LARSSON THREE FOR THREE IN MAY LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27) - It took three attempts at the green but when it finally flew, polesitter Fredrik Larsson fended off a first-lap, first-turn move by Derek Hill, then drove flawlessly to his third consecutive Barber Dodge Pro Series win, in round five at Lime Rock Park. Hill kept second place by surviving a last-lap, first-turn wheel-banging episode with Tony Renna, with Rino Mastronardi third. Over the past three races--Texas World Speedway May 5, Nazareth Speedway May 18 and today at Lime Rock--Larsson has cultivated a healthy points lead over Tim Moser while Mastronardi's consistent points gathering now has him in third, just three behind Moser. The first attempt at a green failed miserably as five drivers back in the pack went spinning and crashing when things stacked up at the front; the first couple of rows were staggered and ugly so no green was thrown, catching out Chris Menninga, Skip Streets, John McCaig, Jarrett Boon and Steve Lorenzen. Nobody was hurt and after the cleanup, the field came around again, and again the starter did not like what he was seeing. But the third time around everybody was where they were supposed to be and down to Big Bend the 22-car field went. Hill, who had qualified second, took the lead into the first part of the famous 190-degree, double apex righthander, but Larsson stayed with Hill just off his left sidepod and thus had the advantage for turn three, The Lefthander. "Was I surprised Freddy stayed with me, on the outside? No. These guys up front in this series are really good and don't give up a thing," Phil Hill's young son said. "I'm really learning a lot from them. I think I'm ready for my own win." Hill has a third and a second in the last two races "and I'm ready to knock Fredrik off the top step," he said while winking at Larsson. With Larsson now motoring away, Hill had his hands full with Thomas Schie, who in turn had "Big Scholarship" driver Tony Renna all over him. When Schie spun in the chicane on lap 10, losing three spots, Renna filled Hill's mirrors. Meanwhile Mastronardi joined the fracas. Those three ran in lockstep for the next 11 laps, but then the white flag flew--it was now or never if you didn't like your position. Renna, in third, had his mind set on second place. He tried the outside pass in Big Bend, but ended up paying the price when he and Hill touched, sending Renna to the dirt. He recovered beautifully, but his now-mangled line into the Lefthander gave Mastronardi the run he needed and the Italian ducked underneath at the next corner, after some more inadvertant wheel-banging. After the race Larsson was told his "easy," drive-away win meant scant airtime for his Marlboro-sponsored Barber Dodge, ESPN instead focusing on the tight action behind him. Larsson smiled and said, "Maybe next time I slow down." Don't count on it. -Rick Roso
Lime Rock Park, 1.54-mile, 8-turn road course, Lakeville, Conn., 30-minute Barber Dodge Pro Series race (shortened to 22 min.), Dodge Dealers Lime Rock Grand Prix, May 27, 1996. All cars equally prepared Barber Dodges:
Finishing position (starting position), winner's time and average speed, laps (reason out, if any), prize money: 1. (1) Fredrik Larsson, Sweden, 22:08.816, 96.001 mph, 23, $10,000 2. (2)Derek Hill, Santa Monica, Calif., 23, 22:09.883, $6,000 3. (5) Rino Mastronardi, Italy, 23, $4,000 4. (4) Tony Renna, Deland, Fla., 23, $2,500 5. (9) Jeff Bucknum, Simi Valley, Calif., 23, $1,800 6. (7) Geoff Boss,Narragansett, R.I., 23, $1,500 7. (3) Thomas Schie, Norway, 23, $1,300 8.(10) Memo Gidley, San Rafael, Calif., 23, $1,200 9. (16) Leandro Larrosa,Argentina, 23, $1,500 10. (8) Tim Moser, Ventura, Calif., 23, $1,000 11.(11) Rocky Moran, Jr., Coto de Caza, Calif., 23, $800 12. (17) Seiji Ara,Japan, 23, $700 13. (14) Steven Rikert, Rhinebeck, N.Y., 23, $600 14. (18) G.J. Mennen, Vernon, N.J., 23, $500 15. (13) Brian McCarthy, Dayton, Ohio 23, $500 16. (21) Carlos Bonetti, Brazil, 23, $500 17. (26) Joe Vantreese, Batavia, Ill., 22, $500 18 (25) Patsy DiFilippo, Apollo, Pa., 22, $500 19 (27) Art Coia, Barrington, R.I., 22, $500 20. (12) Bryan Selby, Alpine, Calif., 16 (accident), $500 21. (20) Nick O'Sullivan, Boulder, Colo., 15 (accident), $500 22. (6) Andres Felipe Gomez, Colombia, 6 (gearbox), $500 23. (15) Chris Menninga, Pella, Iowa, 0 (did not start; accident) 24. (19) Skip Streets, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 0 (did not start; accident) 25. (22) John MacCaig, Canada, 0 (did not start; accident) 26. (23) Jarrett Boon, Chandler, Ariz., 0 (did not start; accident) 27. (24) Steve Lorenzen, Tahoe City, Calif., 0 (did not start; accident).
Margin of Victory: 1.067 seconds Fastest Race Lap: Rino Mastronardi, lap 12, :54.705 Most Progressive Driver: Leandro Larrosa, 15th (after re-grid from aborted start) to 9th.
Qualifying session information is available on the unofficial Skip Barber Racing School WWW site http://www.albany.edu/~gr743
Points after five of 12 rounds:
1. Fredrik Larsson 78 2. Tim Moser 54 3. Rino Mastronardi 51 4. Thomas Schie 45 5. Tony Renna 45 6. Derek Hill 44 7. Jeff Bucknum 42 8. Bryan Selby 38 9. Mauro Fartuszek 33 10. Seiji Ara 33
Next race: Watkins Glen, N.Y., June 29
for more information on
Skip Barber Racing School or Barber Dodge Pro Series email SPEED@SKIPBARBER.COM