Skerlong and Kligerman rule at Fontana 2000 Class Series leader Carl Skerlong claimed his ninth win of the season with his victory over John Knudsen in Round 11 at the California Speedway. While Knudsen captured pole for the Formula...
Skerlong and Kligerman rule at Fontana
Series leader Carl Skerlong claimed his ninth win of the season with his victory over John Knudsen in Round 11 at the California Speedway. While Knudsen captured pole for the Formula TR 2000 race thanks to a hot lap of 1m39.256s round the road-course configuration, Skerlong's #14 Odyssey Motorsports entry once again led the pack home to the checkered flag.
Skerlong, who heading into the weekend remained unbeaten in Fontana, only had to battle the California sun as he raced his way to a relatively easy victory. Knudsen, yet to stand on the top step of the podium despite being an ever-present force in the top-three, had to settle for second place but called out officials for hurting his chances of a run at Skerlong with a questionable flag display.
Series returnee, Dino Bruno, capped his return to action with the third and final podium spot, climbing the championship standings with all races run to double-points through to the end of the season. Paul Mashouf brought the #00 Paladin Motorsports entry home in fourth place to claim his best finish of the season ahead of Bob Siska in fifth. Earlier in the day Siska had put on a fine display in qualifying to set the third fastest lap for a second-row starting slot but subsequent car problems following would mean he sat out Round 12 later in the day.
Bret MacDonald racked up an unwelcome DNF in the #18 CT Motorsport car completing just two laps before being forced to retire from proceedings.
Round 11 - 2000 Class Results: 1st Skerlong, 2nd Knudsen, 3rd Bruno, 4th Mashouf, 5th Siska, 6th Bret MacDonald - DNF
1st - Carl Skerlong: "I'm pleased to take the win and my fastest lap secured pole for the second race which always helps. It was hot out there so I'm glad I had a trouble-free run to the checkered and didn't have to contend with fighting for position as well as the heat."
2nd - John Knudsen: "I thought we had some bad flagging from the officials which ruined my race. I lifted off the gas for double-yellows which were then withdrawn but of course by that point Carl had driven away from me, the show was over!"
3rd - Dino Bruno: "It's good to be back racing again and to get a podium first time out today makes it even better. I was pretty comfortable throughout the race and was delighted to take the checkered in third place."
Title-aspirant Parker Kligerman was made to work for his first victory since Round 8 following a determined display of driving from Luis Martinez Jr. in the #5 Kimball Williams Racing entry in
Fontana. Martinez Jr. showed his intent early by capturing his first pole position of the season on the 2.8-mile road course at the California Speedway.
The two chargers battled hard throughout the 15-lap race, their on-track endeavors putting them in a class of their own as they left the rest of the field trailing in their wake. Theirs wasn't the only battle to impress onlookers as Billy Goshen fought back from a lowly qualifying position to tussle with Liam Kenney and Tayler Malsam. Goshen came out on top and captured the final podium position behind Kligerman and Martinez Jr. having missed out on a top-three finish in Nevada last time out.
Liam Kenney bounced back from the disappointment of the previous round where mechanical woes halted his title-challenge behind team-mate Kligerman. The 15-year-old just missed out on the podium but out-raced Tayler Malsam for fourth. Behind them solid efforts from CT Motorsports' Kerstin Smutny and Knudsen Racing's Kerry Lynch saw them add to their championship points tally with Cameron Grisdale the last of the runners at the flag.
Alexander Rossi suffered the biggest disappointment of the day recording a DNF courtesy of a pick-up point pulling out of the gear box on his #16 Odyssey Motorsports entry. Rossi, a dominant force in the previous two races in Nevada, where he scored back-to-back wins, took consolation from setting the fourth fastest lap in his two flying runs before retirement to snatch a second row start for Round 12 with the grid based on lap times from the first race.
Round 11- 1600 Class Results: 1st Kligerman, 2nd Martinez Jr., 3rd Goshen, 4th Kenney, 5th Malsam, 6th Smutny, 7th Lynch, 8th Grisdale, 9th Rossi - DNF
1st - Parker Kligerman: "It was fun out there, I had a real fight with Luis for the win. We broke away from the field by drafting and fought it out from there until the last couple of laps when I pulled away."
2nd - Luis Martinez Jr.: "I started on pole and had a pretty good shot but Parker got by me on the first lap. From there we fought it out as we pulled away from the rest of the pack. My car fell away in the last quarter which allowed Parker to clear off and take the win."
