CHAMBERLAIN BREAKS STRANO SPELL TO TAKE DOUBLE FTD
Drivers and spectators alike savored spectacular Fall weather and colors for the Pumpkin Carve, the last dance of the Cumberland Airport autocross season. SCCA National champ Sam Strano in his sleek new Grand Sport Corvette returned to defend his Harvest Moon double raw and PAX FTD victory. There was no shortage of fast drivers to challenge him, but gone with the summer heat were the open wheel formula racers that dominated the action earlier this season. Competitors received a bounteous seven runs, which they welcomed, as it took a few laps to get heat in the tires in the crisp Autumn mountain air.
On Saturday, Strano’s best clean pass of 43.1 opened a commanding early FTD lead in the second heat, staving off Super Stock challengers and fellow Pennsylvanians Chris Carlisle and Jay Gyger, who co-piloted Gyger’s arrest-me red GT3 Porsche. But in the Thundering Third heat, CBE regular and perennial FTD winner Wade Chamberlain in his homebrewed Factory Five Cobra snapped Strano’s hot streak decisively with an on-the-ragged-edge run of 42.5, to take FTD. Sam and Wade were followed in raw time standings by Carlisle, Virginian Gary Hughes in his Lotus 7 clone, and Gyger, while Strano, Carlisle, and Gyger took top PAX honors. Local drivers did well Saturday, with Gary Miller finishing his day 8th in raw time and 7th in PAX, and several other local boys racking up contested class wins, including Pete Harrison in B Stock (S2000), Ken Bane in C Stock (Miata), Buddy Haines in F Stock (Mustang), Darryl Imhoff in G Stock (Civic), and Steve Wilson in E Prepared (944 Porsche).
Sunday’s course was even more twisty, but the steel gray deck of low clouds that chilled the tarmac the day before yielded to a bright sun in a bluebird sky, and a more open finish segment made the times a bit faster. Another renowned Central PA SCCA ‘Vette jockey, Dan Ireland, showed up to tangle with Strano, Carlisle/Gyger, Miller, and the other Corvettes in the tough and fun to watch Super Stock class. Carlisle set the pace with a strong 42.6 in the second heat. This time, Strano would lurk in the fourth and final heat, along with Ireland, waiting to see what snakecharmer Chamberlain would throw down in the third. And throw down he did. Arms flailing to control drift in the turns, and plumes of smoke pouring from his tires as brakes locked in the straights, Wade dropped the bar to 41.6 on his sixth run. Despite some heroic and spectacular efforts, Strano and the other 4th heat groundpounders could not top that. Chamberlain closed the CBE season with a double FTD and XP class victory, followed in raw time standings by Strano, Carlisle, Ireland, and Howard Lieken (Lotus Elise SSM), with PAX laurels going to Strano, Carlisle, and Ireland. Local top ten finishers Sunday included Gary Miller (Corvette SS) again, and Tink Phillips (Factory Five Daytona XP), while native sons Pete Harrison, Daryl Imhoff, and Steve Wilson scored double class wins for the weekend. Top notch driving and an impressive array of fast cars made for a spectacular close to another grand season of airport autocrossing.