A super Saturday at the 44th Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) that put Sports 2000 and late road racing great Gene Felton in the spotlight, and also featured a parade of motorsports legends and top HSR competitors to victory lane, will go into the record books as one of the biggest event days to date in the long history of the HSR Mitty.
Successful vintage and historic racing competitor Fritz Seidel topped a field of 43 competitors to score the Sports 2000 Feature Race victory in his 2004 No. 02 Carbir CS.
HSR regular Ben Myers earned the attention of more than one Sports 2000 competitor with a solid second-place finish in his 2001 No. 29 Carbir CS. Myers kept the pressure on to the finish, taking the checkered flag just 0.441 of a second behind Seidel and setting the fastest race lap.
John Thompson finished third in his 1991 No. 14 Lola T90/91. Thompson podiumed for the second straight HSR Sports 2000 race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta after winning the “S2” Feature Race last September at the HSR Fall Historics.
The Inaugural Gene Felton Memorial Challenge was a moving affair on and off the race track. The unveiling of the spectacular new Lanier Technical College Gene Felton Trophy was an event in itself, with the hand-built award featuring actual pieces of Road Atlanta asphalt, decorative clear vials of the Georgia red clay that surrounds the track and a silver cup replicating one of Felton’s many racing trophies.
The first driver who will have his name engraved on this perpetual masterpiece is former NASCAR star Joe Nemechek. “Front Row” Joe topped a field of 28 HSR Group 8 Stock Cars in his NEMCO Motorsports 2006 No. 8 Toyota Camry to win the first Gene Felton Memorial Challenge race, but he had to hold off a NASCAR legend all the way to the checkered flag.
Hall of Famer and frequent HSR competitor Bill Elliott kept the pressure on Nemechek to the end in his 2010 No. 9 Ford Fusion. Elliott, who was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) in 2007 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, crossed the finish line just 1.501 seconds behind Nemechek.
Brian Norman finished third in the Gene Felton Memorial race in his 2006 No. 41 Dodge Charger. Lanier Technical College donations in Felton’s honor can be made at https://www.laniertechfoundation.org.
Nemechek and Elliott weren’t the only former motorsports stars to visit victory lane at the 44th HSR Mitty. Former Corvette Racing winning driver Johnny O’Connell returned to the wheel of the Bill Heifner-owned 2011 No. 5 Cadillac CTS/VR and won Saturday’s HSR Stoner Car Care Global GT race.
O’Connell was joined on the Stoner Car Care podium by Terry Mathis in his 2006 No. 71 Corvette C6 and Ben Johnston in third in his 2015 No. 96 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup.
Saturday’s final feature race, the HSR Classic RS Cup sprint, was won by always-quick Porsche driver Yves Scemama in his 1974 No. 52 Porsche 911 IROC prepared by Heritage Motorsports.
Angus Rogers finished second in RS Cup in his KMW Motorsports 1973 No. 15 Porsche 911 RSR while Jack Lewis completed the podium in third in his Jack Lewis Enterprises 1974 No. 9 Porsche 911 RSR.
Scemama continued his winning ways in Sunday’s B.R.M Chronographes GT Classic (GTC) and Vintage Enduro with an overall and GTC win in his No. 52 Porsche.
Repeat was the word of the B.R.M. race as Craig Watkins followed up on his Friday Sasco Sports International/American Challenge race win with a Vintage-class victory in his 901 Shop 1968 No. 46 Porsche 911.