(Lakeville, CT) August 16--Brian Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, took his first Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine win at Lime Rock Park today as he made a bold move in the early stages of the race to take the lead, and...
(Lakeville, CT) August 16--Brian Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, took his first Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine win at Lime Rock Park today as he made a bold move in the early stages of the race to take the lead, and then held off the pressure from Salvador Duran and Rafael Matos to take the win. Duran finished in second place ahead of Matos as the two championship contenders each collected their second podium visits for the weekend.
Barber Champ Car Scholarship racer Joe D'Agostino raced to fourth place after starting in seventh, with John Angelone taking his best ever finish in Formula Dodge National Championship competition in fifth place. Ricky Schmidt finished in sixth ahead of Zilvinas Oskutis, who fought his way up the order after starting in eleventh position. Abraham Zimroth finished in eighth ahead of Ben Freudenberg and Dominique Claessens. The battling behind the lead three was intense, as shown by the fact that positions six through eleven crossed the line just over two seconds from one another.
The race showcased the future of open wheel talent with battles developing at the front, mid pack, and rear of the field. Salvador Duran led the field to the green flag and led the first lap of the race as the rest of the field got through the first lap without incident. On the second lap, Brian Frisselle drafted Duran down the front stretch and made a brave move to pass the young Mexican on the outside of the long right handed turn one for the lead.
Frisselle led Duran, Matos, and race one winner Matt Jaskol as the foursome broke free of the pack into their own battle while Frisselle worked to build up a gap over Duran. After several laps, Duran drew close to Frisselle again, and passed him under braking for turn one when Frisselle locked up the brakes and went just wide in the corner. Undeterred, Frisselle repeated the move on Duran just one lap later to retake the lead for good. Soon thereafter, the lead pack lost a member as Jaskol spun in the uphill chicane.
"I stared to lose my front brakes early on in the race, and it wasn't that big a deal, I figured I would just kind of drive around it, but then it got worse and worse," said a disappointed Jaskol. "I had changed my line to account for the fact that my rears were locking up nearly every time I used the brakes, and eventually it just got bad enough that it caught me out and I spun. I was just hanging on at the end, trying to get as many points as possible. "
Behind the lead pack, an intense battle developed as an eight car train battled for positions on nearly every lap. Joe D'Agostino distinguished himself with a smart race to fourth, with his only regret being that by the time he had taken the spot, there were too few laps to catch the leaders.
"I was really hoping for a yellow flag there, since we had a really fast car and I think we could have been a threat," said D'Agostino. "It was still a fantastic race for me, we all keep learning more and more each race since the competition is so intense!"
At the front, Matos began to challenge Duran for second place and took the position for several laps. Duran regained speed and retook the position back from Matos, who was hoping not to get into a battle for second place as he showed great maturity and racecraft when he gave Duran the point by.
"I did point him by, just trying to tell him to think that we shouldn't be fighting each other if we want to catch back up to Brian, so I let him go, and we see if he is faster or if I am, but that we should really just be trying to catch back up to Brian," said Matos.
"I got a good start, and I knew my car was fast, but they gapped me some, and then I started to push, push, push, to get back in contact with them," continued Matos. "I passed Duran, held the position for four laps, and then I saw that Jaskol had dropped back and I knew that even if I finished in third, I would be making good points for the championship. But I still tried to get Duran..."
Duran and Matos were unable to catch a determined Frisselle, but were both happy to see their fellow competitor score his first win. Frisselle was ecstatic as he received the congratulations from the Skip Barber instructors as well as his fellow competitors and from his family who were on hand to root him on.
"I am just so happy!" enthused Frisselle. "To win over those two guys is a dream come true, especially to have it happen at a track that really isn't my best. Those two are just such good drivers, it makes it feel that much better. There was huge pressure on me, since Salvador and Raphael just don't give up, one lap, one corner, anything, they are running 100 percent all the time, and I knew that's how I had to drive today."
Frisselle is convinced that what he learns in Formula Dodge competition will help him as he hopes to follow the footsteps of his brother Burt, who graduated from the National Championship into the Barber Dodge Pro Series, where he currently leads the Rookie of the Year battle.
"Running with these guys is the best learning experience ever, they do passes on me that I would have never thought of, and then the next race weekend, I try and do the same to them, so running with these guys has really prepared me well I think for my future. Now I can't wait for Laguna, I think I can win it!"
Duran knew that this was going to be a vital race weekend in terms of the championship, and with two second place finishes, must be satisfied with the results, although he was still hoping for more.
"I was just trying to finish top three, and I did it but I made some little mistakes that might have cost me the championship, I don't know yet," said Duran. "The four points that I didn't get today (twenty points go to the winner, with sixteen being awarded to the runner-up), its everything. It s amazing how close everything is between us, in the points and on the track. We are preparing for Laguna, and hopefully we can have another good weekend and make a run on Rafael. Its going to be a great weekend, when you are battling for the championship, anything can happen."
When asked about the problems that Jaskol encountered, Duran's response showed both the intensely competitive nature of the series, as well as the strong sense of camaraderie that is so common in the Formula Dodge paddock.
"I saw that Jaskol had a problem, since he disappeared from my mirrors," said Duran. "I feel really badly for him, since he is a friend, but in the way we are competing for championship positions, it was good for me, since it gives me a bigger break on the points. I want it to be a close points championship, and that's what it was going to be!"
The final rounds of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine will take place October 10th at Laguna Seca, with full results and story to be posted at www.skipbarber.com.
LIME ROCK PARK
FORMULA DODGE NATIONAL
August 16, 2003