ROAD ATLANTA 2007
Whoever said that size doesn't matter obviously hasn't been to a recent V8StockCar race.
With nearly 40 cars making up the big bore field at the 2007 American Road Race of Champions (ARRC), nearly every body in attendance was at the fence for this shootout.
At stake were three V8 StockCar class championships and year long bragging rights.
With talented "shoes" like Jeff Emery, Rick Dittman, Gene Felton, Scott Murphy, "Wild Bill" Smith, Bryan Dobyns, Jay Marshall, Lee Arnold, John Finger and a host of others, great competition and non stop action was assured.
With a paddock crammed with race cars and transporters like never before, and which spilled over outside the track into the parking lot, the ARRC has taken on the feel of a truly
Road Atlanta, considered by many drivers to North America's most challenging circuit, is the perfect venue to stage a championship race.
On the overall pole, in a mild upset, was Rick Dittman, the long time GT-1 stalwart and privateer Trans Am and IMSA Camel GT competitor in his Weaver chassis Camaro. Dittman clocked a quick 1.25.7 to edge Jeff Emery in the "world's fastest road race stock car," by a tenth.
In V8 SPO, Scott Murphy, driving his ex Johnny Benson Pennzoil Nextel Cup Pontiac, nipped Gene Felton and Bill Smith. Bryan Dobyns, the 2006 ARRC V8 GTA winner got it done again besting Jay Marshall and the rest with a record 1.31.446 run.
At the green, Dittman led into turn one only to have Emery get inside him on the backside to lead lap one. Dittman, not about to give in soon re-passed, only to have Emery return the favor a few turns later. Emery led Dittman for the next couple of laps before Dittman began to slip back, slightly at first, and then more noticeably. It was soon apparent that something was amiss on his Camaro.
Soon, Dittman was parked with electrical gremlins and Emery was safe from further challenges. Bob Monette in his beautiful C5 Corvette ran solidly and came home second in V8GT-1.
In V8 SPO, Scott Murphy, Gene Felton (Kasey Kahne Dodge), Bill Smith (worlds oldest tube frame stock car), and Lee Arnold (ex Boris Said SWT car) were hard at it, giving no quarter.
Smith was sidelined about half way through the race, and the final order was Murphy, Felton and Arnold. Arnold's third place finish was enough to give him the season V8 SPO championship.
In V8 GTA, Virginia's Bryan Dobyn's had been the class of the field, all weekend, setting a new lap record in qualifying and running a near flawless race garnering the class win and finishing fifth overall. Jay Marshall gamely gave chase and kept pace, but just couldn't get close enough to challenge. Marshall's second place finish in his ex ASA series car, prepared by Mike Cope Racing secured him the V8 GTA championship
The V8 StockCar Finale at the ARRC was stock car road racing at its' finest, with big, loud, small block V8's booming down the straights and out of the turns with brace souls piloting them. Certainly stock car road racing has struck a nerve and looks to be here to stay.