Piquet takes two in sebring .
The Formula Dodge Southern regional Championship got underway last weekend at the 3.75-mile full course layout of Sebring International Raceway. The racers were treated to sunny conditions all weekend, the first of seven weekends in the Southern Championship season.
The first race of the weekend saw Cristiano Piquet lead the field to the green flag from the pole on his way to a flag-to-flag win over second-place starter Ben Freudenberg. Piquet was never headed from the lead and set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:26.365 sec., taking the win by three seconds. Todd Hirshfeld started from the eleventh position on his way to earning most progressive driver kudos for finishing in sixth. Ron Hayter did his best to keep it from being easy for Hirshfield, though, as the two swapped positions for several laps before the checker flew. David Libby took the over forty Masters Class win.
In the first race for the second Race Series group, Ben Freudenberg took the victory and fastest lap over Louis Dibrell and Joe D'Agostino. This race was the most exciting race of the day as Freudenberg motored off into the distance, bringing Louis along in his draft and leaving the rest of the field to fight over third spot. A mammoth five-car battle ensued. Zolton Bodor, who started back in eleventh on his way to fourth, was involved in the scrap for fourth along with Randy Allison , who had mechanical issues which took him out of the running in the battle for fourth. Fernando Caplanca took his name out of the running for the fourth spot when he spun in the tight hairpin corner with just two laps remaining. Larry Revier, who started in third, spun with just one lap to go, taking himself out of the running from third position, which he had held for the entire race. Bodor went off course to avoid the spinning car of Revier, but did not pit for inspection so was moved from his third on the track finish to fourth via a 15-second penalty, giving young Joe D'Agostino a podium in his first Southern Series race. Louis Dibrell took the over-forty Masters Class win over Revier.
The second day of racing saw Cristiano Piquet growing his trophy collection with a second flawless run of the weekend for the win with a three-second margin over Chris Fowler, who earned two podium finishes on the weekend. Piquet again set the fastest lap of the race. Sarah Wahl moved from the ninth starting position to fifth to earn most progressive driver. Ahead of her were David Libby and Steve Ablondi, who disputed third position throughout the race, with Libby taking it in the later stages of the race for good. Todd Hirshfield's battle with Chad Reedy for fifth ended after he spun in the long turn-17 on the penultimate lap. David Libby carded his second Masters win of the weekend as well.
In the group three rematch, Zolton Bodor started third, problems early in the race which forced him to charge through the field, setting the fastest lap of the race on his way to a seventh place finish. Louis Dibrell and Joe D'Agostino held on to the first two positions the entire race with Dibrell taking the race win by three seconds. Larry Revier and Jeff Relic had another huge battle for third, as the two finished within a second of one another, swapping honors for third position during the entire race, with Jeff Relic getting by Revier at the midway point of the race only to have Revier retake the spot on the last lap. Fernando Capablanca and Joseph Green had car contact, ending the race for both drivers. In the Masters Class, Louis Dibrell took his second win of the weekend.
The Jam Master Jay Memorial generated huge interest, with drivers from the regional race and Skip Barber Challenge taking part. Racing legend Raul Boesel jumped in a car to finish third behind Gerardo Bonilla, who started an astounding 17th, while Craig Duerson held on to his second starting spot to the checkered flag.
The Formula Dodge Southern regional Championship will resume again at the famed Daytona International Speedway on the weekend of November 15-17 and will feature the Masters Class season finale and banquet.