The second race weekend of the Eastern Region Championship got underway last weekend at Lime Rock Park, with five race groups competing on the historic 1.53-mile track. The weekend saw three drivers take their first wins in the category as Drew Sprague won his first ever Skip Barber Regional race in jus this first try, with Jameson Riley and Peter Ludwig also making their first steps to the top of the podium in Skip Barber competition.
The race weekend weather forecast called for rain, and the Skip Barber crew changed the field to treaded Michelins in case the rain were to materialize. Fortunately, the rain held off for the two days of racing, and the treaded Michelins were none the less very fast at Lime Rock. The lack of rain made the weekend easier for the group of new drivers, which included Sy Aryeh, George Giguere, Steve Goldstein, Ivo Gueoroguiev, Barrett Hamilton, Brendan Long, William Murphy and Drew Sprague.
The first race of the weekend saw former drag racer and Maine native Drew Sprague take the field to the green flag from pole, and motor to his first win in just his first race with Skip Barber. The battle behind Sprague was fraught, though, as Billy Telesco, Tim Haogland, and Martin Birkmann fought over positions two through four. Hoagland lost second place to Telesco on the very last lap of the race after having held onto the position for the entire race. Telesco scored the Masters win with his second place, and Drew Sprague took the Rookie of the Race honors with his fine run to the checkered flag.
Group one returned to battle on Saturday, with Martin Birkmann taking the lead from his fourth starting position as the field entered turn one with Sprague filing in to take second position. Birkmann held onto the lead for the first twelve laps of the race with Sprague keeping him honest before the two made contact, opening the door for Billy Telesco to take the lead, which he held on to for four laps. Jameson Riley took the lead from Telesco on the sixteenth lap in turn four, but the result was far from finalized, as the two continued to contest the lead until the checkered flag flew, with Riley taking the win ahead of Telesco and Tim Hoagland taking the final spot on the podium in third. The race gave Telesco a perfect two for two on the weekend for Masters victories. Sy Aryeh took most progressive racer honors with his strong run to fifth after having started eleventh in just his second Skip Barber race.
Group two was the Masters National group, which utilizes the rules of the Skip Barber Forumla Dodge National Championship to address issues of off-course excursions and car contact. David Gamer Kaemmer led the field to the green flag from pole, and held onto the lead for the first 24 laps of the race, but went just wide at the exit of turn three, leaving the door open for Chris Wilcox to take the lead and the win with Dave Figurski and Mike Marino taking the flag ahead of Kaemmer who came home fourth.
The second Masters National race saw Mike Marino start from third and take the lead at the start of the race, getting by Chris Wilcox and David Kaemmer, who was forced to retire with a mechanical problem before the green dropped. Marino went unheeded in the 24 lap event to motor to the checkered flag ahead of Chris Wilcox and Dave Figurski, who passed Mark Patterson in the closing stages of the race for third.
The first race of the weekend for race group three pitted youth versus experience, as Marco Andretti and Peter Ludwig fought for the lead. Andretti led early, but was passed by Ludwig on the twelfth lap, only to repass him on the very next trip by the stripe. Andretti held on to the lead to the finish, with Ludwig staying in contact with the young racer for the entire race to take second place, just 3 seconds behind Andretti. Greg Den Herder took third place, with Tim Hoagland winning the Masters Category and William Murphy scoring Rookie of the Race honors.
Race group three rejoined on Saturday, with Marco Andretti again leading the pack to the green flag on the second attempt after the field was too spread out on the first attempt. A spin in the daunting downhill cost Ludwig his opportunity to take the fight to Andretti, but the battle behind kept things interesting as Tim Hoagland and Todor Mitev battled for position while Ludwig worked his way back through the field, taking spots from both drivers as he powered back into second place. Bill Hammer scored most progressive honors, with Andretti carding the fastest lap of the race.
Group fours first race of the weekend was an exciting affair, as Tom Sands lead the field to the green from the pole, and held onto his lead. Mark Patterson made a good start from fourth to slot into second place, and passed Sands for the lead on the third lap, but Sands returned the favor on the next lap. On the sixth lap, Dario Cioti spun in Big Bend, and Brad Parker was too close behind him to avoid contact. The incident brought out the black flag as the cars were righted and the drivers got back to safety. The race restarted, and so too did the battle between Sands and Patterson, with Patterson holding on to the lead, just out of reach of Sands, at the checkered flag. Randy Youngsma came home third, with Jonathan Ericksen taking most progressive driver honors and Ivo Gueorguiev making a name for himself with Rookie of the Race accolades.
Saturdays group four race again saw Sands and Patterson dueling for the win, as Patterson led the first lap but Sands wanted to get what he couldnt in the first race, as he took the win ahead of Patterson, who was within seconds of Sands on every lap. Jameson Riley started in fourth, and worked his way up to finish third after having fallen down the order to fifth at the midpoint of the race. Patterson took the Masters win with his second place finish overall, and Dario Cioti took most progressive honors with his run up into fourth place.
The first race of the weekend for group five created plenty of drama. Eric Ives led the field to the green flag from pole, and held onto the point for two laps before Dave Figurski took the lead away. Ives reclaimed the front spot five laps later, only to see Figurski take the point again some three laps later. Some other intense battles raged in the pack as well, as Phil Saville and Peter Ludwig went two wide for the better part of a lap around Lime Rock Park before the two both spun in turn two. Ives and Figurski continued to battle while Ludwig rejoined the fray to move himself up into podium contention. Figurski held onto the lead to the checkered flag, with Ludwig taking second place and Barret Hamilton finishing a fine third.
The last race of the weekend for race group five was a memorable one for Peter Ludwig, who took his Skip Barber Racing Three Day Racing School at Lime Rock Park just a couple of years back, and Lime Rock was also the sit of his first-ever win in Skip Barber competition. Ludwig made no doubts of the matter, taking the lead at the start, and never relinquishing it as he finished ahead of Eric Ives and Michael Auriemma.
The Eastern Regional Championship will meet again on the weekend of June 14 at the fabulous Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama.