April 13, 1999 GRO Winner Smith Takes Lead in USAC Formula Russell Series McDowell holds one point lead in Masters Division
Sonoma, CA - Nathan Smith of Escalon, CA moved into the lead with two podium finishes - a third and a win - in Round 3 of the ten event USAC Formula Russell Championship. Smith, dubbed "the rain meister" in the Russell Graduate Run-Offs for his outstanding drive in a very wet event, proved he was the right choice for the grand prize of a free season of racing in USAC series. He qualified in Sunday's rain-soaked session 3.554 seconds quicker than second fastest driver Leonardo Maia, and went on to win by a 32.149 second safety margin.
Smith's 73 points put him ahead of Frank Dancs with 65. Dancs moves from third in the points to second with a win and a fourth place finish. Maia made the biggest gain in the standings. Coming into the weekend, the third place finisher in the Russell Grad Run-Offs was tied for twelfth. Maia's win on Saturday, and third on Sunday, vaulted him into a tie for third with Chris Pettet, both with 55 markers.
Pat McDowell continues to lead the Masters Division holding down ninth in the championship standings with 41 points. However, David Farley has moved into striking range just two points away from taking the lead in the "over 45 class" and sharing a top ten birth with Mathew Mosley at 40 points. Third in the Masters Division is Phil Erickson with 33 points.
Over 60 drivers are competing for piece of the Formula Russell prize package which includes a free season in the Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series sponsored by Yokohama and valued at over $15,000. An additional incentive is the opportunity afforded to the top ten drivers to compete in the Jim Russell World Scholarship in England, where the top prize is a free season of racing in the Formula Vauxhall Series. Eighteen drivers in the series are also competing in the Masters Division for a separate prize package that includes Yokohama tires, Sparco driving equipment, and a Russell Driver Development program.
Round 4 of the USAC Formula Russell Championship is scheduled for May 15th and 16th.
USAC Formula Russell Championship Points Standings After Round 3 of 10
1 Nathan Smith 73 7 Jason McCune 46 2 Frank Dancs 65 8 Tim Barber 42 3 Chris Pettet 55 9 Pat McDowell 41 3 Leonardo Maia 55 10 David Farley 40 5 Todd Oppenheimer 48 10 Mathew Mosley 40 5 Toshi Kanamoto 48 Drivers finishing in the top three were:
Saturday, April 10 Race 1: 1st Frank Dancs, 2nd Jason McCune, 3rd Nathan Smith Race 2: 1st Chase Mart, 2nd Bob Hagerty, 3rd Rich Silverstein Race 3: 1st Greg Thek, 2nd Mark Pringle, 3rd Rob Cartwright Race 4: 1st Leonardo Maia, 2nd Todd Oppenheimer, 3rd Steve Hill
Sunday, April 11 Race 1: 1st Rob Cartwright, 2nd R J Velazquez, 3rd Bob Hagerty Race 2: 1st Nathan Smith, 2nd Todd Oppenheimer, 3rd Leonardo Maia Race 3: 1st Toshi Kanamoto, 2nd Greg Thek, 3rd David Farley Race 4: 1st Andrew Rees, 2nd Ted Voulgaris, 3rd Gary Raugh MTP Race: 1st Warren Washer, 2nd James Kim, 3rd Daniel Jovellanos