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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This coming weekend (11/8-9, 2008) the USTCC (US Touring Car Championships) will hold their 2008 series finale at Infineon Raceway. The series starts in March and ends in November. The 14 races are held at several locations across the US, including Thunderhill Raceway Park, WIllows CA, Virginia International Raceway (VIR), Alton, VA, Infineon Raceway, Sears Point CA, Gateway Raceway, Madison, IL, Putnam Park, Mt. Meridian IN, Summit Point Raceway, Summit Pt., WV, Road America, Elkhart WI, and Buttonwillow Raceway Park, Buttonwillow CA.

MINI Cooper leads the manufacturers point standing by only two points over Acura (402-400), followed by Dodge, BMW, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet, and Honda, going into the final race of the year.

Local favorite, Jerry Bradbury is currently leading the Rookie of the Year points standings by six points (262-256) . Other Mini Cooper drivers include Rich Peterson-R, and Bob Sheer-R. So come out and cheer on the Mini Coopers as they battle Acura to the bitter end. Should make for some exciting racing.




http://ustcc.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just got word that we have the OK for a MINI Corral at Infineon for the USTCC Championship Finale! So plan to come out and join all the MINI Enthusiasts and root on Jerry and Rich. Details on corral location will follow shortly. Let's give them our support!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
USTCC/NASA has agreed to allow us to set up a Mini Cooper corral in the paddock just inside turn 1 near the bridge to the carosel (turn 6). We will rope off the area on Friday afternoon and put up signs near the front entry and along the route, so just follow the signs.

Please be aware that there is a $10/person entry fee (even if you are only going for one day). I will try to get the schedule and post it soon so you know when to arrive and what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When you enter the paddock, stay along the perimeter, to the left, past Wine Country Motorsports, and snack bar, and along some of the garages. follow the outside and there will be signs Mini Cooper Corral with arrows. We are setup just on the inside of turn #1 in front of the Russell School garages.

If anyone directs you up the hill to outside parking, tell them that you are parking in the Mini Cooper Corral. If there are any questions tell them to contact Jerry Kunzman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is the recap of the weekend:

For those of you that weren't there today and don't know what happened, during Race "A" which included the finale season race for MINI Cooper in the US Touring Car Championships, many of us MINI fans hiked up across the bridge over to the area between the carousel and the paddock where we were able to view various parts of the track and follow our MINIs and drivers around the track. While there we decided to go to the "Family Grandstands" so we could sit and view the race.
Well into the race one of the Accura's got a "little crossed up" just after the start/finish straight and going into turn 1. This is a very fast portion of the track with speeds well over 100MPH. In any case, the Accura driver tried to correct and "exited" the track on the outside of turn 1. We were all sitting in the grandstands directly ahead and above. The Accura "shot" across the dirt and up the hill towards where we were. This all happened sooo fast!!! I watched as the car hit a bump and became airborne with the front going straight up. The car was "vertical" as hit almost clear the cyclone fence, but the left rear wheel caught the fence and the car abruptly too a nose dive after clearing the fence. I stood there on both tip-toes wondering which way to dive to get out of the way. The car hit hard into the grandstands and kicked up a bunch of dirt, then rolled over down the steps before coming to a stop, only feet from where we were.
Pat Kaye, Rob Cerno, myself and others rushed over to see if the driver was OK. Pat began to ask the driver questions to see if he was conscious. He replied to Pat's questions and we approached the car to try to help him out. I could see the emergency vehicles with lights flashing approaching from below and I heard one of the turn-workers yelling .."Get Back! Get Back!" We could see steam/clouds coming from under the hood of the car and only hoped it was a coolant leak and not a fuel leak. We were all concerned that it might burst into flames at any time. Once we saw the the driver was moving and the safety and fire crews were approaching, we did begin to step back.
Soon the emergency crews swarmed the area and we all got clear. Because they had no equipment to remove the car from its resting place where no car had ever gone, they decided to cut the car to remove the driver. I think they were worried and being caucious in case he had damage to his spine or neck or a concusion. It took over an hour to get him free and into an ambulance. We are all saying a prayer for him. He did look OK and hopefully he will be fine.
So to say the least, it was a exciting day at Infineon. Jerry Bradbury held on to win "Rookie of the Year" honors. Rich Peterson, the other MINI Cooper driver, dropped out early with mechanical problems, leaving Jerry to carry the MINI Banner.
All in all it was a memorable weekend. Jerry Bradbury, Rich Peterson, Vince Parker, Micky, Dave, Mark Molina and may others represented MINI well. They are a great bunch of guys, very generous, and accomodating, and very grateful to have corral full of Mini enthusiasts rooting them on. Let's continue to support these guys and their great efforts.

