The Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship recently completed its 2000 season. Out of the montage of highlights, laps tripped and wins savored, emerged two Champions: Chip Bryant, Series winner and Chris Willcox, Masters Champion. Formula...
The Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship recently completed its 2000 season. Out of the montage of highlights, laps tripped and wins savored, emerged two Champions: Chip Bryant, Series winner and Chris Willcox, Masters Champion.
Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Champion
Looking at Chip Bryant's record this season, you'd never know he is a relative newcomer to racing. The young Texan first slipped into the cockpit of a race car at a three-day school in January of 1999, and like any other student, he followed his graduation by going on a tear. In his first year of competition, Bryant won 13 of the 16 regional events, including an attention-getting 11 consecutive victories to start the season. His success out of the box not only breeds confidence but also points him squarely in the direction of his goal; to compete in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
Remarkably, he believes things can only get better. The Eastern Champion realizes that racing skills require perpetual improvement. While he's generally pleased with his package, he cites room for growth in the area of smoothness around the track. A consistently strong starter in races, Bryant is one of those athletes that gets stronger [or faster] with each tick of the clock. He consistently records his swiftest laps early and then plays rabbit to a field of barking greyhounds. Even on an off-day, his sub-par efforts are enough to impress. During the late season National Championship race at Lime Rock Park, Bryant finished well in the top-10 against an elevated group of competitors, this while battling a severe cold. Not surprisingly, he didn't receive any Get Well cards from the field....!
Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Master's Champion
Chris Willcox has a simple approach to racing. Be fast, consistent and don't make mistakes. Like Byrant, he started the season hot and never really cooled, opening with his own string of victories in Masters competition. Winning the 40-plus category was his early season goal, but so was performing well in the overall series. He got his wish and then some, closing out the season as Master's Champion and in close contention for the overall prize.
A devout Christian, Willcox notes that God plays a big part in his life and racing career, and is the main source of confidence he brings to the track. "I would be hesitant to get in the car without my faith," he says. Less spiritual but also vital to his career are the instructors he relies on to hone his skills on the track.
"I have to give the Skip Barber organization a lot of credit. Over the last two years, the instructors have had me focus on being more consistent. Previously I was making mistakes that took me off road regularly. This year, I didn't drive off the road once! And last year I was driving harder but not as quick. My biggest improvement this year is my consistency."
Off track, Willcox and company spent countless hours together, trading tips on cars, tracks and setup. They also developed friendships, something he is grateful for. Willcox relishes the camaraderie in racing and has befriended several drivers. He believes that the racing community is much like a family, with the drivers growing to care about each other because of the trust that's involved.
His goals for the next series? To repeat the Master's? Win the Regional? Make new friends? "To have more fun," says Willcox. How's that for simple?