944 Cup Shows Strong at Hyperfest
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by Patti Mascone

Whether it was the heavy air, the four cylinders or the re-routed turbo fumes, it seemed a swarm of bees had descended upon Summit Point for the popular (or notorious, some might say) National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Hyperfest, July 8-9. A record-tying 38 entries registered to come to the West Virginia circuit, for Mid-Atlantic Rounds 8 and 9, amid a multitude of tuner events.

A Chevrolet Cobalt was fastest in the Autobahn group, which along with Porsches featured this American model, BMWs, Hondas, Sentras and Neons. The normally aspirated (NA) 944s, wholly based on momentum, never wound up to their usual pace. Tom Schmitz earned his first pole ever, nonetheless, matching Steve Randolph in the 1:29s. Because the pace truck kept the opening orbit fast during qualifying, Don Ruschman shot out of a canon to a 1:26 lap, two seconds ahead of the next quickest among the Apex Performance Super Cup drivers.

Schmitz's 944 Cup pole was soon undermined by a gridding glitch that sent him to start about fifth, for which the NASA steward roundly apologized. Because the Porsches started in strange places, Mike Buck was soon in the grass. Unaffected by the chaos around him, Ruschman's 951 sped away in Super Cup. The flashing silver #301 of J. Welte came up from fourth for second on this day, while Tony Kelly came from the paper's Tenth to just off the podium after 14 laps.

On the third Cup lap, "Jersey Joe" Hrymack attempted to pass Randolph into the slow righthander, Turn 1, but Randolph crossed to the right to defend. Hrymack went left, but this move put the pair inside of another Porsche, spelling spin for Hrymack and victory for Randolph. Chris Brady also made a strong start, but ended up in the Turn 10 tires. Eric Rupert, albeit unhappy with his car's handling and lack of limited slip, stuck it to the eventual winner's tire tracks for second, his 2.7 model registered 3030 pounds on his points-earning debut. In the normally aspirated 924 battle, the double whammy of Jeremy and Raymond Jadczak could not conquer Jerry Long, who took his first points of the season.

After the race, the steward held court in the parking lot, adjucating the metal-to-metal contacts. Along with the Cobalt driver, who had touched three Porsches by day's end, and a BMW pilot, Hrymack was disqualified. Racers were told that penalties were going up on Sunday for at-fault incidents or blown flag sightings.
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