LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Oct. 15) - Levi Simoes of Itabiba, Brazil spent the last week doing his homework on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn circuit at Lime Rock Park. It showed Friday in the provisional qualifying session for the Formula Dodge National ...
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Oct. 15) - Levi Simoes of Itabiba, Brazil spent the last week doing his homework on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn circuit at Lime Rock Park. It showed Friday in the provisional qualifying session for the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER when the 20-year-old belied his inexperience by topping the time sheets.
Simoes arrived in Connecticut early and studied the lines of Skip Barber instructors testing the Formula Dodge cars on the historic road course. By the time he hit the track, Simoes already had a mental picture of his Lap10 perfection.
"I was trying to work the draft a little bit, I was working with (Peter Boss) and I got some good runs with him," said Simoes, who had a fast lap of 59.267 seconds at 92.935 mph. "I wasn't expecting that. I have never raced on this track before, and some guys have raced here eight times or more. But I was here to learn. I like the track, it's very technical with high-speed corners, so I was just trying to learn it and get faster."
Simoes racked up eight wins in just 12 Formula Dodge starts, finishing as runner-up in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Western Race series. He picked up the pace fast enough at Lime Rock to best the CMC Engineering car of track veteran Barry Gommer of Hunlock Creek, Penn. (59.350/92.805 mph).
"The only thing I knew was I kept trying different lines and going faster and faster," Gommer said. "The top five was where I wanted to be, but second place is fine. I raced here last year and this whole year, so I know the track."
With all the drivers in identically prepared 2.0-liter Dodge Neon-powered machines working the draft and staying clear of traffic proved to be the intangible element. Ryan Hunter-Reay of Boca Raton, Florida established himself as a driver to watch in Saturday's final qualifying. Hunter-Reay set a Lime Rock Formula Dodge track record at 58.652 seconds last weekend, but his 59.371 Friday was good enough for third on the grid this time around.
Fellow Floridian Brian River of Miami Lakes (59.511) took fourth, followed by Boss of Narragansett, R.I. Craig Duerson of St. Petersburg, Florida (59.701) captured the sixth spot. Marc Breuers of Gladwine, Penn. (59.828), Robert McMillan of Crowley, Texas (59.888), Chip Bryant of New Braunfels, Texas (59.897) and Trent Miller of Bedminster, N.J. (59.926) completed the Top 10.
In all, 17 cars were within a second of Simoes' pole time.
The final grid will be set in a 20-minute session Saturday morning, with the 30-minute National Championship race preceding the Busch North season finale.
Formula Dodge National Championship provisional qualifying results Friday from the NASCAR 200 Presented by Burnham Boilers on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn Lime Rock road course for Saturday's 30-minute race. Drivers are classified by position, car number, name/hometown and time/speed.
1 (4) Levi Simoes/Itatiba, Brazil 59.267/92.935 mph 2 (42) Barry Gommer/Hunlock Creek, Penn. 59.350/92.805 3 (31) Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla. 59.371/92.773 4 (85) Brian Rivera/Miami Lakes, Fla. 59.511/92.554 5 (60) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 59.577/92.452 6 (36) Craig Duerson/St.Petersburg, Fla. 59.701/92.260 7 (99) Marc Breuers/Gladwine, Pa. 59.828/92.064 8 (91) Robert McMillan/Crowley, Tx. 59.888/91.972 9 (75) Chip Bryant/New Braunfels, Tx. 59.897/91.958 10 (59) Trent Miller/Bedminster, N.J. 59.926/91.913 11 (46) Don Drislane/Canaan, Conn. 59.926/91.913 12 (12) Paul Dana/Indianapolis, Ind. 59.953/91.872 13 (96) Jon Morley/Columbus, Ohio 1:00.022/91.766 14 (18) Bryan Sellars/Centerville, Ohio 1:00.172/91.538 15 (45) Chris Baker/Austin, Tx. 1:00.176/91.532 16 (16) Caio Travaglini/Sao Paulo, Brazil 1:00.187/91.515 17 (28) Todd Russo/Ringoes, N.J. 1:00.206/91.486 18 (32) Chris Willcox/Basking Ridge, N.J. 1:00.354/91.262 19 (15) Ted Ballou/Covina, Calif. 1:00.370/91.237 20 (33) Andre D'Cruze/Kent, U.K. 1:00.535/90.989 21 (2) Mark Barrens/Louisville, Ken. 1:00.860/90.503 22 (51) Michael Morris/Dallas, Texas 1:00.929/90.400 23 (44) Ricardo Navarro/Irvine, Calif. 1:01.531/89.516 24 (92) Matty O'Rourke/Coconut Creek,Fla. 1:01.553/89.484