Watkins Glen New York was host to round 2 of the Formula 600 Challenge and we couldn’t be more excited coming into this event. The history and prestige in everything around this incredible circuit was only rivaled by tracks like Sebring or Daytona. The weekend wouldn’t be the as easy or squeaky clean as both cars ran in Topeka for the opening round of the series. McMahan would start his weekend off struggling with electrical issues which seem to be the biggest problem for the 2 Satellite cars thus far. They’re both in a state of development, as is the entire class really since all the cars are brand new. During the practice race on Saturday Clint had to drive essentially with 1 hand while he used the other to hold the “E switch” in position. It was found to have rattled loose on Strand back in October and became an apparent problem for both cars shortly after which has not yet been corrected.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the worst of the issues in the qualifying race as the sister car with Matt Strand behind the wheel had a small fire on the top left side of his engine. He pulled off and got out of the car with no injuries luckily. Even luckier though the car really wasn’t all that bad. There was a lot of work finding the various melted electrical systems and cleaning Purple K out of everything in the back half of the car which was used to put out the fire but otherwise everything else stayed together.
With the fairly easy clean up of Strand and quick fix for McMahan to finish out the weekend at least both cars would be on the grid for the feature race come Sunday. Clint would start 7th and Matt would start 11th based on practice times and finishing positions in the qualifying race. Come race time though neither wasted any time going straight to the front of the field as they sat 2nd and 3rd overall by time they got out of turn 1 with only Keith Joselyn in the leading F500 ahead. A few corners later Strand drafted by both Keith and Clint on the back straight to take the lead going into the busstop, only to relinquish it again to Joselyn at the toe of the boot and give 2nd back to Clint at the heel of the boot. The frantic action between the 3 cars continued until lap 7 when Strands motor started to lose water and began over heating. With Strand dropping back Clint was able to focus his full attention on Joselyn to try and grab the overall victory.
After swapping positions constantly all race long Clint came up just short at the checkard flag finishing just 1.1 seconds behind Joselyn. It was still good enough to grab 1st in round 2 of the Formula 600 Challenge however which is what really matters. Strand was able to limp home in 2nd ahead of Jason Fitzpatrick who survived the attrition filled race for the rest of the 600s to grab his 2nd podium of the season. Fred Edwards, and Ken Vanhorn rounded out the top 5.
Next for our real world crew is the country club with a race track dropped in the center. Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham Alabama will be the spot for round 3 coming Labor Day weekend.