SBRS: Forman and Viso Dominate at Lime Rock

Historically rich Lime Rock Park was the setting for Rounds 7 and 8 of the Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship, where Masters racer Len Forman and rookie phenomenon Ernesto Viso dominated their respective race groups, each tabulating ...

Historically rich Lime Rock Park was the setting for Rounds 7 and 8 of the Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship, where Masters racer Len Forman and rookie phenomenon Ernesto Viso dominated their respective race groups, each tabulating multiple wins on the weekend. Optimal weather and track conditions helped set the table for low lap times by drivers eager to make the most of their R/T 2000s on Michelin slicks.

The first race group of the day saw Peru's Juan Manuel Polar win over Shinsuke Yamazaki and Dan Boland. The win is the Peruvians's first in regional competition this year. The former Southern series racer is contesting the Formula Dodge National Championship and made the trip North to hone his skills in anticipation of a later FDNC round in the Northwest corner. Polar, who started from pole, led all 27 laps of the race on the 1.53 mile circuit. Mike Distaulo distinguished himself with a fourth place finish from 11th.

Norio Takeda leapt over Daniel Lancaster and Ernest Viso to take the victory in group 2 race 1. Matthew Koskinen and Masters racer R.J. Smith followed in second and third. Lancaster led most of this contest but suffered a costly four-off on the last lap and fell back to finish in fifth. Brad Ruthberg advanced from a 10th place start to finish in sixth and earn hard-charger distinction. Over the course, Ruthberg waged and came out ahead in a spirited battle with John Angelone and Steve Vadja. Fourth place finisher Ernesto Viso, who also went four-off, tripped the fastest lap of the weekend up to this point, fractions off the track record, with a time of 0:58.985 sec.

Accomplished Masters racer Len Forman bolted to his first win of the weekend from pole, setting a fastest lap time of 0:59.446 sec. along the way. Forman took the lead on lap 12 and then led the balance laps to finish ahead of Andrew Prendeville and Dave Figurski by a 30-second margin. Jerry Molitor followed in fifth, undeterred by his 12th place start on the grid. David Kaemmer led 10 laps before he went four-off at West Bend and subsequently retired with a bent suspension.

Group 4 race 1 saw New Yorker Roland Isra take the checkered flag from pole position. Isra had to ward off a determined Mike Marino, who passed the former Masters champion early on only to give back the position mid-way through the contest. Marino would follow Isra to the checkered in second with Eric Jobe in third. Isra's win, along Forman's two-for-two, is an indication of how deep the Masters field is this year and how challenging it is for younger drivers to displace the 40-plus set.

Group 5 took back the mantle for young, promising racers. The 1-2-3 start order help up as sixteen year-old Ernesto Viso motored to a nine-second margin victory over Andy Newell and Ed Somma, who scored Masters points as well. Newell set the best lap time of this group at 0:59.336 sec. Brad Egna darted through the field, bettering his starting spot by seven positions, to finish in seventh.

A good night's sleep did wonders for Shinsuke Yamazaki, who upgraded his previous day's podium to a spot on the center step. Yamazaki's 37-second margin win came at the expense of Mike Weagley and Dom Seddio. Weagley, who started 11th, gained five positions on the first lap and was perched in third, poised to improve, as early as lap 6. Seddio was welcomed back to the Skip Barber fold after a three year absence in which he contested SCCA FF 1600.

Group 2 race 2 featured one of the closest contests in regional competition as two feisty Brazilian's battled for the lead right up to the checkered flag. Ernesto Viso advanced from fourth on the grid to record his second victory of the weekend over Daniel Lancaster by a thin 0:00.100 sec. Matthew Koskinen followed Lancaster to the flag to gain the final podium spot. Peter Ludwig worked hard to move from the back of the pack and earn a fourth place result. Norio Takeda led 19 laps but crashed heavily in the downhill trying to keep pace with Viso.

Len Forman once again led when it mattered as he tallied his second victory of the weekend. The former Masters champion started at the back of the field and educated a number of young racers, including Andrew Prendeville and Bob Sayers, in veteran gamesmanship. Prendeville led 13 of the 27 laps but was no match for the more experienced Forman and would have to settle for second. Sayers followed home in third. Italy's Alex Donnini improved his ninth place start position to finish in the top-5 while David Kaemmer advanced with aplomb to finish in seventh.

Mike Marino sidestepped polesitter Roland Isra on lap 1, and then late in the race before holding on for a narrow victory over the former Masters champion. Eric Jobe followed Isra to the checkered flag with a third place result. Masters racer Randy Youngsma secured a tough seventh place result after some swift moves that advanced him six positions.

Ernesto Viso entered his third win of the weekend into the logbook after successfully defending his pole position from Andy Newell and Jared Wilcox in Group 5 action. Viso took the flag in wire-to-wire fashion, setting another fastest lap of his group with a time of 0:59.816 sec. New Yorker Abraham Zimroth improved his position from 17th to record a top-5 result.

In the day's race finale, Tom Sands led all but one of 20 laps en route to his first ever Skip Barber Race Series victory in the Chet Atkins Memorial. Polesitter Mike Wert, displaced on lap 1, took second place honors while David Kaemmer, from 16th, gamely secured the final rostrum spot.

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Shinsuke Yamazaki , Roland Isra , Skip Barber , Andrew Prendeville , Jerry Molitor , Abraham Zimroth , Peter Ludwig , John Angelone , David Kaemmer , Juan Manuel Polar , Ernesto Viso