Taming Road Atlanta, well that is a chore. Some would say, like Darlington, you just survive. But one racer who seems to just do that is road racing icon, Gene Felton. The former IMSA champion and one of America's winningest road racers is still at it despite being past his 70th birthday. "Gene the Machine" started his racing career nearly fifty years ago while serving in the Marine Corps on the tiny South Pacific island of Okinawa. In those days, Felton's steed was a motorcycle, and he used it to win the island championship. That was 1959, yet today Gene is still racing and winning. Felton's latest adventure was with the V8 StockCar Road Racing series, running with the Atlanta Region SCCA. Felton had qualifed fourth overall and second in class out of nearly forty cars, just behind Charles Wicht (V8 GT-1 winged Monte Carlo) and the SB2 Chevy powered super late model stock car of Bill Smith. Felton's weapon of choice was an ex Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger formerly piloted by Reed Sorenson. At the green Wicht led, followed by Smith, but by lap three both were sidelined by mechanical gremlins. Zach Monette in his Tony Ave built Camaro had taken the point. Zach was flyin' cutting the weekend's quickest lap at 1:26 and change, but by lap 5 he too was slowing and Felton took over, pushed to the checker by Zach's Dad Bob Monette in another Ave built ride. Bob Monette's second overall also gave him the V8 GT-1 win over hard charging Richard Bridgette in his good looking Trans Am type Mustang. 2008 V8 GTA points leader Tony Amico added to his point total with another win over Tom Graham and Butch Kummer. Lee Arnold came home second in V8 SPO in a fine run after having to started dead last due to missing qualifying. Paul Breehne was third in the class in just his first weekend racing at Road Atlanta.
Zach Monette had qualified on the pole for the afternoon race by virtue of his fast 1:26.873 lap in the morning race. However, the newly refurbished Camaro's mechanical issues from earlier had not been resolved so he was a no show on the grid. Charles Wicht was now sitting in the catbird seat with Bob Monette and the new Vette along side.
At the green, Monette spun the tires and got loose with the result being that some cars checked up while others were accelerating and a melee ensued. A number of cars were put out of action and the race was black flagged. The track was cleaned up for a restart, and Wicht took the point, roared off at the green, never to be headed. Charles led wire to wire in his winged rocket, with Gene Felton valiantly chasing in the big cup car. Lee Arnold came home third overall and second in the V8 SPO class, with V8 GTA winner Tony Amico fourth overall. Roger Reuse and Randy Gay finished fifth and sixth overall and second and third in V8 GTA. Bob Mayer was next in his ex Scotty B White World Challenge Vette for second in V8 GT-1.
The Atlanta Region SCCA did an outstanding job with the logistics and also threw a well attended party at the end of Saturday's action. Thanks Atlanta Region.
The V8 StockCar racers will be back in action August 9 & 10 at Daytona where up to 35 plus stockers and GT's are expected.
V8 StockCar thanks it partners: SCCA, Atlanta Region, Hoosier, Goodyear, Mo's Gold, HRP,RaceCar Engineering, FiveStar, Howe, DRP, RacingJunk.com, Racing Limo's, Roehrig-Enders Suspension, and GrassRoots Motorsports Magazine