Formula TR Willow Springs -- Rounds 5 & 6 -- Complete Those who took part in the Formula TR test day on Wednesday were very thankful they did as Friday's weather which was forecasted to have winds arrived with gale force winds of 40-60 mph.
Saturday was better with the winds subsiding to 15-25 mph and finally Sunday with normal gusts of 5-15 mph. Saturdays round 5 of the 2007 Formula TR Championship found the first three 1600 qualifiers within four tenths of a second. For the first time the series had two female drivers participating, Kristen Braun and Kerstin Smutny. Smutny returned after missing Rounds 4 & 5 due to mechanical woes.
On the poll for the 1600's, as he has been all season, was Sergio Pena in his JP Motorsports #58 machine with a very quick time of 1:24.385. Pena was followed by Joshua Goshen in his Goshen Racing #83 by less than 1/10 of a second at 1:24.466 and Kristin Braun in her Kimball Williams Racing #70 just over 3/10's back at 1:24.771.
The race was sure to be close. The 11 two liter cars saw Bill Goshen take the poll in his Goshen Racing #82 set the quickest time of the weekend in the very windy conditions at 1:16.8, the only sub 1:17 lap recorded in competition all weekend. Liam Kenney in his Liam Kenney Motorsports #95 was less than 2/10's behind at 1:17.000.
Rounding out the top three qualifiers was Luis Martinez Jr. in his Position One Motorsports #3 with a quick time of 1:18.136. The 1600 race saw a tight race between Pena, Booth and Joshua Goshen with Pena staying firmly in the lead. The race between the ladies, Braun and Smutny, was exciting as they diced throughout the race, Smutny having taken the advantage on the start and maintaining it until late in the race when they were being lapped by the second place 2 liter car of Luis Martinez Jr. when all three left the racing surface.
Bill Goshen held his poll position for the first six laps unfortunately he suffered a mechanical failure and surrendered the lead to Liam Kenney. Jeremy Braun in his #50 Goshen Racing entry moved to third at the start and held off Luis Martinez Jr. until lap 8. The 12 racing lap proved to be the last lap of the race when three cars departed the racing surface at turn 4. Luis Martinez Jr. in his 2 liter car was approaching Smutny and Kirstin Braun in their 1600's to lap them when all three cars slid off the track without contact. The cars were high centered, unable to continue, and in a unsafe location. The pace car was dispatched and a tow truck.
Before the pace car finished the lap it was recognized that the track would be blocked by the tow truck so the field was led into the pits. The time for the race expired before the track was cleared bringing Round 5 of the Formula TR Championship of an end with Sergio Pena and John Knudsen still on top of the series points standings in their respective classes but with Liam Kenney and Ryan Booth charging forward.
Everyone was looking forward to Round 6 on Sunday, the winds had returned to normal and everyone was comfortable with the track.
Qualifying for the 1600's found Sergio Pena in his JP Motorsports #58 on the poll at 1:24.295, a few 100ths faster than the previous day with Ryan Booth in his Knudsen Racing #4 less than 3/10ths behind and Joshua Goshen in the Goshen Racing #83 third on the grid. The 2 liter drivers threw down the gauntlet with Liam Kenney, Liam Kenney Racing #95, taking the poll with the time of 1:17.574 and Bill Goshen, Goshen Racing #82, on the outside of row one with a time of 1:17.656. Luis Martinez Jr., Position One Motorsports #3, was third quickest with a 1:18.234.
On the second lap Braun and Smutny touched in turn 3 with Braun spinning off followed by Joshua Goshen who had no where to go. Both 1600's were not able to continue and the pace car and tow truck were dispatched. There were four pace car laps with the green flying at the beginning of lap 6. Ryan Booth, Knudsen Racing #4, waited patiently until the white flag lap where he executed the textbook drafting pass of Segio Pena, JP Motorsports #58, at the entrance of turn 1 to take the lead which he held on to for the win. Sergio Pena finished in second and Felice Snider, JP Motorsports #85, took third. Liam Kenney dominated the 2000's in the Round 6 race.
From the intial green flag he was able to open up a several car length lead over Jeremy Braun. The restart saw Liam do it again, opening up several lengths over second place. The start found Bill Goshen out positioned, falling to fourth but the on the restart he and Luis Martinez Jr. moving ahead of Jeremy Braun and then he moved ahead of Martinez just a lap later to second where he finished. The dicing was not over and Martinez position over Braun was short lived and after three laps Braun regained third which as also his finishing position.
The series points battle tightens after these six rounds. In the 1600's Sergio Pena is ahead by Ryan Booth is coming on strong and Felice Snider is demonstrating that consistency has its rewards. In the 2000 Series championship John Knudsen still leads with Bill Goshen and Luis Martinez Jr. just behind and Liam Kenney is making a strong move.
With 14 rounds to go each series championship is far from being decided. The next event for the 2007 Formula TR Pro Championship is June 2-3, 2007 with rounds 7 & 8 on the infield course at California Speedway. Just a week later, June 9-10, rounds 9 & 10 will be contested at Buttonwillow Raceway. About Formula TR Formula TR (Tatuus Renault) provides a development series for young drivers progressing from karting into professional formula car racing as early as age 14.
The series was established in 2002 and features both 1600cc and 2000cc carbon fiber open wheel chassis built by Tatuus and powered by Renault. The series consists of 20 races conducted over 10 weekends at tracks throughout the western US.