Justin Blower withstood the pressure of Burt Frisselle and Robbie Montinola to leave Phoenix International Raceway with a slim lead in the Formula Dodge Western Regional Championship. The Californian scored 35 of a possible 40 points in Rounds 5 and 6 to maintain his five-point margin over Frisselle.
Uncharacteristic cold weather settled in at PIR for the first day of racing. Polesitter Robbie Montinola started off group 1 race 1 and led all 24 laps to take the win over Justin Blower and Justin Clayton. Montinola, who just completed his first season in the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER, was impressively fleet, tripping a fastest lap time of 1:07.024 sec., en route to his 10-second margin victory. Jared Wilcox earned a most progressive driver citation by advancing from 14th to finish in the top-5.
Series frontrunner Burt Frisselle captured victory from pole in group 2 race 1, edging out John Knudsen narrowly at the final wire. Frisselle, also fresh from his National Championship season, led all 26 laps but was pressed hard by Knudsen. Ben Freudenburg followed Knudsen home to round out the podium in third place. Masters racer Joe Spencer leapt five positions, from 14th, to finish with a ninth place result.
In the day’s last race, karting ace Colin Fleming won a hard-fought battle over Al Unser to capture his maiden win. Relative newcomer Victor Quieroz, representing his host country of Brazil, took third place honors. Jon Pruskowski claimed the Masters win with his seventh place overall result.
Justin Blower tilted the tables when he avenged his previous day’s loss at the hands of Robbie Montinola. Montinola led most of the race but spun on turn-3, allowing Blower to reclaim the lead on lap 20. Michael Vukelich and Tim Traver battled for the final rostrum spot, with Vukelich eventually taking the postion. Masters points leader Richard Allen Smith claimed the Masters win over Al O’Connor and Tom Brady.
The group 2 rematch featured even more retribution. This time with John Knudsen getting the best of polesitter Burt Frisselle. Sixth place starter Matt Jaskol picked up three spots to finish on the podium.
The best was saved for last in the weekend finale. Tim Rose steadily ascended from an eighth place start, wrestled the point from a gritty John Mefford on lap 13, then held the lead for the balance 14 laps. Fastest lap setter Tim Traver and Mefford joined Rose on the podium in second and third place. Victor Quieroz and race leader Al Unser touched early in the contest which forced both to pit. Quieroz stayed out until Colin Fleming hit him and ended his race. Fleming endured a lengthy pit stop to repair bodywork but resumed the race to finish in sixth.