2019 Season Standings

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Race #3 of the 2019 NORRC Season, the Sandhills Open Road Challenge, delivered its usual top-notch level of excitement and shakeups within the NORRC Series standings, creating some rather dramatic twists and turns in both the NORRC Overall Championship Title chase, and in the Best 3 of 4 Title chase battles coming out of Nebraska.

In a race best known for tight blind corners, narrow straights, and wider time variances than usual, the 2019 SORC truly didn’t disappoint. Racers traversed through the corn fields this year across rougher than usual roads with a new twist, including two long sections of oil dirt surface, testing the limits of tire grip, vehicle suspensions, and driving skills like no other course on the NORRC Series circuit has ever offered. The results were an even wilder race than usual!

The Dynamic Duo of Jessica Morton and her daughter Andrea “Ace” Reed carried their NORRC Series points lead into Nebraska, a position they have both proudly and humbly held since the beginning of the season. However, as it was their first time racing on the very challenging SORC course, they truly had their work cut out for them, even in the 80 MPH Class.

After a solid first leg of the race, the two were feeling pretty good about their effort. However, a rare mistake on the second leg start caused the typically bulletproof Duo to falter a bit, as they left the starting line before the light went green. In a moment of chaos, they wound up starting their stopwatches on the move, resulting in an overall time variance of 2.101 seconds off target.

Said Jessica, “I thought we had a pretty good run going, and was really looking forward to the second leg of the race. Then, in the blink of an eye, it all went to hell in a hand basket! The starter pointed at the starting tree as it counted down the last five seconds, and in that moment, for some reason, I mistook that as a signal to go. So, I dropped the hammer before the light went green, and away we went!”

Said Andrea, “I was counting down to the top of the minute, ready to start the stopwatches, when all of a sudden, Mom stood on the gas! I saw the light turn green as we went whizzing past, but in that moment, I hit the buttons on the stopwatches a bit after the fact. It all kind of went downhill inside of the cockpit after that. We managed to gather it up and race on, even if we didn’t really know what time to shoot for. So it could have been a lot worse than it turned out!”

We still say to keep an eye on these two as they continue to mount their impressive season run at a Championship title heading into the final race of this season. No matter the weather, nor the color of the light, they always seem to find a way to come out on top in their home state of Nevada.

2016 NORRC Series Champion Berry Lowman, who has been chasing the Dynamic Duo ever since his bungled second off mistake at the season opener in Texas, would up with a real opportunity to capitalize on his 2019 NORRC Series Title chase hopes in Nebraska. Yet, even with such a rare window of opportunity left wide open by the Duo, Murphy still made him go about earning a series points lead the hard way.

As Nebraska always sells out all 142 grid spots almost a year in advance, sometimes, even NORRC Series regulars who always go to the SORC don’t make the cut to get into this race. 2019 proved to be one of those years, and the Lowman Boys where one of those who got bit.

In a move only a son would make for his father, when Lanny Lowman got wait listed for the 2019 SORC, Berry, who fortunately did get in, promised his Dad that if he didn’t wind up getting a spot in the race, he’d give him his place on the grid instead so that his Dad could race.

Well, upon arrival in Nebraska, Lanny was still fourth down on the wait list. So, true to his word, Berry parked the car he brought, and entered his Dad’s car into the race. With his Dad listed as a co-driver, this put the formidable duo of the Lowman Boys back to racing in the same car again. This story doesn’t stop there. It’s just beginning, as here is where good ol’ Murphy joined in.

Said Berry, “About two miles into the first leg of the race, the supercharged LSX 427 was pulling like a champ, and the car was feeling great! Then, right after hitting a rather large bump, the driver information center (DIC) pops up with a SYSTEM OVERCHARGING message. Sure enough, the voltmeter was reading far too high for system charging. Shortly afterward, we noticed the air conditioning had stopped blowing. No big deal. Race cars don’t need A/C. As it got hotter inside of the car, we soon discovered the window switches weren’t working, either. No cracking those for fresh air. Again, no big deal. Who needs to be comfortable in a race car? Then, up pops another DIC message. This time, it says TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM FAILURE. Okay. We’ll just feather the throttle into and off of the many sharp corners. Next, the DIC pops up with STABILITY CONTROL SYSTEM FAILURE. Great, now we have NO electronic aids to help keep the car in the road over all of the washboard bumps and potholes. You know, on the roughest, twistiest course on the circuit, now we’ve gotta wheel it old school. Okay. Shortly after that, most of the electronics in the car, including the GPS timing gear, either froze up, or flat stopped working altogether. But, hey, the motor was still running, the steering was still working, and we still had good brakes, so we just kept on going for it!”

During the intermission between legs, while most racers feasted on pancakes with peanut butter and coffee, the Lowman Boys were busy troubleshooting their ailing Z06. After coming to the conclusion it wasn’t going to get any better, Lanny made the call to take drastic measures for a chance to finish the race, perhaps without frying their electronics with a runaway charging issue.

