Gary Lewis, ASA Northwest...
Gary Lewis, ASA Northwest Tour Champion, leads Tiff Daniels and Johan Spies.
His words were echoed by numerous drivers. "The track is great, really racey, with multiple grooves and lots of room," said Arizona's Mark Shaffer. "We were getting three-wide all day long, especially toward the end of the race."
"It definitely has two grooves. There were a few times we ran three-wide and I raced side-by-side with John (Mickel)," Toni McCray said. "All in all, the track is really smooth."
Wisconsin's Chris Wimmer who previously raced at the old Las Vegas Speedway configuration said that Phakisa was similar but had characteristics of another, newer racetrack. "The transitions from the straightaway to the turns remind me of Iowa Speedway."
All racetracks have their nuances and Phakisa is no different. There are several bumps on the backstretch with the most notable one likely a result of the track surface settling over the tunnel just at the entrance to Turn 3. Hit it correctly and you'll be fine. Hit it wrong and you end up spinning into the wall. It's one of those little idiosyncrasies that will separate good drivers from great drivers.
Chris Wimmer's day ended early...
Chris Wimmer's day ended early when he broke a shock mount. He qualified third and was one of the favorites to contend for the win.
Of course the track was just one part of the overall experience.
"We've fallen in love with this country," said Bodine. "We love the people, the climate, the wild animals. This race will go down in the history books."
John Luedtke Jr., crewman for Wisconsin racer Russ Blakeley, echoed Bodine's sentiments. "I'd come back next week," he said. "The attitude of the people was great. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. On and off the track, I had a great time."
"When I look back at our experiences in South Africa, I feel honored to have been part of bringing an ASA asphalt experience to a different part of the world," said Tim Olson, President of the ASA Midwest Tour. "I also will never forget our new bonds built between the racers from around the world and the end result being a win for everyone involved."
Arizona racer Mark Shaffer...
Arizona racer Mark Shaffer used his quarter-panels to honor a friend who recently passed away.
"If I had known the effect that one race, in a country where no NASCAR-style racing had ever taken place, I might have actually been nervous," said race winner Mickel, whose life since the victory has been a whirlwind of international interviews, broadcasts, and interest from a variety of professional racing teams in the States and abroad.
Local South African Jaco Correia, put it simply, "We've waited a long time for this kind of racing to come to South Africa, and I really enjoyed being a part of it."
While those are some pretty glowing endorsements, Huth has gotten the most telling response from all his competitors. "Each one of the teams we took over has already asked, and in some cases, pleaded to be invited back next year," said Huth. Begging the question, what is the plan?