Chip Bryant and Akihira Okamoto turned in identical results this weekend, each scoring a victory and a second place finish in Formula Dodge Eastern Regional action from Watkins Glen, New York. The two championship rivals were separated by 11...
Chip Bryant and Akihira Okamoto turned in identical results this weekend, each scoring a victory and a second place finish in Formula Dodge Eastern Regional action from Watkins Glen, New York. The two championship rivals were separated by 11 points entering the Glen. They leave town the same way after taking 35 of a possible 40 points to keep the race for the title interesting.
Racing under damp and dreary conditions, Don Drislane started off the weekend with a win in Group 1, Race 1. Drislane held off Todd Russo and John Stickler for the win. Russo and Stickler went on to finish in second and third place. Stickler ran a strong race, advancing from 13th at the start and making late moves to claim the podium spot. Russo’s strong weekend elevates him to seventh place in the overall points as well as allowing him to remain in second place in the Master’s [over-40] points category.
Mikel Miller, coming off a dominant four-victory weekend at Mid-Ohio, battled Bryant for the win in Group 2, Race 1. Bryant, who turned in the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:11.999 sec., came home in second; Dan Kraus in third.
In Group 3, Race 1, Damian Della-Santina outlasted a hard-charging Akihira Okamoto, for the win. Della-Santina, who started from pole, ran the best lap of the session on his way to the first of his two podium spots. Della-Santina’s win overshadows an exceptional race by Okamoto, who placed second after starting from the 11th spot. Toshinobu Shigemitsu followed Okamoto to take third place.
David Kaemmer was quickest in Group 4, Race 1. His fast lap of 2:13.478 sec. was best in the group and reflected slower lap times due to a slicker and trickier track surface. Gareth Nixon and Roland Isra trailed Kaemmer to the checkered flag, finishing second and third, respectively. Isra earns additional points for best finish among the Master’s class.
In the last race event, Todd Russo would claim his first victory of the day in front of Len Forman and Mikel Miller. Dana Martin was the most progressive driver, finishing fifth after starting from ninth.
In Group 1, Race 2, Drislane would start things off as he did the previous day, with a win his first time out. Rain pelted the 3.37 mile road course and accounted for much slower track times. Steven Klein and David Kaemmer followed Drislane to the wire, finishing in second and third. Matthew Koskinen earns a notable mention for locking up the fourth spot after starting from 11th in the field.
Chip Bryant garnered his first victory of the weekend in Group 2, Race 2, besting pole sitter Mikel Miller by 0.403 sec. to the flag. Miller would go on to finish second with Dan Kraus securing the last rostrum spot in third.
Group 3, Race 2, saw Okamoto and Della Santina scrap again with Okamoto taking this win this time around. Toshinobu Shigemitsu jumped the lead spot from Della Santina and held the point early before passed by Della Santina and Okamoto. Shigemitsu would go on to place third. The racing was extremely tight and competitive, as the 0.23 sec. margin of victory suggests.
Garteth Nixon continued his steady improvement as he took his first victory of the season in Group 4, Race 2. Nixon started from the second spot and took the lead for good on lap 8 from David Kaemmer. Roland Isra finished second and scored maximum points in Master’s competition. Paul Zube rounded out the top-3 with a third place result.
In the weekend’s final race, Group 5, Race 2, Mikel Miller advanced from the third spot to take his second win of the weekend, ahead of Todd Russo and Len Forman. Tim Traver turned in a text-book performance, advancing from 10th at the start to finish fourth.
- Andrew Torres