Said Lanny, “We disconnected the alternator, and pulled every non-essential fuse and relay from the car that wasn’t running gear critical. Who needs electronic aids, taillights, and all that fluff on a race course anyway? We received permission to restart last on the grid, and waited until they were ready for us in the staging area. We rolled the car to bump start it, pulled up to the starting tree with 11.5 volts of battery, and went for it on green. When we crossed the finish line, we were down to 8 volts of juice, and were so drenched in sweat that our harnesses were soaked through and we had puddles in our shoes. I drove the wheels off of it, and managed to turn in a respectable time, regardless.”

Added Berry, “Talk about a rush! My Pops is the master! With no traction aids whatsoever, and even with sweat constantly dripping down into his eyes, Dad just flat poured it on! I swear, he actually drifted some of those super rough corners when the back end stepped out at well over 105 MPH. He never backed out of it for a second. He straight up put on a clinic on how to get it done, old school, and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to some of the best driving I’ve ever seen out of him, or anyone. That was about as much fun as you can have in any modern road car on any race course under any circumstance! My Dad is THE MAN!”

In spite of all the aforementioned trials and tribulations, courtesy of Murphy, countered by superb driving, the Lowman Boys managed to turn in a time variance of just 0.242 off perfect, netting them fourth place in the ultra-competitive 105 Class. This atop of their impressive showing in the SORC’s companion Loup2Loup event, turning in a 1.591 variance to take home second place in the 80 MPH Class on what most agree is the toughest ORR course in the world!

As a result, their SORC race result also leap-frogged Berry Lowman past the Dynamic Duo into the current lead of the 2019 NORRC Series Championship Title chase by a rather commanding 1.6419 seconds heading into the fourth and final race of the season in Nevada.

NORRC Series regular competitor and the always enthusiastic Les Steinhoff also battled in the ultra-tough field in the 105 Class, finishing just two spots back of the Lowman Boys in sixth place with a time of just 0.959 off target. His solid finish at SORC propelled Les into fourth place in the chase for the 2019 NORRC Series Championship Title, trailing the Jessica Morton by less than a second heading into Nevada.

Said Les, “I really love running in all of these races every year. It doesn’t matter whether I’m driving, navigating, or even running my truck when the ZR1 is down. It’s all about the fun of being out here competing with all of these great drivers. The people you meet in this sport and the atmosphere they create truly make it a great deal to be a part of!”

We completely agree! Keep an eye on Les at the Silver State, as he’s found his way onto the NORRC National Championship Podium before, and he’s poised to climb right back onto it in Nevada, especially if either of the two ahead of him slip even an inch.

New to the full NORRC Series schedule this season, but no stranger to Open Road Racing, or for that matter, big time auto racing, Leland “Weedie” Sweet showed up in Nebraska this year and turned in a very impressive time variance of 0.169 seconds off target to win the 90 MPH Class in his first SORC event. He and his navigator, “Silent Bob” Parsons, both let out a big ol’ Texas-sized hoot and holler (as did many of their teammates and fellow Texans in the crowd) and were wearing 10 gallon smiles as they went up on stage to get their first place trophies.

Said Weedie, “Man, that was some FUN driving! These Nebraska races are far more challenging than anything else we’ve seen yet in this sport, and the people up here are wonderful. Heck, I’d like to keep coming back up here to race if they’ll have me back. These roads are a BLAST!” Coming from a guy who’s raced everything from Baja to NHRA fuel cars, we can’t help but agree!

After receiving a DNF at the season opener in Texas, and a DNS in Nevada, the first ever back-to-back NORRC Series Champion “Texas” Tom Sorrells showed up in Nebraska on a mission to win all of the weekend’s races. Besting Mike Black, the Lowman Boys, Les Steinhoff, and many other notable veterans in the tough 105 Class, and almost whipping the entire SORC filed overall, Tom showed up in his late best friend Don Hoffman’s ultra-rare Laguna Seca Edition Viper ACR and turned in a fantastic time variance of just 0.034 to win the 105 Class in style!

Said Tom, “That was a bit of a surprise. No, honestly. I knew we did well, but I guess we did even better than we realized. You know what? That was fun! I do believe the Viper may be ready to go on up to the 110 Class next year!” Given Tom’s consistently winning ways, it almost makes us feel sorry for whoever else signs up for the 110 Class in the 2020 SORC!

Always humble, but never far off on time, Tom also turned in a solid 0.298 time variance to win the 95 MPH Class in the difficult Loup2Loup ORR event on Thursday. His clutch navigator Jeremy Riley even went out and won the SORC Half Mile Shootout in the big-winged Viper. As we predicted earlier in the season after the uncharacteristic DNF in Texas, Tom is on a mission to remind all of his NORRC competitors that while he may be out of a title chase this year, he always shows up at these races to win!

