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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The paint on the hot dog stand was hardly dry before the haulers began coming through the infield gate. 8 drivers and 15 cars from Bakersfield, Tulare, Madera, Clovis and Fresno, California gathered in southeast Fresno for the first official event designed around the AMG Eagle. The theme was "bring it", and everyone pretty much did.

The previously established track record of 2.04 seconds was demolished by no less than 11 of the 15 entries, 8 of the cars ran sub-two second laps in the three rounds of time qualifying. The drivers were given a chance to make changes between qualifying rounds and the best time was recorded. Fast time was not suprizingly John Mears and his zapped mean green XT in Helio Castroneves/Penske Racing paint at 1.78 seconds. John backed up his time in the previous rounds with a 1.82 and a 1.80. I was second fastest with a 1.81 fast time, Martin was third fast with a not so distant 1.82 seconds.



After all the rounds of qualifying were run three sets of heats were run very quicky, the entire heat section took less than 30 minutes to run. Again John was the cream of the crop, running perfect with 3 heat race wins. He was the only car to run perfect on the night in the heats. The five rounds of mains were set, and when the dust settled on all the transfers it was John Mears, AJ Yates and Martin Simone in the A Feature (I crashed out in the B Main).

The 100 lap A Feature saw John in Lane 3 (outside) with AJ taking the middle. Immediately AJ took the lead and at one time led by almost a full lap when Martin spun and John ran into him, bringing a red condition to the track. Racing resumed with 21 laps remaining and AJ trying his best to hold off John, but on lap 96 AJ spun by himself and out of harms way. John passed him and took the win with Martin taking a second place two laps down.

Besides having freshly made Jamba Juice drinks for all the drivers and spectators John also won a $25 Jamba Card for his efforts, courtesy of the Southeast Fresno Jamba Juice at Kings Canyon and Clovis Ave. This was the first of a 6 race series that will conclude with the Mini Indy on Memorial Day.

Thanks to BRS Hobbies (www.brshobbies.com) for the optical timer and making our qualifying times a lot more credible.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Round Two at Martins-ville's High Banks

Tuesday night saw the Eagles running on Martin Simone's high banked 1/2 mile tri-oval in Clovis, California. This was the first appearance of the Eagles on this track for competetion, and the racing did not disappoint the rather large spectating audiance.

Only 9 cars among 7 drivers showed up, causing a shorter program with more laps to be run. As with last week John Mears Penske look-a-like XT took the pole with a more than .25 second advantage over the second place qualifyer and again went perfect on the night in the heat races. Conversely, my car which qualified last also placed...last. For some reason speed was lacking, and while this track was extremely fast dirvers skill wasn't in high demand.

The A Main was 150 laps and consisted of John, Martin and me driving Martins other qualified car. Early on John took a huge lead, at one time by over 5 laps. But the hot car just got hotter and in the end heat made the difference in narrowing the gap between the three of us. No cautions (no crashes) saw the complete race run in an astounding 5 minutes 23.28 seconds. John won by 1.03 seconds, followed by my shoe-ing Martin's back up car with Martin in his primary another 1.88 seconds later and one lap down.

Racing resumes next Tuesday night in Oildale, California at the 4 lane road course owned by John Mears.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
AMG Scores Hard Fought Road Course Win

Oildale, California - With only 10 cars among 5 drivers showing for the series most distant event, it was going to prove an interesting night. The event was delayed more than an hour, first by dead spots on the newly laid 2-lane road course, then by a finicky lap counter that would only count one lane. Once the technical issues were worked out qualifying and full scale racing began.

Cars were each qualified and set so that the winner of each race transferred into the next race. Nine total races were run, the first four were each 50 laps of the two-kilometer scale course, the next two were 100 laps, and the last three were 150 laps each. Five minutes between each race were given to allow cars to cool and maintenance.

John Mears, who has to this point dominated the Sequoia Series with his #6 Penske replica suffered problems with pick-up shoes all evening and placed 7th over all. John's back up car fared a little better, placing 5th. But the hot set up of the night belonged to yours truly, I qualified 1st and 3rd and when the A Main arrived my cars were the only ones on the track.

