Imrie launches season with top-five finish. March 17, 2003 (Toronto, Ontario): Race driver Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has returned to the "Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer" for a second season and opened his 2003 ...
Imrie launches season with top-five finish.
March 17, 2003 (Toronto, Ontario): Race driver Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has returned to the "Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer" for a second season and opened his 2003 campaign with a fifth-place finish. The season-opening race, part of the Twelve Hours of Sebring event, was held yesterday on the 5.96km long road course at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.
Imrie, who turned twenty in December, reported he had an up-and-down weekend culminating with a wild and exciting race on Sunday afternoon. In the first qualifying session on Thursday, Imrie posted the third-fastest lap in a backup car after electing to park his lumbering primary machine. He was confident he could do even better in the final qualifying session on Saturday, but was unable to put in a good flying lap and wound up tenth on the starting grid for Sunday's race.
When the green flag waved to start the race, Imrie immediately improved his position with a daring outside manoeuvre at turn one. While the leader began to open a gap, a seven-car battle developed behind and Imrie was right in the thick of it.
"The race was wild," he said. "We were fighting at pretty much every corner."
Having fought his way to third, Imrie began to pull away from his pursuers, but his advantage was lost when the field regrouped under a full-course caution. The raucous action resumed when the race restarted and Imrie found himself pushed off the track and falling back to eighth.
When another caution was signalled late in the race, Imrie was still eighth. The race restarted in time for one thrilling final lap. Imrie took seventh place, then tried, and failed, to pass two cars in one corner. Undeterred, he managed to make the double pass and claim fifth as they thundered down the backstretch for the last time.
"I had a lot of fun," said Imrie. "I was a little disappointed with my result, but I'm happy to be back behind the wheel and racing again. It was really neat racing with the Le Mans cars with over 80,000 people watching throughout the weekend.
"I would like to thank Imrie Demolition, Imrie Racing, Skip Barber Racing, and all the mechanics and instructors that make this series possible."
The next event on the Formula Dodge National Championship is scheduled for April 25-27 at Virginia International Raceway.