owners submitted teams for the Formula Motor Racing tournament.
The three heats drew 12 players each. Actually two heats drew
13, but the GM bowed out of those to have more balanced 6-player
games, with each table playing six races. Sound like a long
and daunting format? Hardly. The longest time for one table
was about 75 minutes, the average about one-hour. Of course,
the master gamesman, Bruce Reiff, guided a table to completion
in 51 minutes under the flying green flag provided by Nascar
buff Maly - thus allowing his fun bunch to head off to a 6PM
start at another tournament.
The first heat featured two tight tables. The difference between
qualifying for the semi-finals and fourth place was 1 and 2 points.
Debbie Otto pointed in five of six races, while Andrew Markevich
achieved 29 points with a single car to grab second and a spot
in the playoffs. At the other table both Chris Hancock (31) and
Greg Mayer (30) showed that consistency is important, pointing
in all six races to advance.
Heat two featured the speed demons of Bruce Reiff, Debbie
Garver, Ken Gutermuth, Jeff Mullet, Bud Sauer, and Greg Mayer
back for more action. In play that can only be described as blindingly
fast, there was no way to keep both Bruce and Ken denied. The
table breathed a sigh of relief, when Jeff and Ken were the ones
to advance. Bruce wouldn't be getting easy wood this time, as
mechanical problems limited his Jaguar team to 5th place. At
the second table Paul Bean and Steve Cameron advanced, Steve
learning the limits of his Buzzin' Hornets cars redlining a car
from last to first in one race with a Charge card. William Cooper
fired his mechanics after the heat, suffering six Not-Classified
results in as many races.
Heat three advanced
the McLaren team of Michael Coomes and the Jordan team of Steve
May from one table. At the other table Dan Dolan was only the
third contestant to point in every race, but he came up short
to a dominant performance by Chris Janiec and Forrest Speck.
Dan McGowan showed his dedication, being the only player to compete
in all three preliminary heats.
The semi-finals had ten of the 12 eligible qualifiers show.
The standard three-race game was run to cut the field to six
for the finals. Chris Janiec (Arrows), Greg Mayer (Williams),
Mike Coomes (McLaren), Steve May (Jaguar), Steve Cameron (Jordan),
and Jeff Mullet (Ferrari) formed the final table.
Heading into Indianapolis, the Arrows team held a three-point
advantage over the Jordan team. Separation between first and
sixth was nine points, so the constructor's championship was
still open with two races left. Indianapolis proved lethal for
the Jaguar team, which suffered two Not-Classified results. Arrows
took the race to extend their lead to five, but the Jordan team
hung tough with a second and fifth place result. The Williams
team, eleven out, seemed the only other competitor with a reasonable
chance of taking the lead.
A perfect day for racing at Suzuka produced the wildest race
of the entire event. The Williams team suffered two Not-Classified
results, knocking them out of contention. Problems on the Ferrari
team game them one Not-Classified, and set them up as spoilers.
The biggest blow was to the Arrows team with two Not-Classified
results. Arrows would have to be content with its 32 points.
The Jaguar team managed to put themselves into contention, but
problems late in the race kept them from being a factor. The
white flag flew and the McClaren team in first and third seemed
poised for the championship. The day of the Buzzin' Hornets seemed
all but over with the sixth Not-Classified of the race and its
surviving car in fifth place. Over the team radio, the owner
gave the order to Charge to the front. The Jordan driver responded,
making three of the needed die-rolls. The car's engine was red-lined,
the crowd cheering, and scant meters from the finish line the
Jordan blew past the lead Williams to claim the Constructor's
Championship! The final results -
Jordan - 37
Arrows - 32
McLaren - 30
Jaguar - 22
Ferrari - 18
Williams - 17
Details of the tournament are available at: http://members.home.com/formulamotorracing/
Junior events got off to a roaring start with Formula Motor
Racing. Ten contestants entered the event, and quickly learned
the trade of owning a Formula 1 racing team. Two games of five
The kids ran through two races for the first round. Three
volunteers stepped forward as track stewards, three moms, to
whom I am forever grateful, which made the two separate heats
run smoothly. The wonderful thing about a juniors tournament
is that they take not advancing a lot better than some of their
older competitors. Sure, they're disappointed but they bounce
back. When the field basically decided to pare itself down to
six players, it was smooth sailing.
Chrissy Fratalli won the first of the two final games, vaulting
her into the lead, but also marking her Jaguar team as a target.
Racers were blocking lines and throwing every move in the book
at Chrissy, who wound up losing one of her cars to the Crash
card. Late in the race, one of the Alex Henning's McLaren cars
decided to make a charge for the front, but her day went up in
smoke as the car lost its engine. Coming into the final lap,
one of the Ferrari's of Jessica Finkeldey made a daring move
to grab the lead, and with it, the championship.
The only thing faster
than the game action was Jessica running to tell her dad she
had won - and thus continuing a time-honored tradition of kids
bringing home more wood than their dad.
Rounding out the finalists were Alex Henning in 2nd, John
Miklos third, Chrissy Frattali fourth, Beth Bahr 5th, and Tim
Moms to the Pits as Ass't GMs hover close
by to act as track stewards.