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Tim Nichols Pilots MM Equipped #22 To AIX Win In Season Debut!

AI West Race Report - Thunderhill, April 2003

Round two of the American Iron West Championship Series took place at Thunderhill Park in Willows, CA on April 5-6, 2003. After the first round at Fontana, both AI and AIX saw the first few positions just a few points apart, with good battles developing in both classes.

The forecast called for the possibility of some showers, but the weekend was clear and the track conditions were fast. Tim Nichols made his season debut in the Maximum Motorsports #22 car, and took the AIX pole. Guy Cunningham led the field for Saturday's race from the AI pole. The race had a new twist, beginning with a standing start instead of the traditional flying start the racers and fans are accustomed to. After the rubber and clutch dust cleared, the field thundered into the first turn inches apart, and without swapping any paint. A fast pack with Cunningham, Karas, Chambers, and Nichols pulled away from the main group and set multiple sub-2:00 laps as they fought for the lead. The end result saw Nichols walk away with the AIX win, with Bill Daffron in second, and newcomer Larry Vanderford in third. In AI, Karas took the win, with Cunningham and Chambers in the next two spots.

Sunday's qualifying saw Nichols setting the top time for the group and again securing the AIX pole. Karas took the AI pole to complete the front of the grid. The race again began with a standing start, but this time the AIX/AI field was behind the slower CMC grid. This meant the AI racers had to run through a pack of nearly 20 cars to get some daylight. The start was again clean with Bruce Griggs heading up front to start the charge. Karas, Chambers, Cunningham and Nichols followed Griggs' lead and dove into the herd of CMC cars like wolves on the hunt. These fast five battled until Nichols was forced to slow with fuel pick-up problems, leaving the front four. The race ended with Karas coming out on top. The final order in AI was Karas, Cunningham, and Chambers. AIX saw Griggs take the win with Daffron and Nichols in the next two spots.

All in all, it was another great show that left the crowds begging for more. Nichols' strong performance in his first weekend in the #22 car has sparked a great battle between the Perfectly Legal/Maximum Motorsports team and the rest of the AIX field.