SCHIE WINS WHILE LARSSON STUMBLES
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 7) - Thomas Schie said Saturday morning after taking the Barber Dodge pole position, his first, "Once you win your first race, which is very hard, the second is much easier." Apparently. At Laguna Seca Raceway in the Superior Performance Challenge, Schie shook off another full field of Barber Dodge competitors to win his second on the trot, dispatching Geoff Boss with a clean pass under braking following a full-course caution--a caution called to retrieve the sand-stuck car of none other than points leader and five-time race winner Fredrik Larsson. Schie, who took his maiden win two weeks ago at Road America, has suddenly made a "runaway" points chase into a real battle; Schie now sits just 10 points behind Larsson (133 - 123), with only the Reno Grand Prix and Lime Rock Park left on the schedule.
Schie lost the lead at the start to front-row compatriot Boss: "The stewards warned us to be even in the front out of the Hairpin, but I wait too long to press," [that's "nail the gas" in American] and trailed by three car lengths for the first five laps. But then Larsson made a very uncharacteristic mistake. Coming out of Turn Five and just before Six, two lefthanders, Laguna Seca's pavement jukes in from the right just a tiny bit as it passes under a bridge. Larsson didn't make that little correction and got his right-side Goodyears into the dirt. Before he knew it, he was spinning off into the gravel, the car ending up buried to the hubs in the runoff. The marshals called for a full-course yellow to drag his errant mount off, and on the re-start Boss was loose: "It felt like the right-rear was going down, the car was sideways through the lefthanders." Schie thought it was dirt that Boss had picked up as he flailed it on the exits. Whatever it was, Boss couldn't put the power down at the exit of 11, the Hairpin, and Schie passed Boss going into Two for the lead. Though Schie didn't drive away, niether could Boss come up with anything to challenge and crossed the line .905 seconds behind the Norwegian.
Skip Barber "Big Scholarship" driver Tony Renna (who was just named the Valvoline/Team USA driver to partner Jerry Nadeau, the 1992 "Big Scholarship" winner, in the Nations Cup Formula Opel/Vauxhall race Nov. 2-3 at Donington Park, England) staved off Rino Mastronardi for third. Tim Moser, Rocky Moran, Jr., newcomer Jon Fogarty and Derek Hill swapped spots continuously until finishing in that order. Bryan Selby, wearing the colors of race sponsor Superior Performance Racing, a new Indy Lights team, was ninth while Andres Felipe Gomez came all the way from 20th to take 10th.
"This Laguna track, it is very good. You must be smooth and then you can go fast," Schie said. "And I like the street courses, I am looking forward to Reno." Larsson had left the building, so to speak, before he could be asked how he was feeling, but I think we have a good guess. Still, it is he who leads the points going into the last two races and it is unlikely he'll repeat the mistake he made here. But street races, they can reach out and bite anyone. Stay tuned. -Rick Roso
The Superior Performance Challenge, SCCA Pro Racing Barber Dodge Pro Series, Laguna Seca Raceway, 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course, Monterey, Calif., Sept. 7, 1996
Time of Race/Laps: 30:26.875/19laps Winner's Average Speed: 83.800 mph Fastest Race Lap: Schie, lap 18, 1:26.863/92.779 mph Leaders: Geoff Boss, 1 - 11; Schie, 12 - 19 Cautions: one, for three laps Most Progressive Driver: Andres Gomez, 20th to 10th
Fin. Strt. Driver/Town Laps Status Prize
1. 1 Thomas Schie/Norway 19 Running $10,000 2. 2 Geoff Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 19 Running $6,000 3. 4 Tony Renna/Deland, Fla. 19 Running $4,000 4. 3 Rino Mastronardi/Italy 19 Running $2,500 5. 6 Tim Moser/San Jose, Calif. 19 Running $1,800 6. 11 Rocky Moran/CotodeCaza, Calif. 19 Running $1,500 7. 9 Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif. 19 Running $1,300 8. 8 Derek Hill/Santa Monica, Calif. 19 Running $1,200 9. 14 Bryan Selby/Alpine, Calif. 19 Running $1,000 10.MP 20 Andres Felipe Gomez/Colombia 19 Running $1,500 11. 16 Chris Mennina/Pella, Iowa 19 Running $800 12. 18 Skip Streets/Mnhattn Bch, Calif. 19 Running $700 13. 13 Nick O'Sullivan/Boulder, Colo. 19 Running $600 14. 17 Jeff Bucknum/Simi Valley, Calif. 19 Running $500 15. 10 Jeff Shafer/N. Hollywood, Calif. 19 Running $500 16. 19 Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill. 19 Running $500 17. 21 Jarrett Boon/Chandler, Ariz. 19 Running $500 18. 26 Joe Vantreese/Batavia, Ill. 19 Running $500 19. 24 G.J. Mennen/New Vernon, N.J. 19 Running $500 20. 25 Steve Lorenzen/Tahoe City, Calif .19 Running $500 21. 22 Micky Gilbert/Arvada, Colo. 19 Running $500 22. 27 Patsy DeFilippo/Apollo, Pa. 18 Running $500 23. 23 Carlos Bonetti/Brasil 12 Accident $500 24. 5 Fredrik Larsson/Sweden 5 Spin $500 25. 15 Will Langhorne/Wellesley, Mass. 1 Accident $500 26. 7 Steve Rikert/Rhinebeck, N.Y. 0 Accident $500 27. 12 Seiji Ara/Japan 0 Accident $500
Top-10 Points Standings after 10 of 12 rounds
1. Fredrik Larsson 133 2. Thomas Schie 123 3. Rino Mastronardi 109 4. Tim Moser 103 5. Derek Hill 93 6. Tony Renna 93 7. Geoff Boss 85 8. Jeff Bucknum 51 9. Andres Gomez 49 10 Memo Gidley 49
Next race: Round 11, Reno Grand Prix, Reno, Nev., Sept. 22