Bodor and D'Agostino double in Sebring.
The penultimate round of the Skip Barber Southern Race Series took place last weekend on the exciting full-course layout at historic Sebring International Raceway. With fellow Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer competitors Joe D'Agostino and Zolton Bodor locked in a tight points battle, the stage was set for a big weekend of racing. The weather played a factor in the races as well, as the sunny skies of Florida were nowhere to be seen, forcing the field to race under damp conditions during the entire weekend and even creating some exciting wet-racing opportunities.
In the first race of the weekend, Zoltan Bodor took the point from the pole position, but John Peterson, John Pew, and Bryce Miller followed closely. Laura Rowe went off course on the fist lap in turn seven, leaving her to fight her way back to the front after having qualified sixth. David Harris also suffered a spin, at the track out point of turn sixteen, but was able to recover quickly and rejoin the pack. Up in front, Bodor was taking command of the race, but the battle for second remained close, as John Pew muscled his way by Peterson in turn two on the third lap. Bodor crossed the finish line in first, with Pew and Peterson coming across the stripe just seconds behind. Pew took the Masters win with his second overall spot, and Jameson Riley scored most progressive driver accolades with his upward mobility.
The track still had not dried in time for the second race of the day, which David Libby lead the field to the green from pole. Joe D'Agostino made a fine start to move himself up to first by the end of the first lap. Behind D'Agostino, John Peterson and David Libby disputed second spot, with Peterson holding the upper hand. Sonny Martorana, who started from the forth spot, kept himself busy on the long Sebring course trying to find an opportunity to get by Libby, as Libby worked on finding a way by Peterson. Further back, Michael Yager, who had started in eighth, found himself off course at the exit of the fast turn one as he lost all traction in a puddle, forcing him back in the field. The battle for fourth got heated in the closing moments of the race, with Jeff Relic getting the best of Martorana in the closing laps after he went off-course at turn thirteen. D'Agostino cruised to the win well ahead of Peterson and Libby, with Peterson scoring the Masters win and John Mayes taking Most Progressive Driver honors.
The second race of the weekend for group one started with damp conditions again providing an extra challenge to the field. Zoltan Bodor took the point with John Peterson initially trying to find a way by. Bryce Miller ran third, while Harris followed in fourth, and made a run on the outside of turn one but could not make it stick. John Pew, who had started the race in second, was trying to find a way by David Harris, but found himself off-course at turn five, dropping him down the order. The lead foursome were in close contact, with a gap back to a big battle for seventh position. Things were getting interesting up front, as Bryce Miller made an inside move on Bodor in turn one to take the lead. Bodor got back by Miller, but Miller kept his foot in it, and was leading again on the last lap before the two made a sprint for the strip, where Bodor edged Miller by a scant .036 of a second for the win. John Peterson came home third from his third starting position, and again collected some serious Masters points. Bryce Miller won Most Progressive Driver honors despite not taking the race, something he would have no doubt preferred to have done.
The last race group of the weekend was no luckier than the first as far as track conditions went, as the field took the green with damp track underneath and threatening skies above. Joe D'Agostino repeated his first-race moves and stepped out to the front right at the start of the race. John Peterson followed D'Agostino, while behind him, the battle for third got underway early as Jeff Relic and David Libby were in close contact. D'Agostino held the point in the closing stages of the race, with Relic and Libby in second and third, respectively. The damp conditions, though, changed quickly to wet ones, as the skies opened up. David Libby was the first to find this out, as he spun in turn thirteen, allowing Peterson to get by. Peterson in turn, spun as well in sixteen, but kept all four wheels on, and got back into gear to hold down fourth, behind winner D'Agostino, second place finisher Jeff Relic, and final podium finisher David Libby, who also netted the Masters win as well.
The season finale race for the Southern Series will take place on the big banks of Daytona on the weekend of April 12th. Bodor and D'Agostino are still close in the points championship while John Pew has a hold on the Masters honors, and anything can happen at this famed track. The weekend will feature a chicane-less layout, allowing the racers to work on their drafting skills and experience some of the highest speeds of the season.