The NORRC Best 3 of 4 Title standings also really shook up during the SORC event weekend, as a few more contenders for the National Championship Title have now dropped into the 3 of 4 Title chase. We look for both of these title chases to become an outright fight for timing mastery and season supremacy during the final race of the season!

Here is a snapshot of where the current 2019 NORRC Series Standings are as we head into the fourth and final race of the season. Stay tuned as our racers prepare to head across the High Desert and up into the Great Basin of Nevada for NORRC Race #4, the 32nd Annual Silver State Classic Challenge, a race known for high speed records and razor-thin timing variances at the line. Better start your stopwatches and hold on tight. This is going to be one heckuva title fight!

2019 National Open Road Racing Championship – Season Standings
BBORR NORC SORC SSCC Season Total Rank
Current Standings
Berry Lowman 1.04 0.172 0.242 REG 1.454 1st
Jessica Morton 0.207 0.7879 2.101 REG 3.0959 2nd
Les Steinhoff 1.385 1.7009 0.959 REG 4.0449 3rd
Leland “Weedie” Sweet 0.442 5.2428 0.169 ? 5.8538 4th
Charlie Friend 9.466 1.6519 1.276 REG 12.3939 5th
Mark “Doc” Capener 5.807 50.6203 12.101 REG 68.5283 6th
Best 3 of 4 Standings
Ted Zaleski 0.057 0.3039 DNS REG 0.3609 1st
Blue Offutt 0.675 0.123 DNS REG 0.798 2nd
Doug Masters 0.239 0.7264 DNS REG 0.9654 3rd
Ken Rees 0.896 DNS 0.147 REG 1.043 4th
Lanny Lowman DNF 0.9009 0.242 ? 1.1429 5th
Tracy Clinkenbeard 0.299 DNS 1.302 ? 1.601 6th
Kevin Mason 1.04 0.6315 DNS REG 1.6715 7th
Don Specht 0.046 2.6367 DNS REG 2.6827 8th
Robert Dietrich 2.249 0.4555 DNS REG 2.7045 9th
Tom Glass 1.929 1.1918 DNS REG 3.1208 10th
Jim Burnett 1.993 1.1493 DNS REG 3.1423 11th
Linda Specht 1.089 2.6367 DNS REG 3.7257 12th
Gary Innocenti 0.417 4.1491 DNS REG 4.5661 13th
T.David Green DNS 4.5849 2.09 REG 6.6749 14th
Nick Stewart 9.656 DNS 5.419 REG 15.075 15th

 

Grid Key
UNL = Unlimited Class
DNS = Did Not Start
DNF = Did Not Finish
DNQ = Does Not Qualify
DQ = Disqualified
REG = Registered
? = Unknown if REG

The NORRC Series saw an industry first during Race #2, the 2019 Nevada Open Road Challenge, where adrenaline-fueled racers wound up better resembling drivers for the US Postal Service more than a group of sports car junkies with stop watches while navigating their way through Nevada’s Great Basin on the Silver State Classic Challenge Highway.

After a wild weekend of weather in Ely, Nevada, including a near constant deluge of rain, snow, sleet, and hail, the SSCC Board of Directors made a bold decision. Their innovative call may very well change how bad weather event weekends are handled for all future ORR competitions.

In an announcement heard around the room during the NORC driver’s meeting that caught many racers by surprise, the SSCC Board announced that rather than calling the event off in the very likely case of inclement weather on Sunday, the field would actually get to race in the rain!

In the name of safety, all speed class targets were reduced to Highway 318’s normal legal posted speed limit of 70 MPH, with a technical safety speed limit of 90 MPH. Adding to the shock around the room, it was said that no minimum tech speed would be enforced anywhere on the course, if conditions became wet enough to where racers felt unsafe due to either standing water, or rain-slickened corners.

In addition, to keep things both interesting and even more competitive throughout the field, rather than grouping all 102 entrants into one giant 70 MPH Class, the decision was made to keep all racers grouped within their original intended speed classes, just all with the same 70 MPH target times over the 122.57 miles course.

The results were nothing short of spectacular, and created an event those who were fortunate enough to race in will likely be telling stories bordering on the unbelievable for years to come!

That said, with hardly a sole in the field prepared to race against target times based on 70 MPH average speeds in either direction, the announcement during the Saturday night driver’s meeting lead to a very late night for many teammates and individuals who were furiously scrambling to recalculate and print out new time target course notes to race with the next morning.

For those who went straight to work with their calculators, the last minute math exercise likely paid off. For those who did not, well, let’s just say the resulting time variances in the final standings coming out of the NORC 70 WET Classes truly shook up the NORRC Season standings, in both the Overall Championship Title stats, and in the Best 3 of 4 Title chase.

