The second round of the 2018 Challenge Cup season generated the highest car count in the series’ history, with thirty-three entrants vying for championship points and trophies on an extremely hot weekend at the fabled Mid-Ohio sports car course. Competitors had to deal with temperatures in the mid-nineties, high humidity and Mid-Ohio’s changeable track surface.
Almost everyone utilized Friday’s generous track time to familiarize themselves with the track and most drivers were in the groove for Saturday morning’s qualifying session. This was reflected in the lap times, as outside of pole-sitter Brian Farnham, the next thirteen drivers qualified within one second of each other!
After a clean start to the afternoon race however, several cars came together in turn four and because of difficulty in removing the damaged vehicles and debris the stewards called the race complete after just three laps.
Brian Farnham took overall race honors and first in the Regular Division, with Chris Elwell garnering the second-place Regular trophy and series rookie Luke Testerman bringing home the third position hardware. In Masters, Chris Robson took first-place with Curt Bennett coming in second and Robson’s Adams Racing team-mate Jon Adams taking home the third-place trophy.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race was the final session of the day for Saturday and in the evening sun, Brian Farnham again took pole position with 2017 Regular Division champion Murillo Latorre lined up on the outside of the front row for the next day’s race.
After the extreme heat of the day, the drivers, crew and family members were treated to a great cook-out provided by Tim Elliot and prepared by Trina Carmody and Tanya Carpenter. Maxine Davis baked a cake for July birthday boys Tim Elliot, Greg Davis, Trevor Carmody and Matt Clark.
Dean Curtis, jumping out of his Womer after a long hot day behind the wheel, donned his requisite Hawaiian shirt and did his usual great job of playing master-of-ceremonies while handing out awards and giveaways.
With the warm setting sun providing a perfect backdrop to the festivities, the evening settled into what has become typical of Challenge Cup get-togethers, with all present relaxing, swapping racing stories and just generally enjoying the camaraderie that the series is known for.
Sunday’s race was the second session of the day and after the previous day’s shortened event, all hoped for a clean race, and this proved to be the case. On the opening pace lap, 2015 and 2016 champion Matt Garwood experienced an electrical issue causing him complete power loss, this resulted in Garwood not being able to compete in Sunday’s race.
While Brian Farnham slowly pulled away from the rest of the pack, there was intense competition throughout the field. Matt Clark and Murillo Latorre had a major see-saw battle for second going on while a large group of Vee’s followed them closely, ready to pounce on any mistake.
At the finish Brian topped the field with Murillo taking second and Matt third place overall (this was also the Regular Division finishing order). In Masters, Sherman Engler took the top spot, Jon Adams came in second while Curt Bennett took home the third place trophy for his mantle.
Stay tuned for the next Challenge Cup Series Event July 20th-22nd at New Jersey Motorsport Park.
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