Skerlong and Kligerman lift Formula TR Pro Series titles Round 17 - Saturday 16th September 2000 Class It was business as usual in the Formula TR 2000 class as Odyssey Motorsports' Carl Skerlong wrapped up what would be the first...
Skerlong and Kligerman lift Formula TR Pro Series titles
Round 17 - Saturday 16th September
It was business as usual in the Formula TR 2000 class as Odyssey Motorsports' Carl Skerlong wrapped up what would be the first of two wins at Buttonwillow to clinch his second straight championship following his success in last season's 1600 class.
The 17-year-old stand-out from Mukilteo, Washington was keen to ensure his unbeaten record at Buttonwillow remained intact and his performance in Round 17 underlined his determination to achieve this. Having captured pole on Saturday morning Skerlong simply pulled away from his 2.0-litre rivals as the 12-lap race unfolded on the 3.02-mile Buttonwillow track.
The only other race winner in the field, John Knudsen, with two wins to his credit this season, couldn't deny Skerlong his 13th victory of the year but he helped ensure he'd finish runner-up to his younger rival in the points standings with another solid drive to second place. CT Motorsport's Bret MacDonald, having qualified third, finished third for his sixth podium of the season.
Dino Bruno finished fourth in his self-run #33 entry ahead of series newcomer Jeremy Braun in fifth. Braun made his debut piloting the #77 Knudsen Racing car, as previously driven by race winner Dominic Scheer, and was encouraged by his first taste of Formula TR action. Paladin Motorsport's Paul Mashouf completed the top-six in what was ultimately an incident-free outing for everyone.
Round 17 - 2000 Class Results: 1st Skerlong, 2nd Knudsen, 3rd MacDonald, 4th Bruno, 5th Braun, 6th Mashouf
1st - Carl Skerlong: "I got bogged down a little at the start but got the lead back at the first turn and raced away from there. I really enjoy competing at Buttonwillow and the goal for the weekend was to try and remain unbeaten!"
2nd - John Knudsen: "It was a fairly quiet race for me, started second and ended up finishing second - again! It's a familiar story with Carl winning but he was super fast so I just focused on keeping Bret behind me in third."
3rd - Bret MacDonald: "It's always good to get a podium and I wasn't that far back from John when we took the checkered so all in all the performance today was pretty encouraging."
Paladin Motorsport's Parker Kligerman kicked off what would turn out to be a championship-winning weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway Park with his tenth win of the season in Round 17 at the 3.02-mile California circuit.
Having triumphed earlier in the season at Buttonwillow, Kligerman set to work on a repeat performance by banging out a hot lap of 1m51.065 to take pole in the Formula TR 1600 class on Saturday morning. A commanding race performance followed as the rookie racer streaked ahead of the pack at the start of the 12-lap sprint.
Left firmly in Kligerman's wake, Billy Goshen, Liam Kenney and Luis Martinez Jr. duked it out for the remaining podium spots in what proved to be a highly engaging demonstration of their race craft. While Kenney had ensured an all Paladin front-row, he dropped back to fourth at the start allowing Goshen up to second. With Martinez Jr. in the mix as well the battle raged throughout the race, the trio split by less than two seconds at the checkered.
Goshen trailed Kligerman by 10 seconds at the flag with Kenney a fighting third just two tenths of a second behind his rival. Martinez Jr. settled for fourth with Odyssey Motorsports' Tayler Malsam enjoying another solid outing in his rookie open-wheel season to complete the top-five runners.
Round 17 - 1600 Class Results: 1st Kligerman, 2nd Goshen, 3rd Kenney, 4th Martinez Jr., 5th Malsam, 6th Grisdale, 7th Lynch, 8th Smutny
1st - Parker Kligerman: "It was great to get another pole and to be honest when the flag dropped at the start of the race I didn't look back. The car ran well, J.C. my engineer got it so right with the set-up of the car for the race and I picked up fastest lap as well."
2nd - Billy Goshen: "I had a good qualifying run to third then got up to second pretty quickly in the race. I was battling away with Liam and Luis which was fun!"
3rd - Liam Kenney: "I didn't make a great start and ended up being shuffled back to fourth. I was fighting for position with Luis and Billy, passing Luis for third at Turn 3. I couldn't quite close the gap to Billy to pull off a move at the end."
Round 18 - Sunday 17th September
Carl capped his championship winning weekend by storming to a 10-second win over John Knudsen on Sunday afternoon in Round 18. Leading from pole, he enjoyed some close running with Knudsen over the early stages of the race before putting pedal to the metal to pull out a comfortable advantage to claim his 14th win of the season and seal the deal on the Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Championship.
