Sonoma, CA - July 26, 1999 - Nathan Smith of Escalon, Calif. won the second round of the four race Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series, presented by Yokohama, taking the lead in the championship in his Nelson Staffing Solutions / Gogdill &...
Sonoma, CA - July 26, 1999 - Nathan Smith of Escalon, Calif. won the second round of the four race Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series, presented by Yokohama, taking the lead in the championship in his Nelson Staffing Solutions / Gogdill & Giomi sponsored Formula Russell during the Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sears Point Raceway. He collected $1,500.00 for the win and also received a $300.00 bonus for starting on the pole.
Smith battled with Round 1 winner Tyler McQuarrie of Walnut Creek, Calif. as the two drivers pulled away from the rest of the 11 car field. For the first two laps of 18-lap race, McQuarrie hounded Smith, glued to his gearbox, looking for an opportunity to pass. His chance came entering Turn 11 on lap two when Smith left just enough room for McQuarrie to sneak in between him and the inside edge of the road.
"I had an advantage over Nathan most of the weekend under braking," said McQuarrie. "He left me a little room on the inside and I drove inside him." McQuarrie pulled next to Smith and the two raced side by side through the corner.
"I saw Tyler go to the inside as we came into the corner (Turn 11) so I slipped in behind him and let him tow me down the straight towards Start/Finish," said Smith. The strategy worked and Smith drafted past entering Turn 1 beginning the third lap. From there on it was Smith's race.
With each lap, Smith began to stretch his lead over McQuarrie who was busy dealing with an oversteer condition that was getting worse as the race went on. "I have never worked so hard to keep a car on the track. And I could see that third was starting close in," said McQuarrie after the race.
Indeed, the Platinum Autobody sponsored car driven by Chris Pettet of Napa, Calif., was whittling away the gap by at least a half a second with each lap. On the white flag lap, he was the quickest car in the race with a 1:39.490, and about eight car lengths behind McQuarrie. "I needed about two more laps and I could have taken a shot at second," said Pettet who now has two third place trophies and a firm grip on third in the standings.
The battle for the last two positions for the top five was between Toshi Kanamoto of San Francisco, Calif., Timothy Barber, also of San Francisco, and Novato Calif. driver Dave McEntee. McEntee, in his Edaten sponsored car, got a good start from his fifth place grid position going by Kanamoto right on the back of Pettet. "I had a great start but as we went up the hill I hit some grease sweep left form the last race and by the time I got car gathered up, Toshi and Tim went by."
McEntee made up a place on lap four passing the Sunset Garages car of Barber to get back into fifth, but Barber retook the position on lap 9 and then went after Kanamoto. On the white flag lap, Barber picked him off to cross the line in fourth just a few tenths ahead of Kanamoto and McEntee.
Larry Placido and John Polk prepared the winning car and received the "Pro-Mechanix Award" from Mechanix Wear, a sponsor of the Jim Russell Mechanics Training Program. Triple Crown drivers are competing for cash and prizes worth $20,000.00 and a test day in a US F2000 car provided by Yokohama Tire Corporation.
The next race in the Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series is at Thunderhill Raceway on September 25
Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series Points Standings After Round 1 of 4
1. Nathan Smith 37 6. Toshi Kanamoto 12 2. Tyler McQuarie 35 7. Warren Washer 8 3. Chris Pettet 24 8. Bob Hagerty 5 4. Dave McEntee 16 8. David Farley 5 4. Timothy Barber 16 10. Jeff Oppenheim 4
1999 Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series presented by Yokohama
Sunday, July 25, 1999 - Race Results
Pos Car # Driver Sponsor Home Town Time
1 16 Nathan Smith Nelson Staffing Solutions/Gogdill & Giomi Escalon, CA 1:39.499
2 9 Tyler McQuarrie Jim Russell Racing Drivers School Walnut Creek, CA 1:40.107
3 7 Chris Pettet Platinum Autobody Napa, CA 1:39.490
4 19 Timothy Barber Sunset Garages San Francisco, CA 1:40.650
5 11 Toshi Kanamoto San Francisco, CA 1:40.906
6 6 Dave McEntee Edaten.com Novato, CA 1:40.355
7 20 Jeff Oppenheim Sulphur Springs, TX 1:42.061
8 2 David Farley zcurve.com Yorba Linda, CA 1:43.059
9 8 Bob Hagerty Beaumont, TX 1:43.379
10 5 Chris Miller Long Beach, CA 1:42.110
11 12 Ken Snyder Robert Quinn Associates San Andreas, CA 1:43.078
Fastest Lap set by Chris Pettet #7 time: 1:39.490 on lap 18 @ 91.29 MPH
Number of starters 11 Number of finishers =11
Car # Lap to Lap
16 1-2 and 4-18