2006 NHIS 4
"Another Pole, Another Win, Another Track Record, and this time...a Championship!"
Team Kakashi driver Greg Amy posted yet another ITA win and another track lap record, this time at NER's "Cheap Date" Double Regional, and in the process clinched the NARRC and NERRC ITA Regional Championships.
After significant disappointment at the July LRP event, both Greg and Matt vowed to not let that happen again. Matt set to making sure that everything was perfect for the September 9/10 double regional at New Hampshire International Speedway. Friday testing using the South Chicane went extremely well, with Greg posting several laps below the existing track record, boosting the team's confidence.
ITA was the last group of the weekend, so the boys enjoyed a late start and the Saturday qualifying results had the NX2000 on the pole, fractions of a second below the track lap record with Andy Bettencourt's Miata close on its tail. The weather seemed to be cooperating, right up to the point where a line of thunderstorms rolled in from the west over the grandstands about 30 minutes or so before the start of the race. Recognizing the threat to worker safety by these strong cells, the organizers of the event recalled all volunteers from their stations just as the skies opened up with lightning, thunder, and hard rain. Shortly thereafter they postponed the remaining two races of the day to early the next morning.
And what a beautiful morning it was! The skies were clear, the track was dry, and air temperature was low (nearly perfect for a track lap record!) At the green flag Greg took an early lead, but Bettencourt's Miata soon rolled up into the rear view mirror tracking the NX2000 down. Andy worked his way right up to the rear bumper of the Nissan, but a mis-step just two laps from the end resulted in a clear victory for Greg. Final Results showed that not only did Greg win the race but he had set another new ITA track lap record, this time for NHIS with the South Chicane, with a best lap of 1:19.766.
But the day wasn't done, as the team had to prepare for another qualifier and race. The tire barriers for the South Chicane were removed and the track reconfigured to use NASCAR turns 1 and 2, the same configuration that was used at the Memorial Day weekend where Greg won three races and set the long course track lap record. Surprising to many, Greg qualified second to newcomer Geoff Branscombe, with Andy and Richie Hunter close at hand, but at the start both Greg, Andy, and Richie quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. A balked GP car backed the field up behind the NX, giving Greg about a 5- to 6-second lead after the first lap; however, both Hunter and Bettencourt were soon reeling him in. Richie was on Greg's rear bumper and Matt called Greg on the radio to let him know that Andy was catching both of them and would soon be in the fray. Unfortunately, Richie made a low-percentage dive-bomb pass under Greg going into Turn 3; he significantly misjudged this move and knocked Greg off the outside of the track, nearly into the wall. Both Hunter and Bettencourt slipped by on the inside as Greg fought to maintain control of the NX2000 and get back on the asphalt. From that point the race came down to a determined Andy Bettencourt tossing everything he had to get past Hunter, with Greg pedaling hard to catch back up, but in vain: Richie Hunter crossed the checkered in first place with Bettencourt's Miata less than a car length behind, with the NX2000 of Greg Amy following a few seconds behind in third place.
The team's disappointment with losing this second race was quickly overshadowed by the recognition that, with this third place finish, Greg Amy had clinched the NARRC (North Atlantic Road Racing Championship), with a high probability of winning the NERRC (New England Road Racing Championship) and NYSRRC (New York State Road Racing Championship) as well!
Yet another great weekend!
The 2006 NARRC season comes to a close the third weekend in October at the NARRC Runoffs at Lime Rock Park. Just two weeks later Kakashi drivers Greg and Jeff Lawton team up with Phil Phillips and Kirk Knestis in Kirk's Golf for the 13 Hours at VIR, then the intrepid Kakashi drivers head out to Road Atlanta to try their luck at the American Road Race of Champions.
Wish us luck!
Saturday Results (PDF)
Saturday Results (MyLaps)
Sunday Results (PDF)
Sunday Results (MyLaps)