NASA Pro Racing  American Iron West Race Report  Round Six
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Infineon Raceway, October, 7-8, 2006
By Andy Bowman

Series Sponsors: ToyoTires, Maximum Motorsports, Steeda Autosports, Griggs Racing, J&M Products, Anze Engineering

An epic racing weekend just about sums up the sixth round in American Iron West at historic Infineon Raceway. The return of class leaders, highly prepared challengers and new rookies built up the two-month off weekend with anticipation.

After his exceptional performance at the inaugural NASA National Championships, Patrick Lindsey returned to the West region to challenge the AI field of Gary Umphenour, Andy Bowman, Bryan McMillan, Hal Massey, and Dean Jones. The AIX class included the return of Bruce Griggs and Jonathan Witherow, along with rookies Corey Weber and Ryan Willson. This would be Ryan Willson's first race weekend with the AI group, in a well prepared Griggs Racing built SN95 Mustang.

Throwing in the wrench&with Patrick Lindsey's return, the AI points race became a big question, with a hundred what-If questions. Coming into the weekend, the Iceman Umphenour only led Bowman by a small margin. McMillan and Massey's consistent performance is always another wrench in the mix, leaving no room for errors by the points leaders. Yet, rumors of suspension upgrades and a new motor in Lindsey's Fox Mustang, and solid performance at the national's created drama right up to the race starts. Bowman threw in his own wrench, with the help of JBA Racing installing new exhaust and new Maximum Motorsports rear IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) coil-over shocks.

In fact, the 2006 AI points' race is still a heated battle for the top five positions. The Gentleman Massey is only 92-points behind McMillan, and Dean Jones could mix up the fight with Massey and McMillan if they make any driving errors or mechanical gremlins strike.

In AIX, the return of AIX point leaders, Team Witherow, meant a slim chance for rookie Corey Weber to close the point's gap and challenge for the championship. Mathematically, Team Witherow could lock in the 2006 Championship with a solid performance by the end of the weekend. Yet another wrench in the weekend however, was another on track performance by Bruce Griggs of Griggs Racing and rookie Ryan Willson, not having a dyno-sheet, classed his AI car in AIX. The new gun with years of HPDE and TT driving experience ended up being fast and putting pressure on the whole group.

Qualifying surprises. With suspension work and more power, Bowman in the #99 SN95 Mustang IRS-Cobra car scored his first ever AI-pole position. Bruce Griggs scored AIX pole position in the #40 Tijuana Taxi. Lindsey started late in the qualifying session never got a clean lap and ended with poor results. On his home track, rookie Ryan Willson just beat out Weber and the SN95 4.6L motor of the Gentleman Massey pulled hard to take 3rd position in AI qualifying.

Saturday AI Qualifying Results

1. #99 Bowman - 1.53.519
2. #73 Umphenour - 1.54.721
3. #46 Massey - 1.57.071
4. #34 McMillan - 1.58.55
5. #85 Jones - 2.12.317
6. #117 Lindsey - DNQ

Saturday AIX Qualifying Results

1. #40 Griggs - 1.53.349
2. #04 Team Witherow - 1.55.310
3. #49 Willson - 1.55.656
4. #47 Weber - 1.55.828
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