Third Double Champ ...
Former champs Bruce Rae, Terry Schulz
and Doug Schulz in what appears to be a SRO event.
Jack Beckham, Russell Harley, Jimmy
Fleckenstein and Kevin Keller have good seats by the far turn.
The cars and variable tracks are still
the main attraction.
Another heat ready to start.
Over the course of three days, 27 different drivers attempted
to qualify for the Speed Circuit Final in three heats
using six different tracks. All but two of the drivers had raced
at WBC previously.
first heat featured two tight tracks with less room for overtaking.
On Shanghai, this resulted in the highest bid for pole of the
weekend. Robert Rund bid seven wears/skill-- twice as much as
the second place bid -- but was able to convert pole position
into a win. Rookie WBC driver Randy Needham moved up from eighth
on the ten car starting grid to take second and also qualify.
Two-time champion Kevin Keller finished third which would eventuallu
suffice to make him the last driver to qualify for the Final
after much sweating.
At the same time, ten cars fought for qualifying spots at
Catalunya. The bids for pole were not as high and the top three
bids finished in their qualifying order but Tim Mossman came
up from sixth and made a dramatic forced pass to take the win
away from Jim Fleckenstein. Jim did finish second to claim his
spot on Sunday. Jack Beckman's third place finish would have
qualified him instead of Kevin but he was unable to stay through
Day 2 of qualifying featured tracks with longer and faster
straights. At Shanghai four of the nine cars to start the race
were forced to retire. Two would crash on the last lap. Jim Fleckenstein
and Kevin Keller started the race in the first two rows and ran
1-2 for most of the race but both cars damaged their brakes early
and they eventually gave way on Lap 3. This helped Doug Schulz
rise through the pack from sixth at the start of the last lap
to pass Bruce Rae with two corners to go for the win. Bruce would
hold on to finish second and also qualify. Franklin Haskell's
third place from ninth on the grid would fall just short of advancement.
Suzuka, while also a fast track, is more narrow then Shanghai
and this resulted in one of the biggest shemozzles of the weekend.
In the middle of the last lap a series of failed chance rolls
and forced passes in the same corner on the same turn resulted
in spins for nearly the first half of the field. John Welage
would eventually emerge from the chaos to claim the win after
starting ninth of ten. Greg Smith start second and held that
position throughout to advance. Tim Carnahan's third place finish
was not enough to advance.
The last day of qualifying saw the usual make or break driving
we've come to expect during everyone's last chance to make the
big race. The Saturday tracks featured long straights separated
by tight corners. Mostly this day saw drivers at the front of
the starting grid stay there. At Bahrain Lane Newbury and John
Welage started 1-2 and held off all challengers to finish that
way. Three of those failed challengers crashed in the attempt.
At Yas Marina Terry Schulz and Robert Rund started 1-2 and
dueled each other at the front until Robert gave way on the last
lap. Curt Collins rose from eighth on the ten car grid to finish
second in his first WBC qualifying heat.
The Final field of 12 was now set and ready to contest Sepang.
The qualifying bids were evenly split between drivers who bid
5 - 6.5 and those who bid half of that or less. Robert Rund took
pole after winning a die roll against Jim Fleckenstein and rocketed
to an early lead after the first corner. Entering the third sector
of Lap 1, three drivers had significantly changed their track
position: Jim had fallen back from second to fifth, Terry Schulz
had improved from fifth to third, and Tim had gone from last
to seventh. By the time Robert had gained the long back straight
at the end of Lap 1, Terry and Greg Smith were drawing even.
After corner 2 of lap 2, Terry had passed Robert and Greg
to take the lead for the first time. By the end of Lap 2 Terry
had extended his lead and John Welage became the race's first
DNF in a crash at the lap's last corner. At the beginning of
the last lap, Lane Newbury had moved into second and began his
run at the lead.
After corner 1 of the last lap, Lane had closed in on Terry
and two cars in the pack made their moves. Tim Mossman took a
chance, passed the pack, and moved into fourth, ready to make
a run at the lead himself. Doug Schulz also made a move in corner
1, but was blocked in his pass attempt by Jim and had to hold
position in the middle of the pack. Jim then made a forced pass
after corner 2 to get back into third place. But Tim had moved
back to third before the cars entered the tight infield section
of the track. Through the in-field section we lost two more cars
after Jim crashed and Kevin Keller suffered brake failure for
what must have felt like the billionth time this weekend. At
the second to last corner, Tim passed Lane who then damaged his
brakes and spun -- dropping back to the pack. Terry and Tim were
now a full turn ahead of Lane, Curt, Robert, and Doug who led
At the track's final corner, Tim took a chance roll for an
opportunity to drag Terry for the championship. Tim spun instead
and Terry went on to win his second WBC Speed Circuit Championship.
With Tim's slow to recover car clogging the final corner, Doug
outraced his competition to and through the corner to eventually
finish second. With Lane's brakes giving out a corner after being
damaged, Curt and Robert seemed likely to finish third and fourth
until Randy Needham went 60 mph over in the last corner for two
wear and a chance roll, then took a forced pass to duck in next
to Curt before stealing the last place on the podium. Tim would
finish sixth and Greg would finish seventh after also spinning
in the final corner.
A photo album from the finals can be found here: https://plus.google.com/photos/112828668160930178902/albums/5919745439187152321?authkey=CMuoy8vq6rCdOw
Terry is now the third person to win a second WBC Speed
Circuit Championship (Doug and Kevin being the other two).
It is also possible that this is the first time that a father
and son have finished first and second in a WBC tournament (although
I certainly have not checked to see if that is true). Although
Randy and Curt had played Speed Circuit before, this was
both of their first efforts in-person at WBC and they finished
third and fourth.