(LAKEVILLE, Conn.) Jan.25, 2000 -Looking for the meaning of competition? Take a glance at the numbers from the Formula Dodge Southern Race Series weekend at Sebring International Raceway.
Three new track records. Three last lap passes for the victory. Four margins of victory under .302 seconds. Six different race winners in six races. It can't get much better than that.
The anticipated match-up between No. 1 & No. 2 (Scott Bassinder and Craig Duerson) certainly lived up to its billing. But there was back-and-forth, nose-to-tail racing in all three race groups. Every victory notched by Chris Baker, Matt Franc, Charlie Plumb, Rafael Sperafico, Bassinder and Duerson was well earned.
On Saturday, the Formula Dodge track record fell in three consecutive races. Bassinder held it first, then Baker eclipsed the mark only to see Chip Bryant take it away with a record lap of 1 minute, 20.266 seconds on the modified course at Sebring.
Bassinder first lowered the mark during an amazing duel with Duerson, a race he eventually lost on the final circuit. The lead changed hands 12 times in 21 laps. Duerson led 11 laps, Bassinder 10. Bassinder clung to first for four consecutive laps (the longest stretch out front for either driver during the race) before Duerson countered for the deciding pass on lap 21. The margin of victory was a mere .142 seconds.
Bassinder, who lost for the first time this season on Saturday, turned the tables on Sunday. Duerson led 16 of 22 laps, but not the one that counted most. Bassinder executed the last lap pass, edging Duerson by .155 seconds. Roland Isra picked up both Masters Division victories in Group 1.
Franc and Baker were the main combatants in Group 2.
Once again the driver who set the track record (Baker) failed to grab the checkered flag on Saturday. Franc led the final five laps for the victory over Baker and a very competitive Arnold Brinkmann.
There was a similar showdown between Baker and Franc on Sunday, a battle that featured five lead changes in the final nine circuits. This time, Baker made the right move on the last lap, passing Franc for the win. Both Masters victories in Group 2 went to Paul Lasko.
The same pattern evolved in Group 3, though three drivers were involved in this tussle. Sperafico, Bryant and Plumb took turns holding the point on Saturday. Bryant set the track record, but Plumb grabbed the victory for his first win in a Formula Dodge.
Sperafico wouldn't be denied on Sunday, despite sustaining heavy pressure from Bryant. He led the final 15 laps, holding off Bryant by just .283 seconds for his first series victory. Plumb was third. Shareef Malnik captured both Masters victories in Group 3.
The Formula Dodge Southern Race Series will return to Sebring for Rounds 7 & 8 on Feb. 19-20.
Group 1/Race 1 Race 2
1. Craig Duerson/St. Petersburg, Fla Bassinder 2. Scott Bassinder/Brick, N.J. Duerson 3. Roland Isra/New York, N.Y. Charlie Plumb/So. Pines,N.C.
Group 2/Race 1 Race 2
1. Matt Franc/Plainfield, N.J Baker 2. Chris Baker/Austin, Tx. Franc 3. Arnold Brinkman/Coral Gables, Fla Brinkman
Group 3/Race 1 Race 2
1. Plumb Sperafico 2. Chip Bryant/ New Braunfels,Tx. Bryant 3. Rafael Sperafico/Toledo, Brazil Plumb