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Old 05-27-2003, 01:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 7
AI-West at Willow


Here's the race report. I want to thank all the drivers and crews that made it out with us as we put on a great, clean show for the fans. See you all at Sears in June.


Round 3 of the American Iron West Championship Series was run at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA in May 24-25, 2003. The first weekend of the summer season was warm and clear with temperatures in the mid-90ís testing the cooling systems of both the cars and the racers themselves.

Mike Armstrong rejoined the series in his Mustang while J.R. Smith entered the points chase in his 4th generation Camaro. Other entrants included Christine Knight, Keith Videtto, Chaka Milby, Ernesto Roco, Vageli Karas, Neil Hershorin, John Lindsey, Tim Nichols, Guy Cunningham, Bruce Griggs, Kevin Chambers, Tim Gilpin, and Brian Murphy. AIX competitor Bill Daffron arrived on Friday to test, but was forced to retire before the weekend by a broken crankshaft.

Saturday saw Kevin Chambers take the Overall and AI pole with Tim Nichols in the top position in AIX and Vageli Karas just behind with only .3 seconds separating the top three qualifiers. The race was a flying start and the field entered into Turn 1 bunched tightly together. Nichols pulled out to a five second lead early in the race and held it while Chambers, Karas, and Cunningham fought for the lead with Gilpin close behind. After a few laps, Chambers began to drop back with mechanical trouble, which left Karas and Cunningham to duel for the lead. After yet another remarkable corner-to-corner battle, Cunningham ended up in front with Karas in second. Gilpin came home in the third spot on the podium. Nichols took the AIX win with Neil Hershorin and rookie J.R. Smith in the next two spots with only fractions of a second between them.

On Sunday, Bruce Griggs was the Overall and AIX pole sitter with Vageli Karas on the AI pole. The race began this time with a standing start with the CMC field just behind the AI cars. When the green dropped, 30 cars headed for the first turn led by Griggs and Lindsey with Chambers just behind. Chambers got by Lindsey and then went on to battle with Griggs for the remainder of the race. Karas and Cunningham again had a great contest going, but they were not able to catch up to Chambers who scored his first AI win convincingly. Karas ended up in the third position with Cunningham just ahead in second. Griggs took the AIX win with Lindsey and Milby in the next two spots.

The next round of the series will take place on June 28-29, 2003 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Both AI and AIX are developing into close contests, so donít miss the show when it heads North for the next weekend.
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