Southwest Formula Mazda Series Travels to Barber Motorsports Park
By Sandy Magrath
Rounds 9 & 10 of the Southwest Formula Mazda Series were held at beautiful Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on July 10-11 at the Alabama Region SCCA Jeff Leibensperger Double Regional. The Alabama Region SCCA and Barber Motorsports Park staffs were both very hospitable and made us feel extremely welcome. Thanks to all of the folks with Barber Motorsports Park and Alabama Region SCCA. There were a total of 19 Formula Mazdas racing (5 local Southeastern drivers) with 13 SWFM Series participants.
On Saturday, Darryl Wills qualified on the pole with Russell Walker and David Stover within hundredths of seconds behind. On Lap 1 of the race, Wills spun out in front of Walker on Turn 4. Both drivers ended up stopped and had to wait for traffic to pass before re-entering the race. Walker, with his front wing dragging, had to pit for a new nose assembly. This early mishap left Ben McCrackin in the lead with Bill Daniel and David Stover in 2nd and 3rd. At the conclusion of Lap 2, Bill Daniel had taken over the lead and Stover was making the moves on McCrackin. Stover passed McCrackin and took the lead from Daniel 2 laps later. Stover won the race with Daniel in 2nd and McCrackin in 3rd. Michael Tari had his best finish ever placing 4th with Walter Gragert and Frank Tomlinson having a very tight battle for 5th. Gragert prevailed.
Saturday’s top 3 qualifiers repeated for Sunday but in a totally different order. Stover got the pole with Wills in 2nd and Walker 3rd. Walter Gragert qualified 4th. Stover and Wills had a great race going. Stover led the race until Lap 11 when Wills got by him. However, Stover took it back in the same corner on the next lap. Stover won the 15 lap race with Wills in 2nd and Walker in 3rd.
Coming into the race weekend, the FM track record was at 1:32. Several SWFM Series drivers broke and reset the record over the course of the weekend. However, Darryl Wills ended up with the fastest lap of the weekend setting the new FM Barber track record at 1:28:993.
The Rookie of the Year race is still very close with Steve Davison at 111 points, Russell Walker at 106 points, and Brad Jackson at 98. The Rookie of the Year will win a full set of BBS wheels valued at $2,300.
Round 9 (Barber Motorsports Park SCCA Reg.)
Driver Qual. Time 1 Darryl Wills 1:30:33 2 Russell Walker 1:30:76 3 David Stover 1:30:98 4 William Daniel 1:31:89 5 Walter Gragert 1:33:23 6 Ben McCrackin 1:33:37 7 Michael Tari 1:33:50 8 Frank Tomlinson 1:34:02 9 Greg Labadie 1:34:56 10 Dave Defnet 1:34:80 11 Brad Jackson 1:35:77 12 Steve Davison 1:35:81 13 Robin Ardoin 1:41:06 Race
Driver Race Time 1 David Stover 1:30:27 2 William Daniel 1:30.55 3 Ben McCrackin 1:33:70 4 Michael Tari 1:33:29 5 Walter Gragert 1:33:06 6 Frank Tomlinson 1:33.55 7 Dave Defnet 1:32.64 8 Darryl Wills 1:30:47 9 Steve Davison 1:34.83 10 Brad Jackson 1:36.63 11 Russell Walker 1:31.79 12 Robin Ardoin 1:39.96 13 Greg Labadie DNF
Round 10 (Barber Motorsports Park SCCA Reg.)
Driver Qual. Time 1 David Stover 1:29:31 2 Darryl Wills 1:29:41 3 Russell Walker 1:30:50 4 Walter Gragert 1:30:73 5 William Daniel 1:31:12 6 Dave Defnet 1:32:26 7 Greg Labadie 1:33:21 8 Ben McCrackin 1:33:51 9 Michael Tari 1:33:93 10 Brad Jackson 1:34:54 11 Frank Tomlinson 1:34:79 12 Steve Davison 1:35:40 13 Robin Ardoin 1:37:69 Race
Driver Race Time 1 David Stover 1:29:27 2 Darryl Wills 1:28.99 3 Russell Walker 1:31.02 4 William Daniel 1:30.79 5 Ben McCrackin 1:33:12 6 Greg Labadie 1:32.95 7 Frank Tomlinson 1:32.72 8 Steve Davison 1:34.63 9 Michael Tari 1:33:12 10 Walter Gragert 1:31.83 11 Dave Defnet DNF 12 Brad Jackson 1:36.96 13 Robin Ardoin DNS
2004 Southwest Formula Mazda Series Point Standings