The Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship took its "road show" to Virginia International Raceway where all in attendance witnessed the introduction of a new National Masters Championship. For the first time in Skip Barber Race Series history...
The Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Championship took its "road show" to Virginia International Raceway where all in attendance witnessed the introduction of a new National Masters Championship. For the first time in Skip Barber Race Series history competitors in the 40-plus category, including current and past regional Masters champions, were pooled in an effort to elevate the racing even higher.
The regional action started off with Andy Newell checking out from the number two spot to assume the lead on lap 2. Newell then built an unchallengable lead, coasting to a 26 second margin victory over Matthew Koskinen and Mike Wert. Wert gained maximum points in the Masters class with his third place result. Rob Martin took most progressive driver honors by advancing from 11th to finish fifth overall.
In group 2 race 1, Quentin Wahl, who was on deck to compete in the National Masters race, won from pole over Jerry Molitor and Dave House. Wahl, who led 17 of the 20 lap affair, tripped the fastest lap on the 1.64 mile circuit with a time of 1:17.860 sec. Darren Arns drove a spirited race, gaining six positions within the first two laps, en route to a fifth place result.
Nineteen racers gridded up for the first National Masters race, which saw polesitter Roland Isra record a narrow victory over Bud Risser, who had started in sixth. Isra led all but one lap as he cleverly held off an experienced field that included eight current or former Regional Masters champions. Peter Ponder-Pistor took third place honors. Brian Shepherd drove a terrific race, charging from a poor grid position to finish with a respectable eighth place result. Chris Willcox turned in the fastest lap with a time of 1:17.579 sec. before he was forced to retire on lap 15 due to contact with Quentin Wahl earlier in the race.
Norio Takeda was a first time winner, leading flag-to-flag, setting fastest lap and and outlasting David Harris and Mark Patterson. The win, place, show trio had started the race in that order and maintained 1-2-3 by holding off aggressive drives from Stave Vadja and particularly Jack Warrington. Harris, Patterson and Warrington all went four-off and worked their way gamely back into contention. Patterson claimed the Masters class bounty with his third place finish.
In Group 1 race 2, polesitter Andy Newell led all laps as he motored to a 0.121 sec margin victory over Matthew Koskinen. Koskinen's second place result included a fastest lap time of 1:17.442 sec. Midwestern Regional Masters Champion Roland Isra didn't let his poor grid placement deter him. The gritty New Yorker advanced from tenth, sixth positions on the first lap, to gain the final rostrum spot.
Another first time winner Jerry Molitor held off Dave House and Abraham Zimroth for 20 laps in group 2 race 2. Molitor, who earned second place honors a day earlier, made the most of his pole position, using every bit of the advantage to garner out a 0.328 sec margin victory. Zimroth was looking for his Skip Barber Race Series win but would gladly settle for a podium spot. Rookie Tracy Giles earned his best result with an eighth place finish.
In the weekend's second National Masters race, Chris Willcox led all laps in a race that saw Roland Isra, Bud Risser, Peter Ponder-Pistor and Quentin Wahl battle for the 2-3 podium spots and valuable points. Isra and Risser would earn the podium steps but only narrowly as the margin between third and fifth was less than 1 second.
Norio Takeda recorded his second Skip Barber Race Series win, going two-for-two on the weekend, with a win in group 4 race 2. Bob Sayers, who started from sixth, couldn't get a run on Takeda to challenge for the lead and would have to settle for second place. The ever-improving David Harris followed Sayers to the checkered flag. Takeda turned in the fastest lap of the weekend with a time of 1:16.645 sec, only 0.650 sec. off the track record. The only other race to break into the 1:16s was Roland Isra.
Next up for the Formula Dodge Eastern Regional Series is Lime Rock Park on July 20-21.
- Andrew Torres