SBRS: Craig Duerson Clinches Southern Series Title

He won three races on the weekend, but only needed one to clinch the Skip Barber Southern Race Series title. Thus with one weekend remaining in the series, Craig Duerson of St. Petersburg, Fla. can bask in the reflective glow of victory. It ...

He won three races on the weekend, but only needed one to clinch the Skip Barber Southern Race Series title. Thus with one weekend remaining in the series, Craig Duerson of St. Petersburg, Fla. can bask in the reflective glow of victory.

It wasn’t easy as it might have appeared for Duerson, however. Racing in Group 3, he managed to sew up the title after winning Race 1 wire-to-wire. He did so by the scant margin of 0.630 sec after being dogged the entire 16 laps by both eventual second and third-placed finishers Arnold Brinkman and Matt Franc. Eventually Brinkman got some distance between himself and Franc, but it was too little too late after a superb drive. Scott Presti had briefly been in the mix until he had a harmless spin. Eventually he fought his way back into fourth place.

The second race for Group 3 was all gravy for Duerson. This time he traded the lead with Brinkman at least four times throughout the race. Third and fourth-placed Presti and Franc were also involved in the four-car lead train that was nose to tail for the duration of the battle. Franc, who just missed out on his fourth podium of the weekend, did end up setting a new track record for fastest race lap, lowering the mark to 1:40.101 sec.

But we digress.

Brinkman along with Franc doubled groups to race in Group 1 as well as Group 3. In the first race for Group 1, Brinkman pulled off a pass into turn-1 on Franc to take the lead. While the pair were nose to gearbox for the balance of the race, Franc could not muster the speed to get passed, leaving Brinkman to take the checkers. Chip Bryant took the checkered flag in the pits during an obligatory visit after going off course on the penultimate lap.

Franc exacted his revenge on Brinkman during a stellar last lap pass to take the victory in race 2. Bryant almost made hay on the deal as well, but Brinkman was able to defend second-place from further attack successfully. Bryant thus had to settle for third. All three enjoyed a spirited drive at the front for the whole of the race.

Gilles Tinguely was on top of his game for most of the weekend, winning Race 1 of Group 2. Tinguely got passed pole-sitter Chris Baker on the first lap only to be re-passed by Baker on lap-2. Going into turn-1 on lap-3, Tinguely pulled of the decisive move for the lead, and was never to look back, winning by a margin of 5.6 sec. Third-placed Roland Isra and fourth-placed Ray Shaffer put on a good show in their duel for the final podium spot.

The second race for Group 2 may have been the spectacle of the weekend. Juan Manuel Polar was the Most Progressive Driver of the race. So progressive in fact that he rose from sixth on the grid all the way to first-place and the victory. From lap-6 to lap-9, Polar leapfrogged from fourth to first, and was able to defend his position despite the attacks from Tinguely and Chris Baker. Tinguely went on to finish second while Shaffer secured his first career podium when he got passed Baker on the final lap.

In the two memorial races, Presti prevailed on Saturday while Duerson pulled off the natural hat trick with his third win in as many starts.

-George Tamayo

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Roland Isra , Chris Baker , Craig Duerson , Chip Bryan , Juan Manuel Polar