SBRS: Western Regional Championship Laguna Seca report

Frisselle and Montinola Shine On West Coast Burt Frisselle scored two wins and Robbie Montinola celebrated his first as the Formula Dodge Western Regional Championship took to the historically significant Laguna Seca circuit. The two ...

Frisselle and Montinola Shine On West Coast

Burt Frisselle scored two wins and Robbie Montinola celebrated his first as the Formula Dodge Western Regional Championship took to the historically significant Laguna Seca circuit. The two National Championship regulars were among several on hand to get an early peek at the Monterey track, prior to action later this month. Newly crowned Eastern Regional champion Ernesto Viso and Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner A.J. Allmendinger were part of the charm each securing a pair of wins on the 2.25-mile track.

John Knudsen started from pole in group 1 race 1 and held the point for over half the race before Ernesto Viso over took him on lap 9. Justin Blower briefly took the lead on lap 15 before Viso and John Knudsen re-passed him. With one lap to go, Knudsen started to pass Viso at the top of the corskscrew. Blower, attempting to follow, touched Knudsen’s car causing him to drop out of contention. Both cars collected a 20-second penalty. Fifth place starter Tom Atherton improved two positions to round out the rostrum. Richard Allen Smith secured most progressive driver distinction for his spirited ride from 11th to seventh. Smith also claimed the Masters win in the group.

In group 2 race 1, A.J. Allmendinger showed why he is a contender for the National Championship crown. The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner overcame 13th place start position to challenge then-leader Tim Rose with five laps remaining. The race was stopped due to oil on the track and multiple spins. Rose led the first eight laps, holding off the former karting champion. Allmendinger was eventually able to slip by on lap 11 en route to the checkered flag. Rose and Chris Ortenburger followed with second and third place results. John Adams collected the Masters win with his eighth place overall result.

Burt Frisselle led the final 10 laps of the 18-lap contest to take the win in group 3 race 1 over John Mefford and Robbie Montinola. Mefford led early in this one, only to be passed by Frisselle on lap 8, relegated to second thereafter. Montinola, who tripped the fastest lap of the group with a time of 1:40.148 sec., leaped an incredible eight positions to finish with his podium finish. Jose Guzman earned a fourth place result, good for the Masters class win over Dennis Rock.

In the day’s last race, polesitter John Knudson maintained the point for the duration of 17 laps en route to victory over Robbie Montinola. Montinola, racing consecutively, improved upon his result to finish in second place. Sixth place starter Brandon Weaver advanced three positions over Jared Wilcox and Nick Jones to finish in third. In addition to Montinola’s second podium, the Califonian also tripped his second fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:39.430 sec.

Viso started the new day’s racing as he had before, with a victory. This time the Venezuelan started from pole and led all 17 laps, motoring to a 2-second margin win over Justin Blower. The pair were joined on the podium by third place finisher John Knudsen. David Jellison was best among the Masters, comfortably eclipsing Curt Berg for the class win in the 41-plus category.

A.J. Allmendinger had a less challenging taking the checkered flat in group 2 race 2. By virtue of his win from 13th the previous day, the Californian started from pole and successfully defended his position and them some, motoring to a 26-second margin victory. Showing strong form and consistently fast laps, Allmendinger set a new track standard with a time of 1:38.639 sec. Tim Rose and Justin Clayton followed in second and third respectively. Jo Jo Sanders turned in a notable drive, advancing to sixth from tenth at the start.

Burt Frisselle captured his second win in as many tries in group 3 race 2. John Mefford led initially as he had the day before, only to re-experience a pass by the Frisselle midway through the contest. Masters racer Jose Guzman was able to pick off a spot to land a spot on the podium, in third. Robbie Montinola, logging extensive seat time in preparation for the upcoming National Championship rounds, suffered a miscue early but rebounded to finish in the top-4.

In group 4 race 2, Montinola was rewarded for the fruits of his labor. Racing his fourth contest of the weekend, the National Championship racer benefited from a penalty levied to then-leader John Knudsen, after a backmarker caused him to swerve off the track. Montinola went on to collect his first ever Skip Barber Race Series win. The upstart racer drove extremely well, outpacing second place finisher Al Unser by 4-plus seconds at the final flag. Brandon Weaver earned the final podium spot with this third place finish.

The weekend finale featured Mikel Miller, claiming a narrow win in the Memorial over John Mefford and Jose Guzman.

-Barber-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers A.J. Allmendinger , Burt Frisselle , Skip Barber , John Mefford , John Knudsen , Nick Jones , Mikel Miller , Tom Atherton , Al Unser , Ernesto Viso , Robbie Montinola