72 DECEMBER 2019 scca.com
The rain clouds were coming for VIR by Sunday
afternoon’s GT-1 race but, as it
turned out, there were other
plans for a slippery surface.
You see, a car at the rear of the
field ran the pace lap and took
the green with oil leaking on
the surface, giving the ground-pounders a touch of lightning
with their thundering engines.
With the surface slick in
a variety of places, four cars
slid off track on the opening
lap, including the Tire Rack
polesitting Ave Motorsports Inc.
Chevrolet Corvette of Tony Ave.
That allowed four-time SCCA
Pro Racing Trans Am class
champion Ernie Francis Jr.,
making his first Runoffs start,
to take over the race lead.
“The conditions out there
were definitely the ones where
you want to be second in
the race for most of it to see
what the guy in front of you
does and what the conditions
are like,” Francis said.
Ave charged back and
was in front when a big off by
Ron Malec tossed him into the
guardrail in dramatic fashion
(Malec quickly jumped out
of the car). At that point, the
field was brought to pit lane
under a red flag and sat for
nearly 30 minutes as oil dry
was laid down throughout the
length of the 3.27-mile circuit.
The field marched back
out for two pace laps and a
three-lap race to determine
this year’s National Champion.
SLIP AND SLIDE
(BELOW) Trans Am champ Ernie Francis Jr. drove a quick but cautious pace during
the abbreviated GT-1 race to claim a National Championship title in his first Runoffs
outing. (BOTTOM LEFT) Tony Ave started on the Tire Rack pole but was one of the
first victims of the oil slicked track. He recovered for a runner-up finish. (BOTTOM
RIGH T) 2017 GT-1 champion David Pintaric motored to the final step on the podium.
Ave was cautious, knowing
he had a hungry and brave
21-year old on his tail.
“When we got going again,
I did the best I could,” Ave said.
“I got to Hog Pen and it was
the only part of the racetrack
where I couldn’t sort of test
the grip on the pace lap in the
oil dry and I just was going too
fast and I couldn’t stop it.”
Ave slid off in the final
corner and continued, but
RACE 25 | SUNDAY | OCT. 13, 2019 | 1:00 P.M.
Qualifying Pos. Driver/Region (Car)
Best Time; 1. Tony Ave/CCR
(Chevrolet Corvette) 1: 43.857;
2. Ernie Francis Jr./FLA (Ford
Mustang) 1: 44.061; 3. Ron Malec/
CCR (Ford Mustang) 1: 47. 102;
4. Michael Lewis/SanD (Jaguar
XKR) 1: 47.365; 5. David Pintaric/
MVR (Cadillac CTS-V) 1: 48.358;
6. Todd Peterson/Colo (Ford
Mustang) 1: 50.709; 7. J Richard
Grant/Atl (Chevrolet Corvette)
1: 52.282; 8. David Fershtand/Tex
(Chevrolet Corvette Z06)
1: 52.639; 9. Zachary Monette/Atl
(Ford Mustang) 1: 52.911; 10. Ron
Fariss/NCR (Chevrolet Corvette)
1: 55.397; 11. Juan Vento/GPR
(Chevrolet Corvette) 2:00.137;
12. Paige Monette Alexander/Atl
(Chevrolet Corvette) 2:00.467
Fariss - Loss of qualifying 1 times
per Chief Steward - GCR 9. 3. 25.A
Pintaric - Loss of qualifying 3 times
per Chief Steward - GCR 9. 3. 50
Race 9 laps, 29 Miles: Pos. Driver
(Laps); 1. Ernie Francis Jr. ( 9);
2. Tony Ave ( 9); 3. David Pintaric
( 9); 4. Todd Peterson ( 9); 5. J
Richard Grant ( 9); 6. David
Fershtand ( 9); 7. Paige Monette
Alexander ( 9); 8. Ron Fariss ( 9);
9. Juan Vento ( 9); 10. Ron Malec
(1); 11. Zachary Monette (1);
12. Michael Lewis (0); 13. John
Overall Time of Race: 53: 54.686;
Average Race Speed: 32.754mph;
Margin of Victory: 1.838sec;
Fastest Race Lap: Ave 1: 48.562
(108.436mph); Francis Jr. laps 1,
7-9; Ave laps 2-6; Sunoco Hard
ERNIE FRANCIS JR.
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