Schmidt Sweeps At Willow Springs.
Richard Schmidt has come out of the gate strong in the Formula Dodge Western Regional Championship, taking two wins at the opening round of competition at Laguna Seca Raceway, and was looking for more this past weekend at Willow Springs for the second weekend of the championship. Some other racers, though, were looking to break his win streak, most notably Brian Frisselle, who had a win himself at Laguna Seca. The two would both show fantastic form during the Willow Springs weekend, with the two leading every lap of competition, and Schmidt keeping his perfect streak alive.
Brian Frisselle secured his first pole position ever in the Formula Dodge Western Regional Championship under wet and challenging conditions at Willow Springs in qualifying for the first race. The young driver from Hawaii was poised to defend the position and led the field over the first half of race one before Richard Schmidt, who qualified second, passed Frisselle for the lead on lap seven. Frisselle did not give it up easily, though, as he challenged Schmidt again, retaking the lead once again before Schmidt made it final, leading to the checkered flag and taking the fastest lap of the race on the way with a 1:30.782 second trip around the nine-turn, 2.5-mile road course. Nick Jones rounded out the podium in third while Yoshihira Murata charged from the 18th starting position to finish fourth and take most progressive driver honors. In the Masters class, Dave House took the honors for the first race over Steve Sylvester.
Day two race action saw Schmidt lead the pack to the green from the lead. Again, Frisselle was chomping at the bit for the lead after starting in second spot and passed Schmidt for the lead heading into the first corner. Schmidt retook the point before the end of the first lap and held serve for seven laps before Friselle claimed the spot and held it for the next nine laps. A late-race yellow bunched the field and gave Schmidt another shot at Frisselle, but the upstart racer hung onto the lead on the restart but then pushed too hard heading into the long sweeping right-hand nine and found himself off course, and was forced to pit for car inspection. Schmidt motored off into the distance for his second win of the weekend. Frisselle finished a disappointing eighth, but was happy to have set a new track record at Willow Springs with a fast lap time of 1:27.847 sec. Steve Sylvester took the third position overall and also marked the Masters win as his own for the second race after moving up from his seventh starting position. Zeev Drori had the biggest ascension of the field, moving from 19th starting spot to finish in ninth and taking most progressive driver honors.
The final race of the weekend, the highly anticipated Enduro, saw four different teams in the lead during the 40-lap race. The Enduro format teams two drivers for an extended race that features mandatory stops for driver changes and refueling, and gave the teams a total of 40 laps. Burt Frisselle, who spent the first part of the weekend coaching his brother, teamed with Robbie Montinola for the win over Team Michael Miller/Brian Frisselle. Team Neiman/Pechnik finished third in the contest.