Dark Horse # 3 BP Corvette wins Pro Am as favorite gets “hung out to dry"
Sara Fisher and Kirk Blaha won the prestigious Pro Am race, the Centerpiece of the 4th annual SVRA Brickyard Indy Invitational extravaganza. It’s a story they will likely never forget.
Kirk qualified the # 3 small block ex Bud Deshler SCCA BP Corvette on the second row thanks to his driving ability and upgrades made by his dad Rick Blaha working with Duntov Motors.
They beat Jody O’Donnell and Roberto Guerrero in the # 46A big block Corvette through strategy and racing luck.
About 2/3 into the race, Willy T Ribbs blew the motor in the big block # 36 that he and Edward Sevadjian were piloting for Duntov customer Jim Kitzmiler. The incident brought out a full course yellow. The stewards decided better to close the pits and prevent a mad scramble while the oil was being cleaned up. Perhaps not the best choice given the outcome.
When the pits finally opened, the 5’4” Fisher climbed in for the 6’4” Blaha. She emerged just as the 40-min race was winding down. Running the same pit stop strategy, for Guerrero it was either remain in the pits or violate the 5-minute minimum and re-enter the track as the race came to an end. The car was consequently not scored.
Corvettes flex their muscle in Sat/Sun Brickyard Sprint races
# 46A Jody O’Donnell of Dallas got his just rewards winning Group 6 over a 35-car field. (note Hoosiers on front/Goodyears on rear!!)
# 42 Peter Klutt from Ontario CN was 2 nd. Klutt has built Legendary Motors into a top classic car dealership and restoration shop while becoming a celebrity on Velocity Channel.
# 17 Mark Rife from FL was 3 rd in a well-designed Corvette he built from the ground up.
# 46 Ryan Klutt was 5 th in the Corvette that Peter Klutt first turned heads with at Watkins Glen in 2003.
# 93 Jonathan Pfeffer, Indy native and son of Robert Pfeffer won Group 12B. He posted lap times in an authentic 1994 ex Tommy Morrison Mobil 1 “Snakeskinner” that ranked with some of the Group 10 cars in the combined race.
# 4 Ray Zisa from CT in his impeccable C4 WC usually comes out ahead, exactly like Kim Baker did with this car in 1986 and 1987. That provoked the SCCA Pro Racing officials to ban Corvettes the following year giving rise to a spec racing series originated by firebrand John Powell. It was called the Corvette Challenge and was quite a sensation for 2 years.
# 27 Mark Horner from TX stepped up to win his class in a Corvette Challenge car that was originally raced by Randy Pauley.
# 57 Dave Roberts from NC had the fastest straight-axle Corvette in the ex-Jim Smith Engineering car he restored right down to correct steel wheels and drum brakes. Carburetor problems kept him from winning Group 4. Maybe the original fuelie setup is in the cards.
# 56 Tony Parella, SVRA Over-Achiever-in-Chief, won Group 4 in an ex Mark Mountanos 1958 Corvette that runs and looks better each time out under the care of Duntov Motors.
We could not tell the story about this epic Corvette weekend without the images supplied by pro John Lacko, Larry VanScoy plus Michael Zoch, Rick Blaha, Walt Kuhn, Mark Lebryk and others. Thank you all for contributing. And the SVRA folks that make it happen.