Martin Simone drove the car I had beaten him with in the previous race and at one time lead by 3 laps. After a late race pit stop to tape his tires he leaned in and casually asked if there were team orders...I told him to drive his a** off, the race wasn't over yet. At the finish I had come back to lead by about 1/2 a lap. On the way back to Fresno I asked if he had sandbagged the last part of the race and he told me he had not, but gave me that slick Armenian smile that spelled out that maybe he had. But a win is a win, and with the points I earned this weekend I'm now up to 3rd overall, following Martin then John.

The next even is this coming Tuesday night in Clovis, California at AJ Yates' spectacular two lane 60' Laguna Seca layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I missed round 4 of this series due to my accident, but then again so did John and Martin. AJ and three other racers raced a shortened program with AJ pretty much dominating the night with the Hicks Brothers occupying the remaining places. The points didn't change but the gaps between 3rd and 4th place were considerably narrowed.

The 5th race of this series takes place at the Martins-ville high banked tri-oval on this coming Tuesday, May 22nd. Right now the top 5 point cars are seperated by less than 25 points with just two races remaining. The season will conclude with the Mini Indy being run on May 28th, testing for that event will begin on May 24th.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The 5th round of the series was run tonight with 8 drivers, so we allowed each driver to qualify two cars but only race one. Since Martin's track can time all 4 lanes we decided to do two 250 lap races with all 4 lanes active and use the total elapsed race times to determine a winner. A random draw decided which race you would be in, qualifying time allowed the drivers to choose their lanes.

With all 3 Hick's brothers, AJ and his brother, Martin, John, Ryan Hathaway and myself in a desperate points fight, the racing couldn't be any closer. Both races were run in record time, very few crashes and no full course reds. In the first race John pretty much dominated as he has in every race he had been in, but would his time hold? In the second event Martin, AJ and myself ran off and left Ryan behind, Martin never crashed and stopped only once to tape his tires. In the end it was Martin by about 1/3rd of a lap with me finishing second, and AJ finishing a full lap behind me.

When the computer printed out the total race times it was disovered that Martin had won, and both John and I had run identical (to the thousandths) race times for the 250 laps. With second place at issue we turned to the rulebook and found that in case of such a tie the breaker would go to the fastest qualifyer, which turned out to be John by 0.03 seconds. The final points awarded saw Martin now pull within 3 points of John for the Championship, with me firmly in 3rd.

The final race of this series will be the Mini Indy, to be held on Monday, May 28th at Me-N-Ed's pizza in southeast Fresno. This is the race that you fine folks donated all the cars for, and so far I have 3 of the 5 youngsters who were given the race cases entered in the event. We have decided that those who have participated in this series will be allowed one car and one attempt to qualify with no immunity from being bumped. The younger kids will be permitted the normal 3 qualifying attempts and we wioll take the fastest time of those attempts. The format has been previously discussed and open practice will begin on Friday, qualifying will take place Monday an hour before the event. So far these are the entered teams:

Car # Team and (Chassis) Driver (age) Sponsor .
1 AMG Racing (AFX) Peter McKay (47) AMG Racing Eagle
2 S.R.T. Fresno (XT) Martin Simonian (36) Snap-On Tools
3 Hernandez Racing (XT) Bozen Hernandez (26) Lowenbrau
5 Hicks Brothers (XT) David Hicks (38) Bud Light
6 Penske Scale Racing (XT) John Mears (24) Penske Scale Racing
9 Yates Racing (AFX) David Yates (37) BAE/GM Performance
14 Yates Racing (AFX) A.J. Yates (30) Mobil 1/Gilmore/GM Perf.
16 AMG Racing (XT) David Rufino (12) AMG Racing Eagle
21 Hick Brothers (XT) James Hicks (40) Liqui-Moly
23 Hathaway Racing (XT) Ryan Hathaway (15) Waste Management/Advanced A.P.
28 Yslas Racing (AFX) Bucky Yslas (17) SKF Bearings/Fujifilm
45 Hathaway Racing (XT) Mark Hathaway (20) Uniden/Autolite/Advanced A.P.
59 Munoz Motorsports (AFX) Josh Munoz (25) NEWMAN
73 Scott Green Racing (XT) Scott Green (50) Canon/ EA Sports
78 Shadetree Motorsports (XT) Leon Lopez (54) Jagermeister
 

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Mini Indy Results

Since Petey wasn't up to it he asked me to post the results of the Mini Indy we had this morning at the pizza place. So in a (large) nut shell here it is...

