SVRA has traditionally scheduled this great event just two weeks after their June Watkins Glen race. That really makes it hard for us, as we would have to be on the road for almost a month straight to make both races. Last year we made only the June Watkins Glen race. This year we came to Mid Ohio.
Right after the Mitty we pulled the engine on Edward's black 38 car for some development work. We hoped to have it back in by Mid Ohio, but we didn't make it. Instead we brought Clair Schwendeman's #37 car, Jim Kitzmiller's powerful #37 car and Tony Parella's #99 71 Corvette.
The Duntov team built Tony's 71 from a sad streetcar purchased on November, 2011. Tony was pretty new at vintage racing, having logged two years in his basically stock 1958 Corvette. He knew he had a pretty steep learning curve ahead of him as his new car would be putting about three times more power to the rear wheels than his old one. We finished the car just in time for Tony to run it with his CVAR friends at Eagles Canyon. Tony won that race, and Duntov customer Chad Courty finished second in his Camaro. Tony was consistent, safe and fast enough to win, but he knew that when he came to a real National race, it was not going to be as easy.
Tony did a fantastic job in his first National race with his powerful "new" 1971 Corvette
At Mid Ohio, right out of the box Jim Kitzmiller had engine problems and decided to park his car. Happily, Jim filled in as a crewman for our remaining two cars for the rest of the weekend. None of Duntov's drivers had ever raced at Mid Ohio. Clair had a bit of an advantage having logged a couple hundred laps in his simulator. Clair qualified 7th, with Tony a half second back in 8th.
Close quarters with Clair still learning the track during qualifying in his #37 1968 Corvette
During the qualifying race, Tony improved his lap time by almost 2 seconds and moved up to 7th, but Clair improved his by almost 3 seconds and moved up to 3rd.
At Mid Ohio, there are two feature races, and Clair finished 4th in the Saturday feature while Tony spun and ended up 13th.
Tony and Alan talk strategy before the Enduro
Next up was the 90 minute Enduro. SVRA has an unfortunate policy of putting the Group 6 production based cars in with the Prototype cars for their endurance races, making the Group 6 cars the slowest class in the field. As a natural consequence, only a few Group 6 cars typically participate. In Saturday's 90 Minute Enduro, Tony was the iron man and ran it without a co-driver. He was able to run the entire race without refueling, thanks to the 32 gallon fuel cell in the 99 car. When Tony came in for his two mandatory five minute pit stops, he just sat in the car and waited for the signal to rejoin the race. Tony ran a perfect race, and if there had been anyone else in his class, he would have been tough to beat!
Sunday dawned another beautiful day at Mid Ohio. In the feature race Clair ran a solid third from the green flag, with a fast time of 1:35.398. Tony moved up from his 13th starting position to finish 7th, with a fastest lap of 1:35.498. By the end of the weekend the fastest laps of the two Duntov drivers were within one tenth of a second.
Sean Ryan in his Camaro won the race with Clair close behind in third