SNYDER CUTS GAP ON SIMMONS WITH HOMESTEAD WIN HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 26) - For the second straight year, the battle for the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship will be decided in the final race. Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. spoiled the ...
SNYDER CUTS GAP ON SIMMONS WITH HOMESTEAD WIN HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 26) -
For the second straight year, the battle for the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship will be decided in the final race.
Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. spoiled the clinch bid of points leader Jeff Simmons with his fourth win of the season on the 2.21-mile, 14-turn infield circuit at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday. The victory reduced Simmons' lead over Snyder to 141-134 with only the October 3 finale at Watkins Glen remaining on the 12-race schedule.
A brief shower over the west side of the track prior to the start made the first lap the defining factor of the race. Several corners were still drying when the race began, but bright sunlight for the first time in three days quickly finished the job.
At the green, pole winner Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil took the inside line into Turn 1 and slowed for a lingering bit of standing water. Second qualifier Iradj Alexander of Switzerland and Snyder found grip on the outside line to power by Rossoni and assume the lead. Alexander led into the back half of the track, with Snyder glued to his rear wing.
"Nilton just pretty much over-slowed Turn 1 and let Iradj and me get by on the outside," Snyder said. "Iradj going into (Turn) 6 was pretty defensive, then going into (Turn) 8, I kind of weaved a little bit to see where he was going to go. He stayed on the normal line because it was drier there and I went for the wet, so I was able to get him in Turn 8."
Snyder never relinquished the pace in the remainder of the 28-lap race, and battled off another bid by Alexander before settling into a comfortable gap over second-place Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. Rookie Matt Plumb of Unionville, Penn. notched a season-best third to complete the podium.
"I had a very good start and was on the outside going into Turn 1, which was definitely the place to be today," said Fogarty, who moved up from the eighth slot on the grid. "I went by some people on the outside of one, went by a couple more on the outside of two and then found myself in third place."
An oil slick in the area of Turn 10 provided the biggest challenge on the third lap, as Alexander and Simmons made unplanned excursions into the grass along with most of the lead pack. Fogarty moved into second when Alexander spun in Turn 6 while chasing Snyder.
"Fogarty went straight in the turn, which showed me where the oil was and I kept it on the track," Plumb said. "(Fogarty) came out ahead of me and Alexander and Simmons went off so I picked up a few places."
Simmons withstood a spirited battle in the mid-pack to cross the line fourth, just in front of the hard-charging Alexander, who shook off a lap four spin to finish fifth. Despite the strong finish, Simmons' championship lead shrunk from 15 to seven points.
The battle for the Rookie of the Year points lead extended to the conclusion of the race, as Roger Yasukawa of Santa Monica, Calif. edged out Vancouver, B.C.'s Michael Valiante for sixth to take a one-point lead. Sepp Koster of the Netherlands solidified his hold on third in the championship race by placing eighth.
Brazil's Andre Nicastro made a ninth-place Barber Dodge debut. Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa moved up from a 19th starting position to earn the Progressive Custom Wheels "Most Progressive Driver" $500 award and completed the Top 10.
Miami Lakes native Brian Rivera scored in the points in his pro debut with a 13th-place finish. Rivera was co-winner of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Southern Championship for the 1998-99 season as an amateur.
The battle for the Barber Dodge championship heads to the long course at Watkins Glen with the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award on the line. Simmons is seeking to become the first repeat champion in the 14-year history, while Snyder is still looking to avenge his runner-up status from last year.
"Much like last year, it's down to the wire. He's the one who's (under) more pressure than I am," Snyder said diplomatically. "I was just up (at Watkins Glen) driving around last weekend. Jeff knows the track and I'm certainly not counting him out, so we're just going to have to wait and see what happens."
NOTES: A new Michelin Pilot SX tire design made a successful debut, with a Barber Dodge track record average race speed of 89.663 mph...Dan Gilotti earned Barber Dodge Pro Series Mechanic of the Race honors and a $100 cash award.
Championship Points after Round 11 1) Simmons, 141 2) Snyder, 134 3) Koster, 98 4) Fogarty, 92 5) Bell, 88 6) Boss, 88 7) Menninga, 78 8) Rossoni, 73 9) Yasukawa, 72 10) Valiante, 71
#HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Results Sunday from the 40-minute timed Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the FIA GT Championship on the 2.21-mile, 14-turn Homestead-Miami Speedway infield 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 (4) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass., 92.262 mph,28 laps, $12000 2 (8) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif., 28, $8000 3 (3) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa., 28, $6000 4 (9) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn., 28, $4000 5 (2) Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland, 28, $2500 6 (11) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif., 28, $2000 7 (6) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada, 28, $1800 8 (13) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands, 28, $1700 9 (12) Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, 28, $1600 10 (19) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa, 28, $2000 11 (16) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill., 28, $1400 12 (17) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn., 28, $1300 13 (14) Brian Rivera/Miami Lakes, Fla., 27, $1200 14 (18) Luca Pazzaglia/Bologna, Italy, 27, $1100 15 (20) David Francis Jr./Cypress, Calif., 27, $1000 16 (15) Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc., 27, $500 17 (10) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I., 24, $500, Contact 18 (1) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil, 9, $500, Mechanical 19 (5) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif., 2, $500, Off Course 20 (7) Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil, 2, $500, Contact
LENGTH OF RACE: 28 Laps of 2.21 Mile Circuit for 61.880 miles TIME OF RACE: 41 Minutes, 23.682 seconds AVERAGE SPEED: 89.693 *** NEW RECORD MARGIN OF VICTORY: 6.985 Seconds LAP LEADERS: Todd Snyder - All Laps FASTEST RACE LAP: Todd Snyder 1:26.233 (92.262 mph) Lap 28 FASTEST QUALIFIER: Nilton Rossoni 1:43.865 (76.599 mph) PROGRESSIVE CUSTOM WHEELS MOST PROGRESSIVE DRIVER: Jamie Menninga, From 19th to 10th TOTAL PAYOUT: $50,100