Despite a rather uncharacteristic time variance of 0.7879 off target in the 120 (70) MPH Class, the Dynamic Duo of Jessica Morton and daughter Andrea “Ace” Reed netted a second place finish, while retaining their lead in the overall NORRC Series standings, but perhaps not by nearly as wide of a margin as they may have hoped for following the NORC weekend.

Said Jessica, “Well, we actually thought we had somehow pulled off a win in our class, especially since they handed us the first place trophy at the banquet, but as we found out later, due to a class scoring error in the final results, we actually came in second. Please allow us to be the first to congratulate Bob Dietrich on his win in 120 (70). Regardless of how we finished, it was quite a blast to get to race in the rain!” What a class act, indeed! Keep an eye on these two as they continue to mount an impressive run at a Championship title this season. No matter the weather, they always seem to find a way to come out on top!

Series regular Tracy Clinkenbeard, who had been locked in a tight battle for the series lead with the Dynamic Duo following a terrific result in Texas, unfortunately had to miss out on the NORC weekend when work got in the way. His absence on the grid relegated his NORRC Series Championship hopes to chasing after a Best 3 of 4 Title. Said Tracy during the event weekend (via telephone), “I really wish I could be in Nevada. It sounds like I’m missing out on one epic event! I’ll see all y’all at SORC up in Nebraska, and again at SSCC in Nevada!”

Malcolm “Mac Daddy” Johnson had a real opportunity to potentially take over the top spot in the NORRC Series Title chase, rain or shine, but saw his 140 (70) Class hopes dashed when a nail was found during tire safety checks before rolling up to the start line. Rather than opt to let them pull the nail and see if it leaked air, he decided to park his Z06 on the shoulder and watch the rest of the field race from the sidelines. Said Malcolm, “It’s the first time in a dozen years I’ve had to sit out a race due to equipment failure, so in the grand scheme of things, I really can’t complain.”

It’s rumored that series competitor Berry Lowman tried to get Malcolm to jump into the open passenger seat in his car before rolling up to the starting line, in hopes of aiding Malcolm in his bid for a National Championship, but he didn’t want to leave his Corvette on the side of the road. As things turned out, it looks like Mac Daddy should have grabbed his helmet and gotten into that car! Regardless, we’re hoping Malcolm proves to be a serious contender for the Best 3 of 4 Title this season.

2016 NORRC Series Champ and backup car enthusiast Berry Lowman had quite the interesting NORC event weekend. After struggling in Texas in a backup loaner car with boost control and cruise control issues that he said were as bad as “asking your second cousin to the prom …”, he swore he’d never race that vehicle again. Berry must have had a change of heart, because he showed up in Nevada driving the exact same car, and turned in the second most accurate time of the event, with a time variance of 0.172 off perfect in the 100 (70) MPH Class, seriously tightening up the championship battle, and putting him right on the heels of the Dynamic Duo in the 2019 NORRC Series Title chase at the halfway point of the season.

Said Berry, “Man, racing in the rain, sleet, and hail was a real trip! That makes two NORC races in a row I’ve would up racing through the rain, and somehow still won both of them! Oh, and forget all that stuff I said about this car after Texas. If your second cousin handles on the dance floor as well as this Infinity Q50 Sport does in the rain, you really ought to take her to Prom and dance the night away!” Again, we’ll have to take his word on that one!

In additional mischief, we hear Berry actually got choked by a lady of the night who reportedly wasn’t too happy with how the judging process was going during his hosting duties of the annual NORC Hooker’s Choice Awards. He was also responsible for causing quite a stir amongst some by showing up in Nevada with a newly formed Team Challenge Team, the aptly named Team Good Times (aka Team GT), and actually led the new team of Good Times folks to a shocking first place in the Team Challenge Competition! Congrats to all of the Team GT members on your first Team Challenge outing!

Notably missing from the NORC event weekend was 2017 & 2018 NORRC Series National Champion “Texas” Tom Sorrells, After an intercooler failure in his Shelby GT 500 on the second leg of the Texas race left him on the side of the course, Tom was still awaiting parts, thus having to opt out of running with the series this time around in Nevada. It was the first Open Road Racing event Texas Tom has missed in many years.

Said Tom (via text received while on the pre-grid), “Racing at 70 in the rain is still racing. It’s an equalizer. Like one of those European or African rallies. Talk about bragging rights! The winter storm race of 2019 will be one for the record books, a legend experience told to rookies for years to come. I truly wish I was there!”

After receiving a DNF in Texas, and a DNS in Nevada, the first ever back-to-back NORRC Series Champion sadly will neither be defending, nor competing for another series title this season. That said, we look forward to seeing Tom back in action at the SORC and SSCC events this year. We’re certain he’ll be on a mission to win best overall time variance in both races!

The NORRC Best 3 of 4 Title standings also really shook up during the NORC event weekend, as a couple more contenders for the National Title have now dropped into the 3 of 4 Title chase. Look for the battle in this category to really heat up in the second-half of the season!