Clinching the title with two races remaining, Skerlong's remarkable streak of 17 straight podium finishes underlines his dominance of the category and the consistency he's enjoyed in leading the points chase since the opening rounds in March. John Knudsen came home second again ahead of his new team- mate Jeremy Braun, the rookie racer thrilled to be on the podium.
Dino Bruno mirrored his Round 17 finish with fourth place while Paul Mashouf took fifth ahead of Bret MacDonald - the CT Motorsports racer competing despite a blown transmission in qualifying earlier in the day!
Round 18 - 2000 Class Results: 1st Skerlong, 2nd Knudsen, 3rd Braun, 4th Bruno, 5th Mashouf, 6th MacDonald
1st - Carl Skerlong: "Winning the title is just one more thing checked off the list, it's what we've been aiming at all season long. I couldn't ask for more than back-to-back championships in the Formula TR Pro Series and I'm really pleased for the whole team, they did a great job throughout the year!"
2nd - John Knudsen: "Again I just didn't have anything for Carl when it mattered; he did a great job and totally deserves to win the championship. We put on a good show for the crowd today but I had to settle for second."
3rd - Jeremy Braun: "I qualified fourth and passed Bret MacDonald for third on lap 3. From there it was pretty uneventful, I tried to reel in John and I was right behind him at the checkered so maybe if the race had been a couple of laps longer I could have made a move. It's exciting to be on the podium in my first race weekend."
Sunday's race saw Parker Kligerman wrap up his second straight victory and his first shut-out of the top step of the podium since Rounds 11 and 12 in Fontana back in July. In doing so Kligerman clinched the Formula TR Pro 1600 Class Championship - an impressive season-long performance rewarding the rookie with title-honors ahead of the season finale in Las Vegas next month.
It was Kligerman's team-mate, Liam Kenney, who claimed the early glory on Sunday, capturing pole position for the 12-lap race by a tenth of a second from the champion-elect. Buoyed by his qualifying performance, and the addition of Network Solutions as a new sponsor, Kenney enjoyed some lead laps on Sunday afternoon before a costly 360-degree spin effectively handed the win to Kligerman.
While Parker romped to his eleventh win, and subsequently the title, Kenney recovered to fight back up to second ahead of Billy Goshen in third - Goshen successfully maintaining his second place in the points standings heading to Las Vegas for the final two rounds.
Round 18 - 1600 Class Results: 1st Kligerman, 2nd Kenney, 3rd Goshen, 4th Martinez Jr., 5th Grisdale, 6th Lynch, 7th Smutny, 8th Malsam
1st - Parker Kligerman: "I'm really ecstatic to win my first championship and to do it with back-to-back wins was really just the icing on the cake. We had some problems in qualifying and lost out to Liam for the pole. I got by when he went off in the race and pulled away from everyone else to take the win and the title!"
2nd - Liam Kenney: "It was great to qualify on pole for the second time in my career! I was very happy with that and for my new sponsor Network Solutions. I opened up a pretty big lead before I got it sideways in the dirt at one point letting Parker get by. I fought back from fourth to get second at the end, setting fastest lap which was pretty pleasing!"
3rd - Billy Goshen: "I didn't get a great start from third! I ran fourth for most of the race, got up to third at one point, dropped back but with two to go got third again and held it to the end! A win would have been good this weekend but I'll take the podiums."
The Formula TR Pro Series now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Rounds 19* and 20*, the season finale, 14th-15th October 2006.
Formula TR 2000 Points Standings after Round 18:
1st Carl Skerlong - CHAMPION (873), 2nd John Knudsen (739), 3rd Bret MacDonald (571), 4th Dominic Scheer (438), 5th Paul Mashouf (398), 6th Dustin Welch (309), 7th Bob Siska (292), 8th Dino Bruno (226), 9th Derek DeBoer (196), 10th Adam Davis (124), 11th Braun (90)
Formula TR 1600 Points Standings after Round 18:
1st Parker Kligerman - CHAMPION (782), 2nd Billy Goshen (702), 3rd Luis Martinez Jr. (657), 4th Liam Kenney (620), 5th Tayler Malsam (452), 6th Alexander Rossi (409), 7th Kerry Lynch 392), 8th Kerstin Smutny (339), 9th Cam Grisdale (316), 10th Tony Welch (98), 11th George Latus (64)
* Regular scoring will resume for the two Las Vegas rounds with 32 points awarded for 1st, 28 for 2nd, 25 for 3rd etc - as at the start of the season.