Series leading competitors Randy Webb and Steve Diniz dueled one another to the checkered flag in both rounds five and six of the North American MINI Cooper Championship held at Summit Point Raceway on June 29. To the delight of the fans and MINI enthusiasts assembled, the outcome of both races was contested throughout. Randy Webb driving his Webb Motorsports sponsored MINI Cooper ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â (unlimited class) would win the first race, while Steve Diniz in the MINI Madness sponsored MINI Cooper ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â (unlimited class) was the outright winner of race two.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSuper races,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â commented Phil Wicks, series organizer. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe best races of our young series so far, IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m very pleased with the competitiveness and the tremendous enthusiasm shown among the competitors as well as the MINI fans that watched. With more entries in the pipeline, IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m excited about our future events. This is going to be one terrific racing series!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Three other MINI racers were entered in the event, but DNS due to mechanical problems. These included Will Haney in Group 5 and two classic MINIs of Robert Gomes and Ralph Cestero. Also scheduled to race were Grand-AmÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Tony Nuzzo and SCCA National Champion Pete Taylor but neither was able to make the event.
In race one, Steve Diniz set the pace by claiming pole position with Randy Webb a close second. At the start, Webb moved into first and was able to hold off a hard-charging Diniz to claim the victory. Rounding out the field was Brian Black and Matt Jenson both in Group 4 MINIs, Waylen Hunsucker in a Group 3 MINI came in 5th while Larry Holloway in a classic Mini finished in 6th place.
Race two saw Webb on pole position and Diniz in second, but Diniz was able to take the lead on the first lap. Mid-way through the race, Diniz went off course with a failing ABS brake system losing the lead and falling several places before recovering some speed with his ill-handling car. In the final laps, both Webb and Black ran out of gas, handing over the surprising victory to Diniz. The final order of finish was Diniz, rookie driver Jenson in 2nd, followed by Holloway, Hunsucker and DNFs recorded for Webb and Black.
The exciting races were captured on video by the cameras of the MavTV network, which launched its coverage of the series with the Summit Point event. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m excited to see MavTV at our races,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Wicks. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey did a fantastic job in both covering the races as well as capturing the enthusiasm and passion our racers have for the MINI.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Broadcast times will be announced at a later date. MavTV will cover and broadcast all the events of the 2007 North American MINI Cooper Championship.
The North American MINI Cooper Championship now takes a breather with the final east coast event scheduled for September 23-24 at Carolina Motorsports Park before ending the season on the west coast at Buttonwillow Raceway on October 30.