Here is a snapshot of where the current 2019 NORRC Series Standings are at the halfway point of the season. Stay tuned as our racers prepare to head to Nebraska for NORRC Race #3, the Sandhills Open Road Challenge, a race known for tight blind corners, narrow straights, and wide time variances, as drivers traverse corn fields on a rough farm road that tests the limits of every vehicles suspension and every racers skills like no other course on the NORRC Series circuit!

2019 National Open Road Racing Championship – Season Standings
BBORR NORC SORC SSCC Season Total Rank
Current Standings
Jessica Morton 0.207 0.7879 REG REG 0.9949 1st
Berry Lowman 1.04 0.172 REG REG 1.212 2nd
Les Steinhoff 1.385 1.7009 REG REG 3.0859 3rd
Charlie Friend 9.466 1.6519 REG REG 11.1179 4th
Mark “Doc” Capener 5.807 50.6203 REG REG 56.4273 5th
Best 3 of 4 Standings
Ted Zaleski 0.057 0.3039 ? REG 0.3609 1st
Blue Offutt 0.675 0.123 ? REG 0.798 2nd
Doug Masters 0.239 0.7264 ? REG 0.9654 3rd
Kevin Mason 1.04 0.6315 ? REG 1.6715 4th
Don Specht 0.046 2.6367 ? REG 2.6827 5th
Robert Dietrich 2.249 0.4555 ? REG 2.7045 6th
Tom Glass 1.929 1.1918 ? REG 3.1208 7th
Jim Burnett 1.993 1.1493 ? REG 3.1423 8th
Linda Specht 1.089 2.6367 ? REG 3.7257 9th
Gary Innocenti 0.417 4.1491 ? REG 4.5661 10th
Leland “Weedie” Sweet 0.442 5.2428 ? REG 5.6848 11th
Cynthia “Cindy” Clements 0.046 DNS ? REG 0.046 12th
Tracy Clinkenbeard 0.299 DNS REG REG 0.299 13th
Malcolm Johnson 0.3 DNS REG REG 0.3 14th
Ken Rees 0.896 DNS REG REG 0.896 15th
Mike Rees 0.896 DNS REG REG 0.896 15th
Lanny Lowman DNF 0.9009 REG ? 0.9009 17th
Nick Stewart 9.656 DNS REG REG 9.656 18th
Diane Stewart 9.656 DNS REG REG 9.656 18th
Tom Sorrells DNF DNS REG REG 0 N/A

 

Grid Key
UNL = Unlimited Class
DNS = Did Not Start
DNF = Did Not Finish
DNQ = Does Not Qualify
DQ = Disqualified
REG = Registered
? = Unknown if REG

The 2019 NORRC Series season kicked off on a suddenly sad and somber note leading up to Race #1, the Big Bend Open Road Race in Fort Stockton, Texas, where 158 vehicles competed in this first of four Open Road Racing event weekends for 2019.

Series regular Deven Hickingbotham, a competitor known for dominating our NORRC Series Best 3 of 4 Series Title category over the past few years, was sadly struck and killed by a drunk driver in a crosswalk in Reno, Nevada the Friday before he was to travel to Big Bend to compete. It truly cast a sober pall on the minds of all our competitors as they lined up on the grid to race in Texas. Many honored the memory of Deven with tribute decals on their race vehicles, generously provided by our 2017 & 2018 NORRC Series National Champion Tom Sorrells. Deven shall truly be missed by us all.

In a race full of surprises, many of our series regulars found themselves off to a rather odd start in what otherwise appears to be shaping up as a very exciting, if not quite different season than years past.

On a chamber of commerce, blue ribbon weather day in West Texas, racers found themselves dealing with several delays on the grid for some rather bizarre on course incidents. Many competitors struggled uncharacteristically on course, as well as off, battling a mix of vehicle failures, parts failures, odd incidents, and even multiple vehicles reported as being “lost” on the course for interesting periods of time.

Back to back NORRC Series National Champion “Texas” Tom Sorrells had a great time variance going in the 135 Class after his first leg, but sadly, his Shelby GT 500 went down on power during the second leg, when his intercooler decided to go 10-100 under the hood. This left Tom sitting on the side of the course, not far from the finish line, with his first DNF in years, if ever, and knocking him out of the 2019 NORRC National Title chase.

After the race, Tom said, “It felt a little down on power, but she was still running okay. Once the mist started climbing up the window out from under the hood, it wouldn’t even run over 130, much less 135, so I told my navigator Jeremy to start looking for a checkpoint with a big RV and a Texas-sized beer cooler to pull over at and join the party.” We heard all he found before giving up was a couple of lawn chairs under a tent and a Dr. Pepper!

