the pass cementing his win.  Ted Simmons starting from the back has a great run.  With some good driving and a little bit of help from some others he was able to work his way up to 3rd in class for the final podium position holding Fred Edwards off by a scant 0.77s.  After the early spin Fred drove like a man possessed picking off cars one after another.  Due to the shortened race he ran out of time and was only able to make it back to 4th in class.  Rookie driver Craig Laprade had a really good showing working himself up to 4th in class and 6th overall by lap 4.  With Ken Van Horn slowing closing the gap, Craig had a spin off driver’s right at the top the esses on lap 6 that let Ken get by for 5th and dropping Craig to a respectable 6th in class for his first event and first time at VIR.  George Bugg had a fueling issue that saw him losing power as the laps went on, eventually dropping out on lap 5 due to a suspected fuel pump failure.

Race #2 Results

  1. Clint McMahan (class track record – 2:00.957s)                                —
  2. Matt Strand                                                                                        +18.6s
  3. Ted Simmons                                                                                     +1:16.2s
  4. Fred Edwards                                                                                    +1:17.0s
  5. Ken Van Horn                                                                                    +2:12.1s
  6. Craig Laprade                                                                                   +2:16.2s
  7. Ryan Barth                                                                                        +1 Lap
  8. George Bugg                                                                                    +3 Lap

We are very thankful for our sponsors who have made this series possible:

The Formula 600 Challenge series was developed to help promote an affordable open wheel formula car to showcase talent without large financial race budgets. The Formula 600 open wheel cars use a 600cc motorcycle engine and a 6 speed sequential transmission revving up to 14,000 rpm with speeds in excess of 135 mph. The sound of this drive train is likened to a F1 car.

Please visit our website: www.theformula600challenge.com

For more information contact:

Jim Murphy                                  Fred Edwards
jdmurphy47@aol.com                f.edwards@metalloidcorp.com
770-861-2337                             260-438-4295