Who’s Coming to 944 Cup Nationals?
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by Patti Mascone
(As of July 10, 2015)

As we speak, 944 Cup competition is taking place all over the Porsche Club racing calendar, in the PCA classes known as SP1, SP2, and SP3. While South action had a jump on the weather, the North, Midwest, and Canada chapters are running on high gear. No matter where the front-engine pilots come from, an even larger carrot awaits at the 2015 944 Cup and Super Cup National Championship: One Sunday sprint on September 27, 2015 at the Summit to decide it all.

For this year's competition in Cup (normally aspirated 944) and Super Cup (S2, Turbo, 968), drivers can race in any chapter competition, throw solid finishes on the board, and see how the local points add up. Enough markers are left on the table for the Summit event to impact one or more of the regional hunts, because racers can collect double points in the Appalachian foothills. This may be the first year where someone wins two different chapter titles. If this is not enough, there's a whole bunch of Porsche Club points up for grabs in SP1, SP2, and SP3.

A Fitting Venue for the PCA-944 Cup Partnership
Summit Point is centrally located in West Virginia, south of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the mid-Atlantic coastal states. Fresh pavement highlights the track's 10 turns, two of which connect the 2,900-foot (880-meter) front straight. Race co-chair Fred Pfeiffer has let us know about recent improvements, focusing on safety, particularly in the twisty Carousel-to-Turn 9 complex; these include increasing and regrading run-off, reworking tire walls, making the bridge abutment areas safer, and moving a flag stand further off-track.

According to the track website, the 2.1-mile course was host to a number of professional IMSA and SCCA Trans-Am races in the 1980s; drivers roared down the same spine-chilling "chute" you can run today. Among the pros were Michael Andretti in an open-wheeler and Paul Newman, who (unbeknownst to some of his competitors) piloted a Datsun 510, displaying a license plate that simply read "PLN."

Members of the host region, Potomac, have always been ahead of the times, from the day they founded PCA to their launch of club racing at Summit Point in 1992. Ten years later, 944 Cup had its start at the circuit; and by 2005, the successful partnership between PCA and 944 Cup was established.

Racers We Hope to Watch
Although some clear contenders have emerged, "depth" is an apt adjective for 2015's hunt for the 944 Cup championship.In looking at the average number of eligible Cup contenders per region, a deep field of helmets could be thrown into the ring, topping last year's total of 31 national entrants.

944 Cup Notables
(According to results of July 10, 2015)
Currently, Fred Beasely leads the South region (and the nation) in total points, at 282. But five opportunities remain-two at Summit and three at Daytona, giving Dave Rodenroth, two-time South champ, several chances to close in on Beasely's total of three wins and three seconds. Nipping on Rodenroth's heels is Nort Northam, who had strong runs at Sebring and Road Atlanta. Behind the trio of Floridians are 23 more South racers who have competed during the season's first three events, including Rodrigo Herrera, who earned a win at the Sebring opener.

Up North and in Canada-two regions sharing events at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock-the standings are tight, with James Rothenberger, David Mann, Jeffrey Muller, and Alan Cohen all separated by just under 20 points. Although last-year's overall champion Randy Smith had some recent bad luck, you can't count him out to repeat.

Not only will August events and Summit Point both factor into the chapter outcomes, any of the above gentlemen could leave Summit with national honors. Or will it be someone else, perhaps a local driver, like Patrick James, or a globe-trekker (from Mosport to Sebring, at least) in Margaret Jakubowski?

Super Cup Contenders
Super Cup attendance remains strong across the chapters, with an average of 24 racers per region on the board for season points.

On the category's southern swing, only two points separate Dennis Hiffman, defending Midwest champion, from Michael McMenamin. Each has a win at Sebring (worth 40 points); and each earned over 100 points at Road Atlanta, the result being a slim two-point margin for the Chicago competitor (who was second at nationals last year) over the Carolinian. Meanwhile, Whiskey Bottom's Kerry Brown possesses the most Super Cup wins-three, all occurring at NOLA's Indy circuit.

The current points leaders will have to watch their mirrors, because Jonathan Foulds, Claudio Rodriguez, and Karl Poeltl (three-time national Super Cup champion) have at least one win on the year. Hmmm ... things could get exciting because none of these competitors shows any PCA-Rennpoints results on the rolling circuit, with its long front straight and a fast downhill kink.

For the North and Canada chapters, Damon DeCastro, a Summit regular, and Mark Azierski have finished every attempted race, propelling them to the current points lead. But four other drivers have wins, including former Super Cup champ Steven Wilson (another Summit veteran), Michal Stach (2014 North winner), Ronald Cohen, and McMenamin.

For more information on the club race, visit: https://pcapotomac.org/activities/club-race.

To learn more about 944 Cup and see the most up-to-date standings, see: http://www.44cup.com/.