2018 NORRC Series 3rd place Championship contender Lanny Lowman had a barn burner of a good time going in the ultra-competitive 140 Class, and was looking forward to a shot at tightening up his variance even more on the second leg when a long series of delays began. After sitting on the grid for hours, having to restart his built LSX427 beast of a Z06 numerous times, the bearings on a pulley on his blower belt drive decided to seize up and ruin his day, leaving him sitting on the sidelines with another highly uncharacteristic DNF, also knocking him out of the 2019 NORRC National Title chase.

Before even climbing out of his car, Lanny said, “Don’t buy no hot rod car. If you have one that runs good already, don’t go turning it into a big ol’ honkin’ hot rod car. If you do, you WILL suffer!” We hear after a nap in the back of an Infinity during more delays on the grid, he got his son Berry to go back to Fort Stockton, and bring his truck and trailer back down to load up for the long drive back after the race was over. Sounds like the Lowman boys missed out on getting any of the BBORR’s famous award banquet BBQ!

Due to many lengthy delays, the event eventually wound up being cut short due to running past the scheduled end time, so no one in the 110 down through 85 MPH classes were able to complete the second leg of the event. This left many racers who were hoping for a chance to make second leg corrections in quite a bind, thus having to stand on their one and only Southbound leg time variances. Among those who made it across at least one finish line, if not both, were many veterans who turned in odd time variances compared to usual.

Former 2016 NORRC Series National Champion and 2018 NORRC Championship runner-up Berry Lowman turned in an uncharacteristic one second off time variance after leg one in the 100 MPH Class. He claimed the cruise control on his backup car, an Infinity Q50 Sport, would not engage at speeds over 89 MPH. He further claimed when he tried to adjust his variance with the throttle alone, that the 400 HP twin turbo V6 had two boost settings, ON and OFF! Said Berry, “Trying to dial that car into the tenths, much less the thousandths, is akin to trying to make your second cousin into your prom date. Sure, someone else might should do it, but you really ought not even try it!” We’ll have to take his word on that one …!

However, sometimes in life, when things get sideways for some, outright strokes of brilliance appear out of the chaos for others. Texas may have knocked two time, back to back NORRC National Champion “Texas” Tom Sorrells out of the competition for this year, as well as 2018 series 3rd place contender Lanny Lowman, but it also gave us a new contender to the NORRC National Championship title chase as our current leader.

Believe us when we say, no one is more surprised to be leading the NORRC Series at this moment than the dynamic Mother-Daughter duo from Reno, Nevada (by way of Alaska) Jessica Morton and Andrea Reed. Especially as Jessica, after climbing out of her Corvette Grand Sport at the halfway point of the race, was quoted as saying,”That was miserable. We fought like cats and dogs the entire way down the course. The car wasn’t happy. The stopwatches weren’t happy. My daughter wasn’t happy, and I darn sure wasn’t happy. We’re so far off our time, better than a second or more, that I don’t even want to get back in the (bleepety bleeping bleep) car to go back North right now!”

Funny enough, after turning in a 0.207 time variance to win the 100 MPH Class, Jessica was further quoted as saying, “Boy, am I sure glad we didn’t have to run that second leg! We’d have gotten ourselves into all sorts of trouble if we did!”

It just goes to show that sometimes, even when you think you’re having a bad day at a race, the sun can still pop out to shine brightly upon you, even if you least expect it. Bask in that warm glow, ladies. Y’all earned every ray of it!

We tip out helmets to Jessica Morton and Andrea Reed as the current duo to watch for the remainder of the 2019 NORRC Series season. As for the rest of you, there’s a lot of road left to race down, and the clock knows no favorites. Good luck to all in Nevada!

Here is a snapshot of where our current 2019 NORRC Series Standings are as the racers head West from Texas out to Northern Nevada to compete in Race #2 of the season, the newly-lengthened and different lengths on both legs Nevada Open Road Challenge.

2019 National Open Road Racing Championship – Season Standings
BBORR NORC SORC SSCC Season Total Rank
Current Standings
Jessica Morton 0.207 REG REG REG 0.207 1st
Tracy Clinkenbeard 0.299 ? REG REG 0.299 2nd
Malcolm Johnson 0.3 REG REG REG 0.3 3rd
Berry Lowman 1.04 REG REG REG 1.04 4th
Les Steinhoff 1.385 REG REG REG 1.385 5th
Mark “Doc” Capener 5.807 REG REG REG 5.807 6th
Charlie Friend 9.466 REG REG REG 9.466 7th
Nick Stewart 9.656 ? REG REG 9.656 8th
Diane Stewart 9.656 ? REG REG 9.656 8th
Lanny Lowman DNF REG REG ? 0 N/A
Tom Sorrells DNF ? REG REG 0 N/A
Best 3 of 4 Standings
Don Specht 0.046 REG ? REG 0.046 1st
Cynthia “Cindy” Clements 0.046 ? ? REG 0.046 1st
Ted Zaleski 0.057 REG ? REG 0.057 3rd
Doug Masters 0.239 REG ? REG 0.239 4th
Gary Innocenti 0.417 REG ? REG 0.417 5th
Leland “Weedie” Sweet 0.442 REG ? REG 0.442 6th
Blue Offutt 0.675 REG ? REG 0.675 7th
Ken Rees 0.896 ? REG REG 0.896 8th
Mike Rees 0.896 ? REG REG 0.896 8th
Kevin Mason 1.04 REG ? REG 1.04 10th
Linda Specht 1.089 REG ? REG 1.089 11th
Tom Glass 1.929 REG ? REG 1.929 12th
Jim Burnett 1.993 REG ? REG 1.993 13th

