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Old 04-09-2003, 12:57 PM   #1
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American Iron OH/IN @ Mid Ohio recap


American Iron at Mid Ohio April 4-6 Presented by the Ohio/Indiana region of N.A.S.A

The first event of the 2003 American Iron Series sponsored by the Ohio/Indiana region got of to a very cold start at Mid Ohio. The elevation changes, the high speed straights and the challenging layout of the Mid Ohio race circuit provided a great place to start this year's hunt for the championship. Right up to the day before the event a few competitors were struggling to finish preparing their cars and ultimately there were 5 that were ready to go. This included three American Iron cars brought by Mark Wilson, Elliot Fisher and Eric Meehan as well as two American Iron Extreme cars piloted by Brian Tone and Jeremy Behrendt.

The action started on Friday with the rookie drivers, Meehan, Wilson and Behrendt attending the competition school. The weather was poor with very cold temperatures and a mix of heavy downpours, sleet and high winds. While the rookie drivers were going through the licensing school Elliot Fisher took advantage of the open test day to find some additional speed. Meanwhile Brian Tone was sidelined with a drive-train problem, which resulted in a complete teardown and removal of the clutch that lasted well into Friday night and early Saturday morning. While Tone was thrashing to replace his clutch, Jeremy Behrendt discovered that he also had a problem, but his was not fixable at the track causing him to pack the car up before the end of the day.

Early Saturday morning saw the rain disappear but the cold temps stayed in the area. The first practice session ended with everyone coping with a very cold damp track and looking for grip. For the qualifying session the track was dry and it allowed everyone to pick up the pace. After the 25 minute session the order was set and it shook out like this:

Driver Class Lap Time Sponsor
Brian Tone AIX 1:45.069 On-Track Performance
Elliot Fisher AI 1:50.426 Hyland Software
Mark Wilson AI 1:50.723 On-Track Performance
Eric Meehan AI 1:56.378 Aragon Industrial Services

Being rookies Wilson and Meehan were forced to start at the back of the pack behind the entire Big Bore field giving them some traffic to contend with. At the start Tone took off and jumped to an early lead with chasing after him. Four laps into the race Tone lost a brake cooling duct on the back straight after the Keyhole. Fearing it was a fan belt he limped the car for nearly 1.5 miles back into the pits to get it looked at. At this time Fisher jumped into the lead with Wilson right on his bumper fighting for position with Meehan just a few seconds back. In the pits Tone's crew sent him back out after confirming that the belts were intact and he charged off to try to catch the pack.

At the checkered flag Tone was able to catch and pass the AI cars, while Fisher was able to hold off a hard charging Wilson and Meehan for the AI class victory. The fast laps were:

Brian Tone AIX 1:43.432 On-Track Performance
Mark Wilson AI 1:48.864 On-Track Performance
Elliot Fisher AI 1:48.960 Hyland Software
Eric Meehan AI 1:54.540 Aragon Industrial Services

The weather on Sunday morning stayed right on par with Saturday as the temperature hovered near 37*F. The practice session was once again a testing ground for suspension tweaks and tire pressure adjustments in a search for speed around the 2.25 mile circuit. During the qualifying session later in the day the Wilson took the AI pole followed by Fisher and Meehan, while Tone set the fastest time of the AI and AIX cars:

Brian Tone AIX 1:43.283 On-Track Performance
Mark Wilson AI 1:46.525 On-Track Performance
Elliot Fisher AI 1:48.888 Hyland Software
Eric Meehan AI 1:52.110 Aragon Industrial Services

At the start Wilson got the jump on the outside of Tone while Fisher pulled up from behind to split the two with Meehan following closely. Entering turn 1 Tone, Fisher and Wilson were still three wide until Fisher backed off, Tone moved into second place closely following Wilson in the lead. Tone followed Wilson for a lap struggling with cold tires before finally overtaking him coming out of the Keyhole entering the back straight. At this time Tone pulled away from the pack for good leaving Wilson and Fisher to battle it out for the AI lead with Meehan bringing up the rear. The race ended after 12 laps in this order with everyone setting besting their qualifying time.

Brian Tone AIX 1:40.230 On-Track Performance
Mark Wilson AI 1:45.914 On-Track Performance
Elliot Fisher AI 1:47.521 Hyland Software
Eric Meehan AI 1:52.059 Aragon Industrial Services

During the weekend we spoke to a great number of people who are finishing cars to enter in the series or are thinking about it and it was quite evident that the American Iron series is popular among the spectators and drivers education students as well. Our next race will be May 10-11 at Beaverun located outside Pittsburgh, PA. This event will be a combined event with the rest of the American Iron East competitors that normally run in the Virginia region of N.A.S.A.

A special thanks to Lawrence Mansier and his NASA staff for putting on a spectacular weekend of racing. Special thanks to our American Iron sponsors Cobalt Friction, Toyo Tires, Griggs Racing, Maximum Motorsports, Steeda Autosports, Brothers Performance, BBK, Frozen Rotors,On-Track Performance, Dark Horse Racing and The Corral.
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Old 04-09-2003, 01:52 PM   #2
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Congrats on the 2 first place finishes. I know there wasn't anybody else in AIX, but that's dang impressive to limp into the pits and still come back and win.
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Old 04-09-2003, 01:57 PM   #3
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Congrats Brian!! Sounds like a fun weekend even if it the weather wasn't perfect. Hopefully AI and AI/X will grow quickly in the midwest as it has in the Virginia region!
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Old 04-09-2003, 07:10 PM   #4
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Good job Tone!!!! See ya next month.
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