Meredith Finishes Third in First FSCCA Race Wednesday Afternoon at Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 17 - The luck of the Irish must have been riding with Chris Meredith of Potomac, Md. Wednesday afternoon at Sebring International Raceway, as he...
Meredith Finishes Third in First FSCCA Race Wednesday Afternoon at Sebring
SEBRING, Fla., March 17 - The luck of the Irish must have been riding with Chris Meredith of Potomac, Md. Wednesday afternoon at Sebring International Raceway, as he worked his way up from the rear of the field to finish third in the Cooper Tires Formula SCCA race on Saint Patrick's Day, the first of two FSCCA races to be held here this weekend.
Only Elivan Goulart of Huntington, Conn. and David Jurca of Federal, Wash. were ahead of Meredith's bright yellow Andersen Walko Racing #79 at the end of the 25-minute, nine-lap, 33.3-mile race on the 3.7-mile road course, a support event to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Meredith spun out to avoid a three-car crash that eliminated Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill., one of his AWR teammates, on lap four. That put Meredith at the rear of the field, but he methodically worked his way back up in the standings until he was fourth with two laps to go.
With a podium position in sight he got around Desiderio Sartelli of West Palm Beach, Fla. on the white-flag lap to post the best results of the day for the team, which is based in Fairfield, N.J. and North Versailles, Pa.
"I moved up two positions before the yellow, but I spun in the same accident that brought out the yellow," said the 16-year-old, who qualified 11th, after the race. "I think there were three cars in that accident. I just spun out after they crashed; nothing got hurt on my car.
"After the restart I worked really hard, trying to pick off cars where I could," he continued. "Then, with only two laps left, I saw that I could maybe get third, so I tried even harder. I think I got him going into turn one, but I'm not sure about that."
The podium finish was even more amazing when one considers that only three cars started further back than Meredith did. His qualifying run with hampered by problems with his car's electronic control unit (ECU).
"Our team did a great job; they never gave up," Meredith said. "They did a great job to get it to run right for the race. It didn't cut out at all."
The other two AWR entries were involved in accidents and didn't finish. Klein ended up 12th while Danny Abbale of Northport, N.Y. was 14th.
The driver that Klein had an altercation with, Goulart, ended up winning the race.
"I was in front of him at the corner," Klein explained. "He pushed me over; I ran out of pavement, and then he hit me and I hit the tire barrier."
The polesitter, Franklin Futrelle of Augusta, Ga., was involved in that incident too. He made one more lap before he dropped out.
"It was really frustrating," said Klein, who was the fastest FSCCA competitor during pre-race testing here. "My car was good; it was definitely good enough to win today."
Abbale's story was also sad, as he went out even earlier. He qualified the best of the three, fifth in class, but he got hit at both ends on lap one and his race came to an end before it really got started.
"The #22 [Enzo Potolicchio] hit me in the left-rear tire in turn nine on the first lap, and then somebody else hit my front nose when I spun around, but I don't know who that was," Abbale related.
"It definitely wasn't the results we wanted today," he added.
The AWR mechanics are already hard at work to make repairs, and the young trio doesn't have long to wait before they race again tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
Meredith's car is supported by MII Security Consultants. Klein's primary sponsors are Nexus Distribution, Ronclad Performance Wear and Midwest Steel & Services. Abbale is still searching for a primary sponsor.
The two Formula Ford 2000 Zetec races that are also part of the show will be held at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow and 5:30 p.m. Friday. Adam Pecorari and brothers Andrew and Doug Prendeville will represent AWR in those events.
For more information, contact team co-owner Dan Andersen at (973) 244-1900 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and see the team's Web site at www.andersenwalko.com.