Feast or Famine at VIR 2015 --
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Photo of George James by Ken Hills.

Article by Patti Mascone

Again, the dog days of summer came a bit early as a torrid heat wave and the Porsche Club of America's "Rumble at the Oak Tree" converged to form a boiling point. Survival for three legs of racing at Virginia International Raceway was left to the fittest, those who paced themselves, and those driving the most durable machines.

While several track records were set last year after the circuit's repaving, this year's hottest laps were notably among the Boxster categories, as Chris Drake set a new standard in Spec Boxster at 2:12.59; and Douglas DePietro lowered the mark in Class F to 2:08.47. On the other hand, frontrunner Daniel Yonker put himself out of SPB contention with a practice crash that pummeled his Boxster.

In the Red Checker enduro (Classes E-G,SPB, SP1-3, GT5), there were 10 DNFs (for mechanicals and incidents, bringing out two yellows that closed the pits) and seven DQs (for failing to pit), meaning half the field was not included in the official standings, which transfer to championship points. When the dust settled, Yonker managed to maintain a slim one-point margin in the SPB national championship over Drake. One of the best drives of the day was that of George James, who maintained a strong pace and saved his Brakes as others wavered; James drove the 1974 911 from 21st on the grid to eighth overall. The Potomac native also earned 20 points to place the Potomac racer second in points nationally.

Not many were left after sprint races to line up for the companion Black Checker enduro (Classes J-I, remaining GTs). The small grid of 29 mostly modern Porsches and Cup cars was further depleted by 11 DNFs, plus two DQs for refueling infractions on pit stops. The most difficult DNF to watch was that of polesitter Joe Toussaint (GTA2), who led every lap he ran, but the last one. Although the Texan's GT3R cup held on long enough to garner a third-place finish overall, the DNF wiped out any points for the effort. Meanwhile, Andy Wilzoch left Virginia with 21 points, placing him second in the category's national championship.