3rd - Billy Goshen: "I didn't qualifying very well, starting down in sixth. I had a good battle with Tayler and Liam and I managed to get by both of them to move-up to third. Tayler came close towards the end but he spun which allowed me to take the podium."
Round 12 - Sunday 16th July
Round 12 proved to be a relatively easy affair for Carl Skerlong as he held on to his unbeaten record at the California Speedway following his triumphs at Fontana last season, on his way to the Formula TR 1600 Championship, and in this season's double-header opener back in March. The 17-year-old collected win number two for the day having started from pole thanks to his fastest lap time in Round 11.
Skerlong's victories had even more impact on the championship standings as they came in the absence of Knudsen Racing's Dominic Scheer, the only other driver in the series to savor the moment on the top step of the podium. Scheer, with two wins to his credit, was absent from the weekend with team owner John Knudsen inheriting second in the title-chase as he scored his second runner-up spot behind Carl.
Dino Bruno celebrated a second consectuive third place finish although his new-found momentum will be forced to take a back-seat until the series returns to Buttonwillow Raceway later in the year when he rejoins the action. Bret MacDonald, rebounding from his earlier car problems, was looking good for the final top-three spot before he was forced into the pits for a tire change. Paul Mashouf took the checkered in fifth to leap up into sixth in the standings exiting California.
Round 12 - 2000 Class Results: 1st Skerlong, 2nd Knudsen, 3rd Bruno, 4th MacDonald, 5th Mashouf
1st - Carl Skerlong: "It was a compact schedule today but we knuckled down and got on with the job. I had a brief battle with John in the second race but in the end it was a fairly straightforward win and overall a very satisfying weekend."
2nd - John Knudsen: "I didn't have anything for Carl so I pretty much drove around in second place for the duration of the race!"
3rd - Dino Bruno: "I'm very happy with the outcome of the weekend, two podiums in two starts is pretty good. Unfortunately we can't make the next race in Portland but I'm looking forward to returning at Buttonwillow."
While Parker Kligerman had his hands full dicing with Luis Martinez Jr. in the first race of the day, Round 12 proved to be an entirely different affair as he capped his weekend with an easier win following his pole success. Kligerman, who set the fastest lap time in both races, swept the top step of the podium for the fourth time this season collecting his ninth win of 2006 and further strengthening his grip on the championship.
Luis Martinez Jr. started second but problems with his engine dropped him down the order as the race started. His dogged determination saw him fight his way back to second place, despite his earlier misfortune, and he was rewarded with a second successive podium finish. Matching the finishing order from the earlier race Billy Goshen snapped up the final top-three placing for his fifth podium of the season.
Alexander Rossi took the checkered flag in fourth, a remarkable achievement considering the three-time winner was battling a car that was shutting down for several seconds at a time throughout the race. Rossi's attitude and maturity, despite a testing day, was a showcase to his fellow competitors, not least as he was leading Round 12 before his problems struck. Liam Kenney grabbed another haul of points with a fifth place effort having successfully fended off the faster car of Tayler Malsam in sixth.
Round 12 - 1600 Class Results: 1st Kligerman, 2nd Martinez Jr., 3rd Goshen, 4th Rossi, 5th Kenney, 6th Malsam, 7th Smutny, 8th Lynch, 9th Grisdale
1st - Kligerman: "I made a great start and didn't really look back. It feels good to be back on the top step of the podium again with two wins from the one weekend.'
2nd - Martinez Jr.: "We had some motor problems and I ended up falling from second to fifth at the start of the race. I managed to work my way back up to second and hung on there until the end."
3rd - Goshen: "I didn't make a great start and stayed in fifth. I was able to get by Tayler and Liam again later in the race then Rossi, I was catching Luis before the checkered."
The Formula TR Pro Series Championship now heads to Portland International Raceway for Rounds 13 & 14, 22nd-23rd July.
Formula TR 2000 Points Standings after Round 12: 1st Carl Skerlong (535), 2nd John Knudsen (431), 3rd Dominic Scheer (342), 4th Bret MacDonald (285), 5th Bob Siska (224), 6th Paul Mashouf (178), 7th Dustin Welch (155), 8th Dino Bruno (138), 9th Derek DeBoer (106), 10th Adam Davis (36)
Formula TR 1600 Points Standings after Round 12: 1st Parker Kligerman (534), 2nd Billy Goshen (372), 3rd Luis Martinez Jr. (347), 4th Tayler Malsam (324), 5th Liam Kenney (300), 6th Alexander Rossi (293), 7th Kerry Lynch (256), 8th Kerstin Smutny (231), 9th Cam Grisdale (180), 10th Tony Welch (98)