Here is Pat Kaye's recap:

Norm described the incident pretty accuarately and it was indeed pretty scary. I was down a few rows from the rest of the REME group and over toward the middle taking photos of the cars driving past down the back chute and at us up the main straight. We saw the driver of the blue and yellow car go straight off the corner at Turn 1 seemingly out of control and approach the hill where he went out of sight. Suddenly we heard the rev of the motor as the car catapulted up through the small cyclone fence and then dive into the stands nose first. It all happened so quickly and all of us realized he was coming right toward us and finally coming to rest on the same level of the "stands" that I was in.

I wasn't really thinking of getting the driver out as much as trying to see if he was able to communicate back. He was a bit dazed but he did lift his face shield and say "Yes, I'm OK". I then told him to stay still as help was on the way and we reassured him that the car was not on fire. As Norm states, the corner workers and emergency crews are really a long way away from where this car landed and everyone was lucky it wasn't a major spectator event (like NASCAR) where there would easily have been many casualties in the stands.

When the first emergency worker arrived at the bottom the "Family Grandstand" area, he was screaming at the driver to get his attention. The worker was so far away the driver couldn't hear him but he could hear me as I had only backed up about a row or two (after the screaming corner worker got our attention and told us to "GET AWAY FROM THE CAR!". I can understand her concerns but both Norm & I have a background in racing as Norm used to drive in the SCCA & I used to wrench for an AMA Pro motorcycle roadracer so we knew what were were doing).

By this time the driver had removed his helmet and was just staring out the windshield. I got his attention and got him to look down at the emergency worker who was trying to get a quick idea of his condition. He asked "What is your name?" The driver responded "Angelo ...." Then he was asked, "Where are you right now?" The driver said "Infineon Raceway". The next question was interesting as the worker asked "Are you upset about what just happened?" The driver looked at him, turned back away while at the same time removing his Nomex hood and pulling out his earplugs and tossed them in disgust, then said "I can't hear you!" (Obviously he wasn't too happy about the situation where he was somehow looking back at the main straightaway at about a 45 degree angle, from the top of the hill he had run into!).

At this point, ALL of the spectators in the area were told to clear the area and go back across the bridge to the main paddock area. As we (Litabelle & Robcerno + their kids, Norm, Checkers, Hans, another MINI owner, and me) quickly walked back toward the bridge I did hear one corner worker yell at a spectator who had rushed over to the scene and was taking photos, to "DELETE THOSE PHOTOS NOW!" Not sure what that was all about but I just put my camera away. When we got to the bottom of the hill Norm asked me if I got a pic of the car and I said yes.

Actually, down at the awards ceremony, all of the crashed driver's friends and team members were trying to figure out what had happened so Norm & I shared what we had witnessed and I showed them the photo of the car with the worker trying to help. I mentioned to them that the emergency crews had told everyone to delete their photos and they all asked me NOT to delete this one as Angelo might want to see it someday.

We were all thankful that none of the spectators were hurt as all of us were showered with the dirt that "exploded" off the top of the hill when the car blasted up through the small cyclone fence. It was like we were in one of those "worst crash" videos you see on TV and as the car slammed into the cinderblock stands, nose down and kept sliding toward us taking out the small handrails in the process. It then spun around and rolled over once and came to an abrupt stop, with suspension pieces laying all over the area, the left wheel imbedded in the cinderblock at the point of impact, and the complete exhaust system within about 30 ft of us!

All in all it was a fun REME "Day at the Races" albeit cold and windy. I'll post my photos (including the crashed Acura) in the photo forum. We had a pretty good turn out with as many as 17 cars plus a "wannabe MINI" Porsche whose driver just assumed we were a "wannbe Porsche club".

Jerry wanted Norm & I to thank everyone who came out to cheer him and the other MINI drivers on. He said having a fan base there to support him made him really want to have a good race. He won the Rookie of the Year honors in his class & I have the photos of the awards ceremony too.

Reports from Angelo's race team is that he is OK and has been released from the hospital.

http://nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=24705

http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/gallery/data/500/medium/100_3256.jpg
 
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