|The Closer: Felten Hangs A Double Moon.
WILEY FORD, WV - History is an illusive concept, confirmed only after the fact –largely invisible to the people who participate in its events. The Cumberland Autocross Series began in 2003, chasing the history of great grassroots sports car competition staged here half a century before.
It was clear, as the eighth season of Cumberland series reached the penultimate Harvest Moon, a very colorful new history is being written here by a band of competitive autocrossers who have energized the discipline in the greater Chesapeake basin. Formal and informal club teams and privateer entries are embracing Cumberland, Bowie, Frederick, Summit, Winchester, Fed-Ex and any piece of tarmac an organizer can find. Some are mortal locks for class wins everywhere they go. Some go on to “Nationals” and make us proud. Fortunately, they also come through Cumberland with great regularity to do battle with the “home team” Reynards that must seem to sit in ambush for them from stealthy course-side airport hangers.
There’s a rhythm to it all. Spring shakedown and break-in - pitched summer battles – worn tires and busted wallets by the fall – a historic pattern played out to a tee at the Harvest Moon. Nine entrants in the field were previous FTD holders. All had reasonable expectation to repeat if they could just nurse their steeds through a few more fast laps before winter. But one of them holds a remarkable twenty-one FTD titles at CBE. He’s The Closer and he closed them out again.
Saturday weather was perfect after some typical morning fog. It was Fast Freddie Kelley’s day in the Thundering Third heat. He was the only driver under 47 seconds, his 46.915 half a second better than Chamberlain, with Larry Casey and Jeff Duncan also in the 47-seccond bracket. The fourth heat was faster. Newest former FTD Mike Moran ran 47.043 to relegate Chamberlain to fifth. Greg Honeycutt nosed under Kelley for second with a 46.827. But everyone was an object further away than they first appeared. Matt “The Closer” Felten laid down a magic single pass of 45.841 in his second of six tries that took all the air out of the room, winning FTD by almost a second.
Sunday, Felten The Younger ran in the second group with exactly the same result. A single blazing lap of 44.888 on the second run, running nothing else close to that but beating a still-game Honeycutt again by a second. Wade Chamberlain was the first fendered car this day, setting up a very close Cobra Cub finale for the Pumpkin Carve. Mike Moran was fourth again and John Felten put in a strong run to take fifth overall, edging Fast Freddie by .022 for the spot.
Double winners in contested classes for the weekend included Gary Miller (SS Corvette), Ron Dotts (BS Corvette), Jeffrey Geiger (FS Camaro), Jeff Fields (GS Hyundai), SJ Harris (ASP Corvette), Les Davis (CSP Mazda), Sandy Smith (ESP Saleen Mustang), Steve Lutz (DP Porsche), Matt Felten (BM Reynard), Jonathan Claypool (STU Mitsubishi) and Karl Loper (SM Camaro).
Single day local contested class winners included Joe Oxenham (Saturday STS Mazda), Bill Smith IV (AM Locost) and Chris Fritz (BSP Surbaru).
Other local drivers in the Saturday Top 25 included Tink Phillips (XP Daytona) 12th, Miller 17th, Bill Smith IV 18th, Steve Hotchkiss (ASP Corvette) 19th, Loper 20th and Pete Harrison (BS Honda) 25th. Other local Sunday Top 25 finishes included Bill Smith IV 13th, Loper 14th, Phillips 15th, Miller 18th, Ken Bane (XP Subaru) 20th, and Fritz 21st.