SBRS: Raphael Matos shifts into overdrive

Rookie Raphael Matos took control of the Formula Dodge Midwest Regional Championship by putting up perfect results in his two groups, yielding a bounty of 40 points to leave Indianapolis Raceway Park with a 28-point margin over Ben Freudenburg. In...

Rookie Raphael Matos took control of the Formula Dodge Midwest Regional Championship by putting up perfect results in his two groups, yielding a bounty of 40 points to leave Indianapolis Raceway Park with a 28-point margin over Ben Freudenburg. In only his first season of race series play, Matos has captured five of the six wins. Rookie and Telmex driver Luis Pelayo worked overtime to contest all three race groups, taking two wins in regional play and two podium results in National Championship rounds, which ran as group 2 [see www.formuladodge.com for results].

In group 1 race 1, Pelayo reminded the rest of the field exactly how he got pole position by holding off hard-charging Ben Freudenberg and Conrad Grunewald in dominating fashion to record the win. Pelayo also set a fastest lap time of 1:41.966 sec. in the process. Grunewald overtook Freudenberg for second place on the first lap, but it didn’t last long as Freudenberg responded with a pass on lap 2 to regain his second place position. For the remaining 14 laps the top three drivers held their positions yielding Pelayo a well-deserved win. Further down in the pack, Miguel Abaroa decided 15th place would not suffice and proceeded to claw his way through the field to an outstanding seventh place finish. In a lean Masters field, Michael Edwards scored the Masters victory over Paul Holeman.

Group 3 saw a continuation of the battle between Raphael Matos and Atticus Missner that pleased the crowd at Road America. Missner looked determined to claim victory as he overtook Matos on the first lap. However Matos, relentlessly filling Missner’s mirrors, finally made a pass on lap 8 to regain the lead. Matos set the fastest lap time of 1:41.978 sec. en-route to another victory. Jason Klein finished in third place after briefly dueling with Chris Prey. Brian Milligan, who started in 12th spot, campaigned a brilliant race and managed to gain eight places and ten championship points.

In group 1 race 2 Freudenberg got off to a blistering start, passing pole-sitter Pelayo and second place man Grunewald on the first lap. Two laps later, Grunewald made a pass on Freudenberg to recover his second place position. Pelayo reclaimed his number one spot when he passed Freudenberg on lap two and continued to pull away, setting a fastest lap time of 1:41.622 sec. Evan Connor diced up the field from his 14th place grid position to finish well within the top10-in eighth place. When the checkered flag waved, it was Pelayo who claimed the victory with a 2.364 sec. margin of victory.

In group 3, race 2, Matos again showed the rest of the grid the meaning of the word precision. Piloting his Formula Dodge R/T 2000, Matos pulled away nearly two seconds a lap over his nearest competitor, Kyle Lawrence, to record his second win in as many races. Lawrence, who overtook Brian Milligan on lap two, was simply unable to match the fearsome pace set by Matos and had to settle for a second place result. Milligan was able to stay close to Lawrence and build a gap back to Whitney Bellows and Rafe Baskin, who were engaged in a scrap for place for most of the contest. Martin Zimmerman was able to make the best out of his 10th place grid position by steadily moving through the field to his fifth place finish and the Masters prize.

The Formula Dodge Midwest Regional Championship moves to Road America for heated action on July 11-13.

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Michael Edwards , Atticus Missner , Luis Pelayo , Ben Freudenberg