WATKINS GLEN, NY, AUGUST 26. Six races were featured in the North American Ferrari Challenge, held this weekend at the historic 3.37 mile Watkins Glen road course. One Champion was crowned, and Lucio Nicolodi took two steps closer to his dream of...
WATKINS GLEN, NY, AUGUST 26. Six races were featured in the North American Ferrari Challenge, held this weekend at the historic 3.37 mile Watkins Glen road course. One Champion was crowned, and Lucio Nicolodi took two steps closer to his dream of a 2001 title.
The first race of the Challenge event was for 355s. Forest Barber (Ferrari of Dallas) took his first win of the season, over points leader Phillip Shearer (Ferrari of Long Island). Barber's Ferrari of Dallas teammate Phillip Bennett was third in the 30 minute race.
Kevin Crowder (Ferrari of Houston) won the first of two Group B races, combining 355s and 360s. Crowder was first in the 360 class, with Scottsdale Ferrari teammates Dan Kennedy and Eddy Aslanian ranked second and third among the 360s. Phillip Shearer was second overall and first 355, ahead of Ken Rice (Ferrari of Dallas) and Phil Bennett.
Crowder, Kennedy and Aslanian were moved up to the faster Group A for the second race. Michael Ciasulli (Ferrari of Central Florida) started near the back of the grid in the second Group B race, but it took him only one lap to take the lead, Ciasulli was never challenged, and finished four seconds ahead of Shearer, who again was second overall and the 355 winner, extending his championship lead. Louis Scafuri (Ferrari of Long Island) and Ron Adams (Scottsdale Ferrari) took second and third in the 360 class; Ken Rice and Phil Bennett were the second and third 355s.
Lucio Nicolodi (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) qualified on pole, led every lap of both Group A races for the faster 360s, and took wins on both Saturday and Sunday to extend his lead for the 360 Challenge championship. Lew Bakes (Ferrari of Washington), second to Nicolodi in the standings, was second on the track in the Saturday race, just ahead of Stephen Richards (Ferrari of Long Island) who finished third. During the Sunday race both Bakes and Richards ran second to Nicolodi at some point, but an incident eliminated Richards, and Bakes spun on the last lap. Ferrari of Washington drivers Allie Ash and J.D. Williamson II took the second and third place trophies. (This was Williamson's first podium in the Challenge. For Ash, an experienced Challenge driver, this was the first of three podium awards he would win on Sunday.)
Glenn Boros (Ferrari of Washington) won the Endurance Challenge race, his third win of the year. Ash finished second, and Kevin Crowder drove a strategic race to third place, providing sufficient points to be named the Endurance Challenge Champion for the 2001 season. Ken Rice and Boros finished second and third in the championship.
The Watkins Glen weekend was the last event of the 2001 Challenge Championship to run in North America. Selected 360s from the Ferrari Challenge will race at Indianapolis just prior to the United States Grand Prix in September. a special race which does not count toward the Championship. The final race of the 2001 North American Challenge season will take place at the World Finals in October, at the Monza track in Italy.