MM News

Tim Nichols Leads Willow Springs AIX Race, Flag to Flag in the MM #22

AI West Race Report - Willow Springs, May 2003

Round three of the American Iron West Championship Series was run at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA on May 24-25, 2003. The first weekend of the summer season was warm and clear, with temperatures in the mid-90's testing the cooling systems of both the cars and the racers themselves.

After qualifying on the AIX pole, and second overall, Nichols took the overall lead before the first turn and stayed out in front for the entire race. Kevin Chambers took the Overall and AI pole, and Vageli Karas was just behind. Only .3 seconds separated the top three qualifiers. The race began with a flying start. Nichols dove inside Chambers entering Turn One, and pulled into the lead by corner exit. The rest of the field entered into Turn One bunched tightly together. Nichols pulled out to a five second lead early in the race and held it. Chambers, Karas, and Cunningham fought for the AI lead, with Gilpin close behind. After a few laps, Chambers began to drop back with mechanical trouble, which left Karas and Cunningham to duel for the AI lead. After leading all the way to the checkered flag, Nichols took the Overall and AIX win. Cunningham ended up in front of the AI field, with Karas in second. Gilpin brought his MM-suspended car home for the third spot on the AI podium. Neil Hershorin and rookie J.R. Smith were in the next two AIX spots, with only fractions of a second between them.

In Sunday's race, car owner John Lindsey climbed back into the driver's seat of number 22 to qualify second in AIX, and fifth overall. In a departure from the normal starting procedure, the cars were brought to a stop on the front straight after the pace lap. There they waited for the green flag to initiate a tire-burning standing start. Lindsey brought back skills honed while street racing in his youth, and jumped from fifth on the grid to second by the first turn. Lindsey stayed within a few car lengths of the race leader, but eventually lost ground as the tires lost grip. Lindsey finished second in AIX, sixth overall. Tim Gilpin took the flag right behind Lindsey, for fifth in AI, seventh overall.

Entrants included Tim Nichols, John Lindsey, Tim Gilpin, Brian Murphy, Mike Armstrong, Ernesto Roco, Christine Knight, Keith Videtto, Chaka Milby, Vageli Karas, Neil Hershorin, Guy Cunningham, Bruce Griggs, Kevin Chambers, and J.R. Smith.