HulaCross Race & Results - May 25th, 2013
Written by Chris Messer Tuesday, 25 June 2013 00:00
The stock car practices are complete so during a short break we run a series that has been running at the track since its first opening. This is a motorsport support series that was born out of a need for racing without a real racetrack. It was first started in the form of rally cross that is common across the US and made up of a mixture of sedans and trucks. The series has dwindled since the opening of the circle track in part due to the conflict faced by the drivers as to where they should invest both energy and dollars.
Hulacross Heat Races
Nowadays KRP utilizes the dirt oval pit entrance/exit area and the infield to create a sort of arena style off road racing. The practice follows all the stock car classes and in order for the drivers to be sure they know the track layout the segment starts with a quick “lead follow” before they let the vehicles loose. It gets dusty quickly and at one point I can’t see across the track. There’s the #83 of the Maui Off Road crew who took off from the pack early and the #1 black Subaru of Mike Ward followed by the blue Dodge truck #1 (It’s actually a number 1 followed by a bunch of letters which I can’t read), and a few other trailing for about 10 laps.
Truck & SUV Heat
The Hulacross racing divides the cars from the trucks and SUV’s. First on the track are the Trucks and SUV’s and on the pole is the #88 of Mark Pascua, next to the #213 of Curtis Bautista. Next it’s the blue dodge #JCB 1 of Coty DeCambra and the #22 of Lopaka Vierra followed by #44 of Robert Vierra and series point leader JC1 Cliff Vierra. From the last row we’ll see if the #83 “Maui Off Road” Jeep Cherokee driven by Jeff Bergman can work his way forward. It’s a rolling start for a five lap race with jumps and sections of wet and dry track to make things exciting and challenging. At the start it’s the #213 around the outside and takes the lead albeit with lots of contact. The driver of the Cherokee #213, Curtis Bautista, has a problem and there’s a yellow flag displayed.
At this point the #83 has pulled up from the back of the pack and even passes the #88. Pascua in the black #88’s is trying but the truck seems to have too high a center of gravity and looks tippy. Bautista in #213 gets going again, but is now a lap down. On the last lap it’s the Bergman in the #83 then the #88 who kept it together followed by #JCB1, #JC1 and the #22 bringing up the tail of the field and making a race out of the final position to the checkered flag against the #44.
In the car heat the line-up has the black Subaru # 1 and the white Subaru #57 driven by Todd Schuler then a black fourth generation Camaro # 69 and a #50 (A white Mercedes sedan with pimp chrome wheels that looks like someone lifted from a Valet). In the third row it’s Geofrey Grace in the black #15 next to Mark Levi in #187. Trailing in the final row is Clifton Poteet in #13 with a big wing on the roof and I see a #12 back there also. The Mercedes spins in the first u turn, meanwhile the #1 has jumped way out front with the #15 of Levi in 2nd.
Keoki Medeiros in the #69 is chasing hard, but the jumps are tough for the low slung Camaro which is fast on the oval, but slow over the jumps. It appears that if the #69 can stay close to the #57 he might be able to pass on the oval. They’re side by side bumping and banging. I realize that at some point Mike Ward has a broken right rear and now it’s a three way battle with Mark Levi in #187 catching up. They’re three wide coming out of the last corner with the #187 to the inside. He and the #12 bump and slow to the inside and the Camaro charges around the outside for 2nd positions much to the pleasure of the crowd.
Once the stock car races were complete it was getting pretty late and many of the spectators have had more than their fill of racing for the night. Remembering the dustiness of the heat race the officials call for watering the track as the Hulacross vehicles start to line up. The water truck runs around and soaks the track now for the remaining events. Tires are positioned and the track is now set up for the race.
Trucks & SUV Main.
On the pole is the winner of the Heat race Jeff Bergman in the #83, in second and starting on the outside is the black #88 of Mark Pascua, then in 3rd are the Vierras in #JC1 of Cliff next to Robert in the #44. In the third row are Lopaka Vierra in the #22 next to the #213 of Curtis Bautista and trailing is DeCambra in #JCB1. #83 gets the green and immediately the #JC1 charges in tight and tries a pass in stock car track turns 1 & 2. Pascua, undeterred, gets a fender in front of the #83 and suddenly has the lead. Bergman goes a bit wide and leaves an opening, but he’s got enough speed that #JC1 can’t catch him before they get to the first big tire “U” turn. With the wide entry Bergman is able to safely negotiate the freshly watered and thus slippery corner, but #JC1 is wide at the exit of this corner now and allows the #88 of Pascua to get underneath.
They are heading towards me now and the front three are all struggling for traction and taking whatever line they can find grip in. For the next few laps they spread out on the oval then it’s #JC1 and #83 bumping and banging and the #88 has dropped out of the fray and is nowhere to be seen. The real battle is at the front, but steadily pacing the group is the #213 of Curtis Bautista. Next it’s the blue Dodge #JCB 1 of Coty DeCambra and the #22 of Lopaka Vierra followed by #44 of Robert Vierra and points leader #JC1 Cliff Vierra. At the front Bergman in the #83 is being followed closely by #JC1 and he can’t relax. As the laps tick by the #83 is pulling out a little now over #JC1. The #213 is in third place, but misfiring badly.
At the back it’s the #88 which is still trailing. Still close for 1st with Bergman maintaining a 1 to 2 truck lead and then more. The #88 is slowing and getting lapped now and in front of him the #22 catching Cliff in the #JC1. Perry is now in 3rd place and Bautista must have a problem as #22 got past the ailing Cherokee of Bautista at some point. At the checkered Bergman was the victor with JC1 in 2nd and Perry in 3rd. Please check the results for remaining places.
On the pole is a damaged #1 of Mike Ward (the rear tire is still heavily cambered as though the contact with the wall in the heat race was unrepairable) and the #69 (the 4th generation Camaro). In row two is the #187 of Mark Levi next to the #13 belonging to Clifton Poteet, then in the third row the #12 of Manuel Moisa Jr.and the 15 of Geofrey Grace. On the wave of the green Levi, in the #187, squeezes by everyone to take the lead. Back in the pack Grace has a wheel coming loose on the left front and is about to get black flagged. Mike Ward in the #1 seems unable to pass the #187 so far.
The black Subaru should have the legs on what looks like an Infinity for Levi. Ward appears to be biding his time, but the laps are winding down and he can’t move forward with the damage to the right rear suspension. The Camaro is doing a good job of holding its own in 3rd again; fast on the oval and slow over the jumps and staying ahead of Moisa Jr. in the #12. Ward dropping back now and his right rear looks to be seriously broken.
They start lapping the traffic now starting with the #13 and the crowd gets excited that this might provide the passing opportunity the little Subaru needs, but Mark Levi is strong in first and won’t be giving this one up. The laps are winding down and the Camaro is dragging its exhaust system behind it now and suddenly someone yells FIRE and we see flames coming from under the engine of the #13. It’s the last lap and the checkered flag is coming out so the race is allowed to finish and the positions remain unchanged for the finish.