New driver Sean Patrick Murphy scored his first two wins in Formula Dodge Regional Championship competition at Homestead last weekend, taking the spotlight momentarily from Gerardo Bonilla, who gallantly won three of four races down in Florida. Rookie Scott Poirier is making a charge for the lead in the overall standings. He now trails the pace, Craig Duerson, by nine points. Jay Fuchs sits alone atop the Masters leader board with a 20-point margin between him and his closest challenger in the 40-plus category.
In group 1 race 1, it was Gerardo Bonilla who won handily from pole ahead of Ben Moore III in second and Ron Attapatu in third. Attapatu also claimed the Masters class best result. Bonilla registered a fastest lap time of 1:38.323 sec. en route to his win. Because of rain, this race began with a four-lap warm-up followed by a 14-lap race. The balance of races on the weekend were based on a two-lap warm-up and 16-lap race format.
In the day's second race, polesitter Scott Poirier was forced to reclaim the lead from Bonilla and then hold him off for the win. The two engaged in a fierce battle that wasn't settled until the very end. Don Deese took third place and was the most progressive driver of the bunch, having started last in the pack.
In group 3 race 1, Sean Patrick Murphy won his first race in the Skip Barber Race Series from the second position. He set a fast lap time of the race of 1:38.662 sec. Ben Moore III followed in second by a margin of three seconds back. Rick Gilhart, who started in third, held off suitors to finish with the last podium spot. New driver Jim Butler was swift in competition, charging from eighth at the start to finish in the top-5.
The aptly named Baywatch Memorial was the closeout event of the day. Scott Poirier, Don Deese and Jeffrey Hersh were the 1-2-3 finishers in an extremely tight contest.
Day two of Skip Barber Race Series action and the weather was awesome. Gerardo Bonilla won from pole and set another fastest lap with a time of 1:38.332 sec. He was followed by Ben Moore III who, perhaps grudgingly, had to settle for second again. Davis Libby, a sixth spot starter, took third to claim his first podium finish in the Race Series and maximum Masters points.
In group 2 race 2, Bonilla was the victor again, this time from P-2 at the start. He had to scrap with polesitter Scott Poirier to notch his third win of the weekend. Don Deese put in a superb effort to finish second. Poirier, who was forced to pit late after a miscue put him off-track, would follow in third. Jay Fuchs was best among the Masters with his fifth place finish.
In group 3 race 2, Sean Patrick Murphy won again, this time from pole. Ben Moore III and Rick Gilhart followed him in the same order as on the previous day. Moore led 13 laps of this contest before an off-track excursion resulted in a forced pit for his car. All the more impressive though that he still finished comfortably and found himself on the podium.
In the No-Name Memorial, Scott Poirier took the win, from 11th, ahead of Ben Moore III and Don Deese. The popular Paulo Lima took fourth in this race.
Next up for the Formula Dodge Southern Regional Championship, it's on to majestic Daytona on March 31- April 1.
- Andrew Torres