On the restart Rettich took off with Flynn Lazier right behind him and Lee Rackley in 3rd . Lee is an amazing driver, he always seems to be in the lead pack at race time. Lee had a strong car at the beginning but he faded a bit towards the end but he wasn't giving up positions easily because he needed a 4th place finish or better to secure 2nd in the GPfour South points championship. The race was progressing at a torrid pace , you would have thought these guys and girl were running for the Indy 500 title. I simply could not believe some of the incredible driving that was taking place. I have been watching races for over 25 years now and I would have to rank this race right up at the top. Many instances cars were going 3 wide exiting the bridge turn and two wide on to the front strait. If you have ever been to Road Atlanta you know that these maneuvers can be very hazardous .
I was concerned that Paul Schneiders car was damaged in the first lap incident as he picked off one car after another on his way back to the front. Meanwhile Scott Rettich was setting fast lap after fast lap pulling out a decent lead over lazier. Flynn Lazier , nicked named by the exuberant PA announcers "Flying Flynn" for the this feature event was keeping Rettich in sight, but just couldn't match his pace. Behind Rettich and Lazier there was a monumental battle for 3rd position. Justin Gordon in his first real event in this car had just purchased a few days earlier from Skip weld was also becoming a favorite by the announcing team. It was such a Cinderella story you could not help to feel the excitement as he made pass after pass up into 4th position. I am so amazed at the talent in this field, so many young new drivers that have chosen this class and especially this event to participate.
Another very impressive performance came from Hannah Zellers. She is the real deal and seems to improve every time in the car. She is especially good late in the race where she is starting to make a habit of setting fast laps towards the end like she did at the runoffs to capture 2nd place. The battle for 3rd was really heating up and Hannah was right in the thick of all that action. Paul Schneider had made is way back up into 3rd spot but Justin Gordon, Lee Rackley , Hannah Zellers and now Trevor Cooper were right there ready to pounce. I would like to tell you who was in what position but so many times they came around 2 and 3 wide it was very difficult to keep track of positions.
The race was three laps from the end when Flying Flynn Lazier lost his brakes on the back strait and exited into the gravel trap right before the bridge. The Primus parts /Comprent motorsport entry was out of the race. This brought out the yellow for the 3rd time as they quickly cleared the car out of the way to set up for a final restart and mad 2 lap dash to the end. There was a large amount of spectators around the back of the track so they were in for a real treat to see everyone bunched up. I am not sure if it was the large amount of spectators or the hype that had come with finishing on the podium, but these drivers were not leaving anything on the table on these final 2 laps. Rettich again took the lead and came around with a solid lead with Paul Schneider in 2nd and close on his tail was Justin Gordon, Hannah Zellers, Lee Rackley, Trevor Cooper. Hannah Zellers made a brilliant pass around Gordon Exiting the bridge but Gordon like an experienced veteran took the position back going into the very fast turn 1. The cars circulated around that lap and Hannah tried to make the pass again but spun and Lee Rackley also dropped so they were both back to 9th and 10th position. This allowed Trevor Cooper to move right behind Gordon to challenge for 3rd spot. They both came flying out of the bridge side by side banging wheels all the way down across the start finish with Gordon taking a 1 foot advantage over the line for the 3rd spot.
Meanwhile behind them Andrew Cross Jr had another very impressive 5th place finish which clinched 3rd place in the GPfour South points standings just two points ahead of Lee Rackley. Andrew also was awarded the masters win and received a free set of tires from American Racer . Andrew Cross Jr had such an impressive weekend and likewise a great season. Eric Cruz had another fine finish in 6th position, David Budres 7th, Ray Mason 8th, Lee Rackley 9th and Hannah Zellers Rounded out the top 10 .
Paul Schneider seemed really disappointed on the podium that he didn't get the battle with Rettich that he had hoped for, but all and all he drove a great race and to salvage a 2nd place finish was quite good.. Scott Rettich had really made up for Saturdays race and he was so impressive. I do think that some of these young guns will be giving him a real challenge in the future as they gain valuable experience.
All and all it was a fantastic weekend and a real positive weekend for the class and a great step towards building both the GPfour North and South championships for 2017. I would like to thank all of the sponsors , PFC brakes, SPA, Gridsport.net, Scca Enterprizes, American racer and Especially Driven Race Oil. Atlanta Region was also very helpful to make this a great event and we look forward to running this race next year.
8171 Ocean Highway Unit D
Pawleys Island, South Carolina