Pelayo El Campeon; Greist best among Masters. Telmex driver Luis Pelayo recorded two top-5 results this weekend, enough to"seal the deal" on the 2002 Formula Dodge Midwest Regional Championship and close the door on Rookie sensation Rafael Matos.
Pelayo El Campeon; Greist best among Masters.
Telmex driver Luis Pelayo recorded two top-5 results this weekend, enough to"seal the deal" on the 2002 Formula Dodge Midwest Regional Championship and close the door on Rookie sensation Rafael Matos. Pelayo, a National Championship driver, will bypass the Regional Runoff he automatically qualifies for to take part in the Barber Dodge Pro Series Runoffs at Sebring. The popular Mexican was one of 40-plus racers who gathered at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, for the season finale on the 10-turn 2.2-mile short course. John Greist excelled in the 40- and 50-plus category to earn the Midwest Masters and Grand Masters crown handily over runner-up John Dickman. Pelayo collected eight wins over the 14-round series while Greist chalked up a remarkable 10 wins in his 14 race starts.
Byron Amick converted a strong start from third into his first Skip Barber Race Series win, leading all 18 laps and narrowly holding off Mark Lindman to the stripe. Lindman started from 12th but ran through the field with impunity. He also set a fastest lap time of 1:30.612 sec. en route to second place result ahead of returning driver Mike Kolacki, in third. Grand Master and polesitter John Dubbs came home in fourth.
Group 2 featured the deepest, most experienced field of the weekend. Ben Freudenberg upset polesittter Conrad Grunewald early and then set the pace over the 18 lap contest, setting a fastest lap time in the process. Grunewald started fourth and had his hands full with Rafael Matos. The pair volleyed second position several times before Grunewald clamped down P2 on lap 15 and made it stick. Tim Traver improved upon his 17th place start position to land in the top-10.
Antoine Bessette, Nick Mavridis and Jonathan Klein, 1-2-3 in the start order, remained that way over the course of 18 laps in group 3 race 1 action. Bessette, making his first appearance in Midwest play, proved he belongs, motoring to a four-second margin victory and also setting a fastest lap time of 1:30.778 sec. Martin Zimmerman and Bob Nisbet rounded out the top-5. Pete Sola improved two positions to finish seventh.
The Johnny Unitas Memorial inserted itself late on Saturday, where it ran in the ever-popular endurance format. Team Milligan took top honors by earning an 18-second margin victory over Team Grunewald. Team Traver finished third. Team Milligan completed the 40-lap contest in a time of 1:06:04 minutes.
Second day opening results were very similar to group 1's first race. Bryon Amick made the most of his pole position, earned with his win the previous day, to lead all 16 trips and take the win over Mark Lindman, who couldn't improve on his second place start position. John Dubbs upset Mike Kolacki late to claim third place and the last spot on the podium. Kirk Kindsfater picked off three positions mid-race to land in sixth and earn most progressive driver distinction.
In group 2 race 2, third-place starter Rafael Matos sidestepped polesitter Ben Freudenberg just after the green flag to capture the point heading into turn-1. Matos then led the 17-car field for all laps, edging out fastest-lap setter Freudenberg by 1.5 sec. for the win. Conrad Grunewald followed in third ahead of champion-elect Luis Pelayo. Chris Prey advanced the most positions in this very competitive group, landing in ninth after a start from 15th.
Antoine Bessette proved his win a day earlier in group 3 was no accident. Starting again from pole, Bessette was challenged by rookie Jonathan Klein over the 16 laps but never relinquished the lead. Klein, who started third, finished second over Blake Luther, in third. Both Klein and Luther showed impressive race form to collect their first Skip Barber Race Series podiums. Michael Yager halved his eighth place start position to finish in fourth.
The Masters Race proved to be both the weekend and the season's finale. Although the field was light, only eight cars participated, the competition was heavy. Masters Champion-elect John Greist ran a flawless race, using a fastest lap time of 1:32.321 sec. to claim a seven-second margin victory over second place finisher John Dubbs. Martin Zimmerman followed in third. Andrew Piscotello drove his way into the top-5 to earn most progressive driver distinction.
Congratulations to Luis Pelayo, John Greist and all competitors for a fantastic 2002 Midwest Regional season!