2012 SPEEDWEEK — KELLEY AND FELTEN SPLIT SPEEDWEEK
Speedweek, falling right around mid-summer, marks the mid-point of the Cumberland Airport Autocross series. This year, it looked to all the world like a Corvette summer. Apart from CBE’s regular Bow Tie crew, ‘Vette clubs from Bel Air Maryland, Cumberland Valley and lone wolves from Pennsylvania to North Carolina turned out in force to brave the heat and occasional rain, and test their mettle on the airport tarmac against everything from their fellow Duntov jockeys, to the latest Subie PAX-killer BRZ, to hereditary rival Cobras. Of the 69 timed entries on Saturday, nearly a third - 22 - proudly bore the fabled crossed checkered and bowtie flags. But, once again, the formula for Speed Week victory belonged not to the groundpounders, but once again to high revving fenderless winged critters.
Guest course designer Larry Casey laid out a challenging, technical course Saturday, featuring a long compound slalom, which favored race tire shod, light, quick turning cars. Rain haunted Day One. First heat started wet, and the thundering third heat was shut down after four runs by a squall. Before rain ended the party, Fast Fred Kelley of Middletown, Maryland, in his Formula 1000 Van Diemen, decisively clinched FTD and the Mod category with a smoldering 45 flat, distancing himself by a full second from Historics FTD Gary Hughes’ Brunton Stalker Lotus clone, and taking the class win from fierce local B Mod rivals Matt Felten (46.8) and Greg Honeycutt (47.8) in their Reynards. Snakecharmer Wade Chamberlain rounded out the podium and took XP class and the Prepared category victory with his Factory Five Cobra’s best pass of 46.3, finishing Felten and Honeycutt fourth and fifth in raw time standings. Cumberland’s own Gary Miller, in his baleful black Z06, defeated countless Corvettes and Dan Dazzo’s gorgeous anthracite Cayman S to win the hotly contested Super Stock class and the Stock category with a 49.8. Pennsylvanian Jon Claypool’s street-shod Evo owned the Touring category, PAX victory and 8th in raw time with a 48.2. Other PAX standouts Saturday included Ken Bane (C Stock Miata) in 2nd, Chamberlain (XP Cobra) 3rd, and Pete Harrison (B Stock S2000) 4th.
On Sunday, designer Casey opened up some tight spots and simplified some of the more technical elements, vastly improving flow. Those adjustments and dry pavement promised and delivered a fun and far faster course. In what hopefully will become a CBE tradition, veteran Smooth Jim Harris treated newbs to an informative novice coursewalk. Unlike the unsettled day before, the weather cooperated and every driver got a full complement of six runs. All took full advantage; with times running about 5 seconds quicker across the board.
Fast Fred could not hold off Matt Felten’s Reynard, Kelley’s 43.6 falling to Felten’s 42 flat, earning Matt Sunday’s FTD crown. But proving that fenders, R-comps, horsepower and raw nerve are not be counted out, multiple past FTD winner Wade Chamberlain’s Cobra nipped at Felten’s heels with a 42.6, followed by Virginian Hughes’ Stalker’s 43 second pass (3rd raw), and Kelley’s 43.6 (4th raw). Course designer Larry Casey borrowed Chris Fritz’s hot STi and landed fifth place in the raw time ranks with a 43.8, which was also the leading PAX score. Other PAX notables Sunday were Chamberlain (2nd), Miller (SS Z06)(3rd), and Andy Thomas (G Stock Celica)(4th).
Two day contested class winners were Gary Miller (SS Z06); Ken Bane (C Stock Miata); Dick Wallace (H Stock Mazda 3); Dennis Howard (BSP Porsche 911); Doug Macy (DSP Audi), Karl Loper (SM Camaro) and Wade Chamberlain (XP Cobra). Local top ten finishers were Matt Felten, Gregg Honeycutt, Gary Miller and Tink Phillips, all on both days.