The RotaryRockets Midwest season is underway!!! Don't feel sorry
for Steve Jenks. The fact that Steve was involved in an incident in
the first race is not a reason to count him out of the championship.
Let's not forget that Steve Jenks started his 2005 season in the grass
and still went on to win the 2005 championship.
In the first race, Steve's attempt to regain his championship status
was immediately challenged when he lost the pole to Josh Lane. Josh,
joining the series with a set of one-off's for the 2007 season,
quickly used his outstanding shifter kart skills to outqualify Steve
and start on the pole for race one. At the start, Steve quickly got to
the front and relegated Josh to sit on his rear wing - and that he
did. While the lead was being determined, Californian Roy Steele, in
his first race with RotaryRockets, jumped into third and was leading
RotaryRockets regulars Ross Fortini and Noel Smith. This was also a
very close battle as the three cars were nose to tail down the front
stretch. Unfortunately, the first race of the season was red flagged
after just two laps.
On the restart, Steve again jumped out ahead of Josh and we were again
setting up for a great race among themselves. As the leaders went
through turn one, Noel Smith made it three wide and took out Ross and
himself. With Ross' radiator fluid all over the track, the corner
workers called the race and the race was scored in the order that they
returned to the pit. This gave Steve his first win of the season.
Two-time RotaryRockets champion Steve Weber carried home the third
place trophy. Royce Miller, also in his first season of formula cars,
stayed out of trouble and wrapped fourth. Newcomers John Batchelor and
David Hansson, experiencing close road racing for the first time,
stayed out of trouble and ended in fifth and sixth, respectively.
The second race of the day started with Josh again setting fast time
in qualifying. However, this time Noel Smith surprised Steve Jenks
with a 4/10th's faster qualifying lap to start ahead of him and next
to Josh. Steve Weber, fighing handling problems, qualified sixth. This
allowed both Ross and Roy to outqualify him. At the start, Josh
started to set the pace, followed by Noel and Steve Jenks. Two-time
RotaryRockets champion Steve Weber, and newcomer David Hansson, were
on the move up through the field. By the third lap, as the leader and
Ross fell way back, Steve Weber was up to third and David was up to
fourth. With Noel now leading and trying to prove us wrong that he
would win a race this year, Steve Jenks started to threaten his lead
and took over the lead on lap six as they went into turn one. Not to
be outdone, our Californian moved into third. Josh, after having
dropped back to fifth, clawed his way back to second by the twelfth
lap, only to have a mechanical end his day. Meanwhile, Ross and David
also dropped out due to gremlins. Noel recovered and finished second,
with Royce and John, now learning the tracks, finished in fifth and
Steve Jenks should note that this is his chance to become the second
driver ever to win back to back championships in RotaryRockets. To
make this even more significant for Steve Jenks, the driver that holds
that honor is also in for some one-off's - Mr. Steve Weber.
In analyzing the odds, we can see that Ross Fortini and Noel Smith are
the most likely candidates able to challenge Steve this year. However,
Ross goes into the third and fourth rounds way behind in points and
must have some solid results to have a shot at this championship. Noel
still has a great chance. Noel has been getting some solid experience
doing some SCCA events in 2006 and earlier this year. Will this
experience pay off? More importantly, can Noel maintain a lead all the
way to the checkered flag?
We also have some fast one-off's now getting their feet wet this year.
Many of these one-off's are in preparation for a full season next
year. Will these drivers play a factor? We think so, as Josh Lane
already rattled some feathers in these opening rounds.
Steve Jenks is on track for the RotaryRockets $1,000.00 Triple Crown.
Next opportunity is at Autobahn.
The point we love to award is the fun/sportmanship/hard luck point:
David Hansson is the only person that we know who can drive a car with
a damaged throw-out bearing. David was running great all day until one
of out technicians decided to get into his car. Our technician could
not depress the clutch and decided to pull the gearbox out and found
that the throw-out bearing needed to be replaced. David insisted that
he had no problem driving the car and was ready to kick us out of his
car - David, we will never second guess you again.
David, we've got a surprise for you at Autobahn...