Swanson Holds on to Lead in USAC Formula Russell Championship Finishes Twice on the Podium with McQuarrie
Sonoma, CA - Jury Swanson maintains an eight point lead over Tyler McQuarrie in the USAC Formula Russell Championship with a win and a second place finish during the April rounds of the 18 race series at Sears Point Raceway. McQuarrie duplicated that feat trading steps on the podium with Swanson and that made all the difference in his ability to stay in the hunt for the championship.
"I knew I had to finish ahead of Jury in Sunday's race to go after the championship. If he finished ahead of me, he would have a 18 point advantage instead of eight," McQuarrie said. He was able to muscle by Swanson as both drivers went past start/finish on the white flag lap.
"Tyler had a run on me coming out of Turn 11," said Swanson. " I took a defensive line which hurt my exit speed just a bit. We raced side by side to the next corner but he had the line so I had to back out of it going up the hill to Turn 1."
The Formula Russell Championship continues on May 9 and 10. Drivers are competing for a sponsored ride in the Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro-Series in 1999 and a free trip to England in November to compete in the Jim Russell World Scholarship. The scholarship awards a grand prize of a full season in the Formula Vauxhall Junior series.
Race Weekend Details
Doug Sorensen started the weekend with a pole-to-checker victory in the first race on Saturday. Pat Murphy had Sorensen in his sites for half the race but spun going around a slower car, leaving Yutoro Goto to finish second with Dave Farley rounding out the top three positions . The second race saw Steve Hill, the lap record holder, on the pole. Hill had a good start and controlled the race for the first five laps but spun entering the chicane allowing Swanson to grab the lead. McQuarrie finished second and Kazuto Yagi finished third. Hill wound up fourth.
On Sunday, Hill was once again on the pole and pulled away in the early stages of the race. McQuarrie had second spot well in hand until he spun entering Turn 10 that necessitated a call to the pits. This allowed Brent Sherman to advance to second behind Hill. On lap 7, Sherman spun and was unable to continue leaving Swanson to pick up second. Meanwhile, McQuarrie worked his way from seventh place back to fourth thanks in part to a yellow flag to remove Sherman's stalled car. On lap 12, McQuarrie went by Pierre Ehret to take over third. Hill had the race in the palm of his hand with just four laps to go when a front tire started to lose pressure and he was forced to pit. This gave Swanson the lead after working his way through the field from his sixth place starting position. McQuarrie was right behind looking for an opportunity to pass. He made a move to the inside entering Turn 11. Swanson took a defensive line allowing McQuarrie to get a little more speed coming off the corner. Both driver's raced side by side to the white flag. McQuarrie had the inside line and took the lead in Turn 1 and the win. Swanson finished second and Ehret finished third.
Starting form the pole, Pat Murphy took the lead and never looked back to take a win in Sunday's second race. Chase Mart picked up a fine second place finish in his first season of racing. Yutoro Goto had a great drive finishing third after starting second to last on the grid.
USAC Formula Russell Championship After 6 of 18 races
1 Jury Swanson Sonoma, CA 102 2 Tyler McQuarrie Walnut Creek, CA 94 3 Kazuto Yagi San Francisco, CA 55 4 Dave McEntee Novato, CA 54 5 Pierre Ehret Santa Rosa, CA 53 6 Doug Sorensen Laguna Niguel 49 7 Steve Hill Los Gatos, CA 46 7 Dave Farley Yorba Linda, CA 46 9 Fernando Ribeiro Pittsburg, CA 44 10 Yutoro Goto Victoria, BC 43