Rain wasn't a problem, however several spilled soda's at trackside had to be cleaned up before the program began. I think they were spilled on purpose by racers thinking they could run their tires through the sticky residue and get an edge, but nobody tried so all was good. We had a total of 18 drivers and 22 cars were qualified. Every driver that showed was allowed at least one car in the field, the youngest 4 were allowed two. Ages ranged from 12 years old to 56 years old, the fastest junior was a 15 year old and she (yes, she) qualified 5th and finished 5th as well.

The actual event took a total of about 2 hours from qualifying to final checkered flag. In the A Main it came down to A.J. Yates, John Mears of Bakersfield and Brian Smith, a walk on racer for the event. I crashed out in the C Main, Petey finished but out of transfer position in the B Main. The A Main was actually 500 laps after the drivers decided to go ahead and run the full scheduled length. We used Parma 90 ohm controllers because of the heat that would be involved on such a long, basically wide open race.

In the race John ran off and left everyone. It wasn't even a race until about lap 200 when Johns car did that "no oil" sound on the back straight. He ran another two laps then it gave a rather ugly "really, no oil" sound and stopped. At this point he lead by 13 laps and after collecting his car ran to his pit stall where he did a complete tear down and changed motor brushes and springs as well as his pick up shoes. With everyone else clocking laps at right about 2 seconds each his lead evaporated quickly and by the time he returned he was 30 laps down.

John promply began crashing, but after another 10 laps settled down and began whittling down the leaders. At lap 400 he was back to within 10 laps and when he stopped to tape his tires the right rear silicone shreaded. After finding a suitable replacement he returned to the track, still 28 laps down and it didn't look good. AJ in the mean time had run off and left Brian, and had a healthy 20 lap lead when he started trash talking. John had returned and in within a few minutes had taken second from Brian.

With just 10 laps to go Karma caught up with AJ, and his car sounded that it was running dry. He quickly pitted and applied oil from his needle oiler but was not watching what he was doing and actually dropped oil into his motor brushes. When he put the car down it immediately loaded up and created a nice smoke show while it burned off the excess oil. John was now within 10 laps, then 5, then as AJ let his car go John came out of turn 4 and caught him on the back stretch. AJ, in what to this day amounts to the most flagrant of all fouls, put the wheel to John and sent them both into the wall. Brian spun trying to avoid the pile and brought out a restart with 5 laps remaining.

AJ had left an oil spot on the track, and while it was in his lane he was penalized one starting position on the track, so on the rolling start he was behind John who was still one lap down. At the green John and AJ were neck and neck, then going into turn 4 John backed off and AJ, thinking a bump and run, went off the track and sailed over the turn 4 fence. By the time the marshall returned him to the track the white flag had flown and John was leading by distance on the track. John Mears crossed the finish line at 0.993 seconds ahead of AJ for the win. The entire 500 laps took 17 minutes and 41 seconds on Pete's track to complete.

Those of you that donated all of the cars and parts will be happy to know that 3 of the 5 that were given the race cases showed up. All of them had running cars still, and all of them did very well. Of the two that didn't show up, one of them had their case stolen by a family member who we found out sold them for drug money, the other is unfortunately a "guest" of the State after being arrested for tagging for the 4th time. Another 3 that were given cars individually showed and also raced but didn't want to try and qualify for the event. I gave out the Life-Like cars that were in the packages to those that made an attempt, and the Richard Petty twin-pack went to the best finishing junior, Vanessa Orosco who placed 5th.

Over the day we probably had over a hundred spectators. No major incidents other than some spilled soda's but after we took care of that everything went smoothly. I haven't figured the points yet but it's clear that Bakersfields John Mears followed in his cousin Casey's footsteps and won on Memorial Day in Fresno. Me-N-Ed's pizza donated $55 worth of pizza and soda's for the drivers, and we raised another $110 in donated money for the Manning House, a homeless shelter here in town. This ends the spring CCRA series and the departure of the AMG Eagle body from my events. I hope to have some of the new Evolution cars to show you guys beginning in July.

Thanks for all your help,
Martin.
 
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