 

Grid Key
UNL = Unlimited Class
DNS = Did Not Start
DNF = Did Not Finish
DNQ = Does Not Qualify
DQ = Disqualified
REG = Registered
? = Unknown if REG

In 2018, the NORRC Series season kicked off April 28th with Race #1, the Big Bend Open Road Race in Fort Stockton, Texas. 160 vehicles competed in this Open Road Racing event! Several top contenders turned in fantastic low time variances.

Series veteran Ray Alexander left Texas with the NORRC Series lead, having earned a time variance of just 0.033 off perfect. Series regular Deven Hickingbotham turned in a 0.042 for second place. 2016 NORRC Series Champion Berry Lowman earned third place with a time variance of 0.076.

On May 20th at Race #2, the Nevada Open Road Challenge, saw further tightening of the battle for NORRC supremacy with a new two-way, 119.78 mile race format. It also began to bring to light those who plan to compete for the overall 2018 National ORR Championship Series title versus those who plan to chase the NORRC Best 3 of 4 title.

2016 NORRC Series Champion Berry Lowman took over the points lead by turning in an impressive class win and overall race winning time variance of just 0.0091 seconds, giving him a cumulative time variance of just 0.0851 after two races! In a humorous side note, Berry pulled this off in a four cylinder automatic Chevy Malibu rental car, when the Corvette Z06 he planned to race had last minute engine issues before the race, proving once again that anything can and does happen in Open Road Racing!

2017 NORRC Champion “Texas” Tom Sorrells jumped up into second place with an impressive time variance of 0.0177 off perfect, giving him a cumulative time variance of just 0.0957 after two races. On an exciting note, Tom left Nevada trailing the current series leader by only 0.0106 of a second! It doesn’t get much tighter than that!

Devin Hickingbotham dropped into third place after earning a race time variance of 0.1624 seconds off perfect, trailing the current leader with a two race cumulative time variance of just 0.2044 seconds back.

Race #3, the Sandhills Open Road Challenge on August 11th, really shook up the NORRC Series overall standings. Feeling the pressure of a tight battle for the series lead, 2017 NORRC Champ “Texas” Tom Sorrells stepped up and turned in a fantastic time of 0.288 in the race, to become the NORRC Series leader!

Berry Lowman, who appears to have felt the pressure as well, turned in an uncharacteristic race time of 0.709 seconds off perfect, and suddenly found himself trailing Texas Tom by a 0.4104 overall time variance heading into the season finale.

Lanny Lowman was the big mover and shaker of the SORC, leaping up into third place in the overall standings with an impressive race time variance of 0.076, giving him an overall cumulative season time variance of 0.7968 to date. Lanny trailed his son Berry by only 0.0027 of a second going into the season finale in Nevada.

Race #4, the 31st Annual running of the Silver State Classic Challenge on September 16th, served as a very dramatic, very rich, and very rewarding 2018 NORRC Series season finale for many competitors. The race was filled with many stories of friends honoring and helping friends achieve longtime goals, leading the charge ahead of self-fulfillment, with many competitors reaching goals they’ve struggled long and hard to finally achieve.

That said, everyone in NORRC Series contention stepped up their game in some special way on the traditional 90-mile SSCC one way course down Nevada Highway 318. The final race results were something to behold for many racers, both newer and veteran to the sport alike.

Attempting to become the first official back-to-back NORRC Series Champion, “Texas” Tom Sorrells shocked the competition, showing up in a very different car than his usual Shelby GT500 ride, and also entering a different speed class than usual.

Tom decided to race the late Don Hoffman’s Dodge Viper Laguna Seca Edition ACR, as a tribute to his fallen best friend. He managed to win the 2018 SSCC Hooker’s Choice Award car show with the rare Viper, an honor Don Hoffman had reportedly wanted to win even more than the Pikes Peak victory he once competed for.

Tom showed up on race day in rare Mopar style, and threw down a respectable, but a bit further off the mark than usual 0.4715 seconds time variance in the 130 Class, leaving the door wide open for those hot on his heels a shot at the series title.

2016 NORRC Series Champ Berry Lowman, who trailed Texas Tom by a mere 0.4104 seconds coming into the SSCC, also surprised the competition by quietly opting not to target his drive for a championship efforts behind the wheel, rather, choosing to roll the dice by navigating in the final race of the season for his good friend Bob Glass in his recently restored 1977 Porsche 911 S.

