MARC 2013 – 2014 Season Race #1 – Thompson Raceway Park

MARC season opener and were going to the country…

Thompson, Connecticut,  September 14, 2013 – In what is starting to become a tradition, we once again start the MARC season at Durf Hyson’s Thompson Raceway Park.  The track was in great shape and the scenery is just about complete (is scenery ever totally complete?) making for a unique and challenging racing venue.  Twelve drivers dusted off their pit boxes and showed up for some fast and competitive racing.  First class of the day was G-Jet with lexan bodies, specifically, Can-Am bodies.  As in past years, we bring variety to the G-Jet field with some great looking Can-Am bodies.  Unfortunately nobody remembered to take pictures this year, so you had to be there to enjoy them.

 After an hour and half of practice, five amateurs were up for the first race of the season.  MARC regulars Benny Leyro, Tom Bussmann, Durf Hyson, and Eric Handel were joined by Phil Hilgert.  Phil has made several MARC races in the past and we hope to see him on a more regular basis this season.  From the start Benny, Tom, and Phil were in a tight race with the lead switching among the three of them.  Heat averages were in the 34 – 35 range.  A couple of offs were all that separated the three.  In the end Benny Leyro had the high heat total of 36 laps in red and a total of 136 laps to take first.  Tom Bussmann finished second with good consistent laps across all lanes for a total of 135 laps.  Phil Hilgert was also very consistent with a lap total of 133.   Eric Handel showed some smooth driving and good heat totals to finish fourth with 124 laps.  Our host Durf may have spent a bit too much time assisting others instead of practicing.  He finished with a lap total of 113.  All in all, an excellent start to the season.


Next up were the Pros, and I use that term loosely.  Vince Tamburo would be making his Pro debut based on his overall first place finishes in the Production and Championship classes last season.  John “Mr Four Seconds” was predicting some fast times.  Ultimately they were not quite that fast.  More like the 6 second lap range.  Mr Four Seconds might need some new glasses to read the computer.  In any case Mr Reimels put up 161 laps to cover the rest of the field.  The always cool and calm Erik Eckhardt laid down 152 laps to take second.  Vince had an impressive Pro debut taking third place with 141 laps.  Paul Ryer finished fourth with 138 laps closely followed by Dave Muse with 136 laps and Rob Hayes 135 laps.  With his move up from the Amateur race Benny put up 3 less laps for a total of 133.  Tom Gray ran into some mechanical issues leaving him with 114 laps.

 As always, Susan prepared some tasty chicken parm and meatballs that the crew quickly filled up on, and of course a wide selection of cake and cookie.  Nobody leaves Durf’s hungry.  As the lunch dust settled, guys were thrashing on their Super Stock cars looking for that optimal setup.

 Practice concluded and it was time for the Amateurs to take to the track.  As with the G-Jet race, a tight battle between Benny, Tom Bussmann, and Philip Hilgert ensued.  Tom and Benny broke away and dueled hard through the final heat.  In the end Tom Bussmann took the win with 213 laps.  Benny was second with 211 laps and Philip had another good run finishing third with 204 laps.  Durf was not far back with 198 laps for fourth and Eric Handel crossed the line with 189 laps.

 With his win, Tom Bussmann moved up to run with the Pros for the final race of the day.  Lap times were pretty fast in practice but the question was who would be consistent.  Rob Hayes proved that he had found the setup and had his trigger finger tuned up and was Vettel like during the race.  He quickly pulled away from the pack and laid down 251 laps which is a MARC record for Super Stock on Durf’s tracks to take first.  Erik Eckhardt and Paul Ryer traded the lead across the four lanes in a tight race.  In the end, Erik buckled down in red and took second with 233 laps.  Paul finished third with 231 laps followed by John Reimels in fourth with 226 laps.  Tom finished with 210, three laps less than his amateur race total.  Dave Muse was next with 188 laps followed by Vince with 188 laps and Tom Gray with 179 laps.

Thus concluded the MARC season opener at Durf’s Thompson Raceway Park.  Thank you Durf and Susan for you hospitality.  We’ll see everyone at the next race!