It’s been said when Pittsburgh International Raceway (then Beaverun) was built several years ago that the facility had little to no regard for weather reports. Many autocrossers kept their smartphones at their side, watching the radar and calling up weather reports for the next hour. Others packed a few days worth of clothes into their cars in case they got deluged with water again. But for whatever reason, the facility shook off some water from the night before that had drenched the course and opened up patches of blue sky for the last SCCA event on the VDA before the big finale down at Consol Energy Park in Washington Pa. In contrast to event #7’s high speed course, Frank Gaus laid down a unique twisting course featuring two crossovers. This kept drivers arms working hard and their eyes looking far ahead as they weaved through the course.
The morning started off with the SCR’s largest class, the tire index, stomping though the few puddles that were left. Alex Artayet led through the morning runs and held on into the afternoon to finish 16th in PAX and secure 1st place in tire index for the year! However behind Alex things were changing throughout the day. Coming out of the morning Ann Vincent would show the boys how it was done coming into 2nd place, with Fred Beighley’s rejuvenated Dodge Stealth hanging onto 3rd. Jason Amistadi would use his Fiero secure 4th for the morning. However going into the afternoon everything got turned on its head. John Fink has been running very strong all year in his Corvette showing that a large car on street tires can get it done. On his final run of the day John crawled back to a 2nd place finish for the day. Not to be outdone, Mark Sanner followed John’s performance to secure 3rd place. Jason Amistadi however was not so willing to let go of 4th place and dropped almost 2 seconds from his morning runs to stand his ground in the Fiero. Newcomer Ben Heald would round out the top 5 in his Evo X.
When the 2nd heat took to the VDA for the first time, they we’re already enjoying a fairly dry course. The SS class got down to business with the first car into the 39’s being the Jay Gyger Porsche GT3 being driven by Chris Carlisle with a 39.819 on the 2nd pass. Times continued down into the 39’s with a 39.628 by Mark Andy in his Chevrolet “FOR SALE!” Corvette ZO6. However the real shocker was a raw time of 38.729 set by Dan Ireland who had just a single cone. Comically enough, the next two cars to run 38’s would be Mark and Randy Pearson running IDENTICAL 38.957’s with the PAX sheet’s showing Mark leading Randy due to the names being alphabetically arranged. Dan would take it right back with a 38.721 that would lead SS going into the afternoon. Even more impressive was Dan’s run landing a mere three tenths off Frank Gaus’s ASP Evo whose 38.087 was knocking on the door to running a 37 in the afternoon. Shockingly as the afternoon got underway, Frank would never see 37’s out of the Evo and end up standing on his morning runs. This opened the door for one of the SS cars to possibly take the PAX lead away from the Evo. All the vette drivers scrapped and clawed trying to find grip and more time. On his 5th run Mark would knock a tenth off his time to a 38.804, but a mess up on his final run would end his day in 3th place in SS with a 4th place overall PAX position. Mark’s codriver Cory Robb was far from done and on his final run pulled through the lights with a 38.759 that would push Cory the whole way up into 2nd place in SS and 3rd overall in PAX for the day. When the dust settled, Dan Ireland would remain standing on his morning run to hold off Cory by a mere three hundreds of a second to take the win in SS and 2nd overall in PAX just behind the Gaus Evo.
Further down the PAX listing Randy Pearson coming in 5th in his Z06. A final run charge brought Kristi Gaus the whole way from 13th up to 6th overall in the Evo. 7th place came to the Chris Carlisle at the helm of the GT3. Fellow SS competitor Joe Montuoro would end up in 8th in the index, followed closely by Greg Maloy in his STS CRX. Trevor Hill’s Volkswagen R32 would round out the top 10. Some honorable mentions include Mike Ancus who while being nice enough to bring his car out for Dennis Witt to drive, ended up 7th in PAX in the morning while falling back to only 11th in the afternoon. Also Tim Ward put on spectacular morning drive to lead PAX before heat 2 began. Tim eventually found himself trying to hold off returning driver James Turnsheck whose BMW M3 placed just a tenth behind Tim. Tim almost has STU wrapped up for the year, but an appearance by Jonathan Sierra at Consol could put those chances in jeopardy. In other classes, while Brian Dipietro and Megan Biddle fought back & forth in their Team Lobster Taco Racing RX8, they ended with a 1-2 finish in the five driver class. Tim Vincent has shown some serious speed in the past 4 events co-driving Greg’s shifter kart. Greg has been historically fast at Consol so it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top for the year in KM.
Several drivers have their classes sewn up for the year and are now just hoping to improve their DOY standings. Among these drivers is Frank Gaus (ASP), Trevor Hill (DS), Ethan Connor (DSP), Regis Kaminski (FS), Michael Figliolia (STX), Don Fazekas (XP), Greg Maloy (STS), Paul Lynd (ESP), and Chester Charnesky Jr (SSM).
The Steel Cities SCCA season finale will be our Wounded Warrior Project charity event held at Consol Energy Park in Washington PA, October 12th & 13th. For more information click on the link, we hope you’ll join us in supporting this great cause! http://scrsolo.com/schedule/wounded-warrior-project-autocross/
Thanks to Dan Ireland & Michael Figliolia for the pictures!