Berry claimed he would rather try to help his friend Bob find his first top of the podium finish in his long owned and finally restored vintage ride rather than drive his own car, or some random rental car.  Berry was overheard saying, “How cool would it be to help Bob win in the car that means the most to him?” That said, known for past deadly accuracy in the right seat, and with his game on point, Berry’s nav skills indeed helped “Brother Bob” find the top of the podium in the 100 Class, securing Bob’s first ever win in Open Road Racing with a time variance of 0.1220 off target. Way to drive it home, Bob!

Lanny Lowman, who’s C6 Z06 has undergone massive rebuilding this season, and reportedly wasn’t even running until 8 PM the night before SSCC technical inspection opened in Las Vegas, showed up in a Corvette rocketship! The reported unfinished LSX build powered him to 1st Place in the 1 Mile Shootout on Friday with a speed of 190.4 MPH.

On Sunday, Lanny led off the 155 Class in fast fashion, crossing the finish line a bit further off the mark than usual with a 0.1367 time variance, securing yet another 2nd Place finish in the ultra-difficult 155 Class.

In an interesting racing side note, either Lanny or Berry Lowman now possess every 2nd Place 155 Class trophy given out on Highway 318 since that class returned to the top of the Grand Sport Division in May of 2017 save for one, May of 2018, the only time neither were entered in the 155 Class due to primary car failures and switching to backup cars. Will either one of them ever nab that top spot in 155? Stay tuned in 2019 to see if either of the Lowman boys can get it done on 318!

In the hardest charge to make up time for a win of all of the 2018 NORRC Series competitors, Malcolm “Mac Daddy” Johnson showed up swinging for the fence in his C6 Z06 in the 140 Class. Sitting in 4th Place in the NORRC Series standings coming into the SSCC event, 0.9675 seconds back of the top spot, Malcolm delivered the ORR drive of his life, turning in a 0.0030 time variance off target, upping his game significantly from his previous personal best variance of a 0.027. It was an all out effort all weekend long for Mac Daddy, who finally joined the “Thousandths Club” with a stopwatch only, no less!

So, with all of this excitement all season long via stories of car rebuilds, backup cars, rental cars, seat swaps, dramatic drives, and skinny number finishes, who finally came out on top to win the 2018 NORRC Championship Series title, and the NORRC Best 3 of 4 Series title?

See below for the final season standings in both categories of the 2018 National Open Road Racing Championship Series, then come race with us in the 2019 NORRC Series!

2018 National Open Road Racing Championship – Season Standings
BBORR NORC SORC SSCC Season Total Rank
National Champion
Tom Sorrells 0.078 0.0177 0.288 0.4715 0.8552 1st
Berry Lowman 0.076 0.0091 0.709 0.122 0.9161 2nd
Lanny Lowman 0.08 0.6408 0.076 0.1367 0.9335 3rd
Malcolm Johnson 0.076 0.1825 0.709 0.003 0.9705 4th
Blue Offutt 0.641 0.0335 3.154 1.2372 5.0657 5th
Les Steinhoff 21.171 3.2945 2.384 0.9564 27.8059 6th
Best 3 of 4 Champ
Deven Hickingbotham 0.042 0.1624 DNS 0.0152 0.2196 1st
Gary Innocenti 0.104 0.2973 DNS 0.0058 0.4071 2nd
Ted Zaleski 0.212 0.2133 DNS 0.0916 0.5169 3rd
Jim Burnett 1.149 0.1046 DNS 0.0125 1.2661 4th
Don Specht 0.083 0.4099 DNS 1.109 1.6019 5th
Ken Rees 0.08 1.4473 0.181 DNS 1.7083 6th
Cynthia (Cindy) Clements 0.083 1.192 DNS 0.5581 1.8331 7th
Bob Glass 0.824 1.1344 DNS 0.122 2.0804 8th
Charlie Friend UNL/DNQ 2.0024 0.422 0.8395 3.2639 9th
Tom Glass 0.824 2.778 DNS 0.0372 3.6392 10th
Linda Specht 2.517 0.4099 DNS 1.109 4.0359 11th
Leland Sweet 37.386 2.1373 DNS 7.3319 46.8552 12th
Jessica Morton 49.647 0.0685 DNS 0.0271 49.7426 13th
Nick Stewart 38.938 DNS 17.2 0.702 56.84 14th
Diane Stewart 38.938 DNS 17.2 0.702 56.84 14th
Mark “Doc” Capener DNS DNF 12.216 4.427 16.643 N/A
Grid Key
UNL = Unlimited Class
DNS = Did Not Start
DNF = Did Not Finish
DNQ = Does Not Qualify
DQ = Disqualified
REG = Registered
? = Unknown if REG

 

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