LEXINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 15) - An outside pass on the opening lap gave Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. the inside track on his second consecutive Barber Dodge Pro Series victory on the 2.258-mile, 14-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon.
Snyder duplicated a pass used by Paul Tracy in the CART Miller Lite 200 race earlier in the day, then activated the afterburners to post his second victory of the season. Snyder, runner-up in the 1998 Barber Dodge championship, bested second-place Jeff Simmons by the largest margin of victory (14.195 seconds) in a 12-race span.
The start on Mid-Ohio's back straight wrote the story for Snyder.
The 30-year-old went side by side through the Turn 7 with pole sitter Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. Snyder then pulled off the same deft outside move in the Turn 9 area that second-place finisher Tracy used on Bryan Herta in the opening laps of the CART Champ Car race that concluded moments before the start of the 40-minute timed Barber Dodge race.
"It was the only shot that I had. In a lot of the CART races, you see people do that on the start, so I knew it was capable of being done, " Snyder said. "I wasn't sure that it was clean out there, and if there had been a lot of marbles and stuff, it probably wouldn't have worked. It was pretty clean from the middle of the road to the outside and I saw that on the pace lap. I realized that would give me at least a shot to do it."
Snyder's space in front was short-lived as a yellow flag was thrown to remove the cars of third qualifier Nilton Rossoni and fifth qualifier Townsend Bell, who had been dicing for position with fourth qualifier Simmons in a three-wide battle in the back part of the track. The three cars all tried to occupy a small slice of real estate in the same turn and touched simultaneously. Simmons drove away from what appeared to be a hard hit, while Rossoni and Bell (second and third in the points entering the weekend) were forced to make the long walk back to the pits.
"I didn't see what happened to Townsend and I wasn't sure who touched me from behind, but I was alongside Nilton and took the outside in Turn 9," Simmons said. "Nilton kept coming over into the left-hand turn and I got up on the curb and into the grass and didn't have anywhere to go. Someone hit me from behind and (Rossoni) spun off the track. I drove away from there."
Boss fell victim to a familiar move by Simmons after the lap four restart; the same pass that his older brother Andy Boss used on Nick Rondet to win the Mid-Ohio Barber Dodge race in 1997. Peter Boss still held off rookie Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. to equal his career-best with a third-place finish.
"Simmons took me in the same place Andy passed for his win here last time - into the carousel (Turn 14). I didn't think he'd make that move with Todd kind of moving away," Peter Boss said. "I thought that we would hook up and go after Todd, and I was having to take such defensive lines that just Todd drove away from both of us."
The defending Mid-Ohio race winner, Portola Valley, Calif. native Jon Fogarty, crossed the line behind Valiante to claim fifth, and earned the "Progressive Custom Wheels Most Progressive Driver" award for his charge from the 15th starting position. Iradj Alexander of Switzerland had his third top-10 finish with a sixth, and set a new track record with his fastest lap (1:24.590/96.096 mph) on the final circuit of the race.
Roger Yasukawa of Santa Monica, Calif., Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa, Rodrigo Bernardes of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Juan Jose Font of Caracas, Venezuela completed the remainder of the top 10.
Snyder put in a series of fast laps to distance himself from the pack, but did sustain a serious challenge for the remainder of the 26 laps.
"I figured there probably would be another full-course yellow, but when we got down to five minutes to go I figured that everything would sort itself out," Snyder said. "I just tried to be real consistent and as quick as I could without throwing it away."
Simmons extended his lead in the quest for an unprecedented second straight Barber Dodge championship by running his total to 99 points. Snyder vaulted from seventh to second overall (78 points). Boss moved into third (74), trailed by Rossoni (71), Bell (66) and Sepp Koster of the Netherlands (64), who fell victim to unfortunate contact with lap traffic. Valiante (51) moved ahead of Yasukawa and Matt Plumb (42) in the battle for the Rookie of the Year.
NOTEBOOK: Ron Bednosky was named the Klein Tools Barber Dodge Pro Series Mechanic of the Race. Bednosky received a custom Klein tool kit and a $100 cash award...Juan Montoya won the CART Miller Lite 200...Montoya won the Barber Pro Series at Mid-Ohio in 1994.
LEXINGTON, Ohio - Results Sunday from the 40-minute timed Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the CART Miller Lite 200 on the 2.258-mile, 14-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with finishing position, starting position, driver, hometown or country, laps, reason out (if any), and prize money. All cars are identical Reynard Dodge V6, open-wheel, single-seat race cars on Michelin racing tires.
1 (2) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass., 96.057 mph, 26, $12000 2 (4) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn., 26, $8000 3 (1) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I., 26, $6000 4 (6) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada, 26, $4000 5 (15) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif., 26, $3000 6 (8) Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland, 26, $2000 7 (10) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif., 26, $1800 8 (7) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa, 26, $1700 9 (11) Rodrigo Bernardes/Sao Paulo, Brazil, 26, $1600 10 (12) Juan Jose Font/Caracas,Venezuela, 26, $1500 11 (14) Vanderlan Junior/Goiania, Brazil, 26, $1400 12 (16) Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil, 26, $1300 13 (13) Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill., 26, $1200 14 (17) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn., 26, $1100 15 (9) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands, 26, $1000 16 (18) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill., 26, $500 17 (20) Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc., 26, $500 18 (22) Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis., 26, $500 19 (21) Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind., 23, $500 20 (3) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil, 1, $500, Contact 21 (5) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif., 1, $500, Contact 22 (19) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa., 0, $500, Electrical
LENGTH OF RACE: 1 Lap of 1.289 and 25 Laps of 2.258 Mile Circuit for 57.739 miles TIME OF RACE: 40 Minutes, 07.201 seconds AVERAGE SPEED: 86.349 mph MARGIN OF VICTORY: 14.195 Seconds LAP LEADERS: Todd Snyder - All Laps FASTEST RACE LAP: Iradj Alexander 1:24.590 (96.096 mph) Lap 26 (NEW RECORD) FASTEST QUALIFIER: Peter Boss 1:24.541 (96.152 mph) PROGRESSIVE CUSTOM WHEELS MOST PROGRESSIVE DRIVER: Jon Fogarty From 15th to 5th TOTAL PAYOUT: $51,100 Championship Points after Round 8 of 12 1) Simmons, 99 2) Snyder, 78 3) Boss, 74 4) Rossoni, 71 5) Bell, 66 6) Koster, 64 7) Moran, 61 8) Menninga, 52 9) Valiante, 51 10) Fogarty, 51