the 16th Champion
The finalists gather for the big race.
A battle for second is developing
as Terry enjoys a rare big lead.
33 drivers competed for 12 spots in the Final grid over three
qualifying heats from Portugal (Estoril) to South Africa (Kylami)
to Canada (Montreal).
Two first heat races were won by Seth Kirchner and Jim Fleckenstein.
Franklin Haskell would pick up the first of his two third place
finishes. All three drivers would qualify for the Final with
Qualifiers from the second heat included victors Doug Schulz,
Jeff Cornett (improving on his second from the rprevious heat)
and Doug Galullo, as well as runners-ups John Welage, Mike Aubuchon,
and Robert Kircher.
Qualifying in the third and last heat were victors Terry Schulz
and Scott Cornett (improving on his second in the first heat),
and runner-up Dennis Nicholson.
The Final race at Suzuka in Japan had a full twelve car field
of seven victors, four runner-ups, and the best third place finisher.
In all, five former champs would be in the line-up. Three more
had failed to qualify.
There was some significant bidding for pole position on this
track, with Jeff bidding 8 wear for the pole and Terry 6 to gain
the outside of Row 1. Row 2 was populated with Jim and Doug G
who each bid 4 wear. Seth and Scott populated the third row,
Doug S. and Robert the fourth, and Dennis and Mike the fifth.
John and Franklin took the last row.
This Final began with fireworks when Jim miss-shifted off
the starting grid to lose precious space going into the first
corner and Doug S stalled on the grid to fall all the way back
to the end of the pack with a damaged engine to boot. On the
positive side, Terry took command of the race early by exploiting
his 100 start speed to immediately gain two spaces over row-mate
Jeff and began his second consecutive Final from the lead.
Doug G and Robert found themselves in position to challenge
early in Lap 1 when Robert miss-plotted heading into the sixth
corner. The amount of wear and skill chips he expended to stay
on the track greatly hurt his future prospects.
Terry plotted an excellent first lap from his lead position
and continued to put pressure on the trailing cars. Terry had
a three-space advantage over Doug G after half a lap. Doug G.,
who also tangled with Terry last year, blew a top speed test
on the front straight, then mis-plotted in the middle of the
back straight as Terry gained greater separation. Terry maintained
at least a four-space lead through the remainder of the race's
check points with minimal wear usage. He had five wear left mid-way
through the last lap.
With this year's champion racing off into the sunset, Scott
and Seth fought a tight battle for second through the last two
laps. Side-by-side coming out of the last corner, Seth achieved
greater speed to gain second by a space. Jim and Mike passed
Doug G. and then dueled to the end for 4th place wood. Mike led
Jim most of the race up to the end of the last lap when Jimmy
out accelerated Mike for fourth coming out of the last corner.
John managed to escape a raucous back marker fight to claim
6th place and the last of the laurels. Despite nothing but pride
on the line, the final three cars of the field fought tooth and
nail for position on the final half lap and stayed in a tight
knot through multiple spins and stayed on track through multiple
rolls. Jeff crossed the line just ahead of Doug G and Franklin
who had been stymied in his come from behind strategy all race
It was a particularly sweet victory for Terry, who had been
close several times before and had lead in the second lap of
the Final last year before tangling with Doug G and eventually
More details on Speed Circuit racing as practised at
WBC at http://www.lucidphoenix.com/sc/wbc/