Orlando, Florida- The Skip Barber National Championship presented by RACER returned to action after a six week layoff. Rounds 7 & 8 of the 14 race championship were contested on the picturesque Road America circuit in the Elkhart Lake region of ...
Orlando, Florida- The Skip Barber National Championship presented by RACER returned to action after a six week layoff. Rounds 7 & 8 of the 14 race championship were contested on the picturesque Road America circuit in the Elkhart Lake region of Wisconsin.
The weekend began for Gerardo Bonilla with practice and qualifying on Friday. Bonilla entered the weekend with three wins and the all important championship points lead. "Today I have been making strategic decisions about the car's setup," stated Bonilla. At days end Bonilla had qualified in 6th position and was poised for an exciting race on Saturday.
Beautiful weather and a slight breeze welcomed the Skip Barber drivers as they arrived on Saturday. Bonilla was focused on what it would take to win on the long four mile road course. As the race began, Bonilla found himself to be relaxed and patient with traffic. However, during those first few laps, trouble hit the Formula Dodge R/T 2000 race car. "At some point during the first few laps, a car hit my exhaust pipe in the rear of the car," exclaimed Bonilla. "The contact bent the pipe to nearly a 90-degree angle, chocking off the exhaust flow." Bonilla could feel the loss of power on the long straights as cars were able to motor by. He was able to remain focused on the race and brought the car home in 8th place.
Later in the afternoon qualifying for round 8 was held. Bonilla suffered from a mechanical gremlin as a gear and pinion in the transmission broke. Bonilla was able to get in one qualifying lap and will slot into 7th place on the grid for Sunday's event.
Sunday arrived and Gerardo Bonilla was looking for a bright spot in the weekend. As the field of Formula Dodge race cars took the green flag, Bonilla saw an opening going into turn one. On the exit of the corner he was up to fourth position. "I was able to get another position between turns 3 and 5," said Bonilla. The top three cars began to pull away from the field as the race progressed. Bonilla was able to capture the lead prior to the full course caution. This caution bunched up the field but, on the restart, Bonilla was quick on the gas and pulled out another lead. Towards the end of the race Bonilla had a lead on the fighting duo of Jonathan Goring and Cole Nelson. However, these two drivers were using their two car draft to catch Bonilla. Once they caught up to Bonilla, the two cars were able to slip by. Over the last few laps Bonilla and Nelson were trading 2nd position on several corners. "I knew I had a pretty big lead in the points," stated Bonilla. "The risk of a crash was pretty high." A mature Bonilla settled for third position on the podium and walked away from the weekend with a 30 point lead in the championship.
Gerardo Bonilla's goal for 2005 is the Skip Barber National Championship, while his 2006 outlook is for a seat in the Star Mazda Championship. For more information on this talented driver, contact the BMS Group by visiting www.burrismotorsport.com .For more insight on the weekend's race action, visit www.skipbarber.com . Bonilla is looking forward to the next race at the Mont-Tremblant circuit north of Montreal Canada.