SBRS: Cold weather, hot action at Sebring

The Formula Dodge Southern Regional racers withstood unusually cold temperatures at Sebring International Raceway in contesting series action this weekend. Freezing temperatures meant that Saturday's round 5 races had to be run on treaded tires ...

The Formula Dodge Southern Regional racers withstood unusually cold temperatures at Sebring International Raceway in contesting series action this weekend. Freezing temperatures meant that Saturday's round 5 races had to be run on treaded tires instead of conventional slicks. After the day's heated action, temperatures improved and rose for Sunday's round 6 contests.

In group 1 race 1, David Weiringa, poised to contest the Barber Dodge Pro Series for 2001, cruised to an easy victory in front of Ben Moore III and James Gue, who fought for second place. Gue, the eventual second place finisher, was the most progressive driver of the bunch advancing from seventh at the start. Moore had to settle for third. Jay Fuchs was best among the Master drivers in the 40-plus category.

In group 2 race 1, Craig Duerson set fastest lap with a time of 1:23.048 sec. Duerson tripped the clock 1.7-sec. ahead of Matt Franc, who finished second. The most notable battle was for third place where four cars were positioned nose-to-tail for most of the contest. Eventually, Paul Zube claimed the final podium spot from an ever-improving David Harris, who finished fourth. Michael Edwards finished ahead of Peter Stolper for Masters honors.

Group 3 action saw rookie Scott Poirier pass Scott Bassinger on lap 3 and continue to pour it on for his victory. Poirier brings sponsorship to his Formula Dodge Regional Championship effort in the form of AUTOHOUSE MOTORSPORTS. Juan Manual Polar, who is hoping to race in the Barber Dodge Pro Series this year, took third after battling with Tom Nastase, who overcame a spin and pit stop to finish in the top-5. Ron Atapattu, Ivan German and Robert Pellosie waged an entertaining scrap for fifth position which Atapattu eventually secured. Atapattu gets extra credit for his Masters finish.

In the day's final action, Spencer Pumpelly and his father Tom Pumpelly secured first and third to make it a son/father podium. Newcomer David Blackburn was sandwiched between the two in second place. Quentin Wahl charged from 10th at the start all the way to second place but had to pit for contact in a lapping move. Still, Wahl managed to finish in the top-5.

Saturday's Memorial was won by Matt Franc in front of Gerardo Bonilla and Roland Isra. The race was run in an always-entertaining reverse grid format.

In Sunday's first race, under more temperate weather, Gerardo Bonilla and Ben Moore III volleyed the lead before Bonilla secured it for good on lap 12. Roland Isra drove a great race, advancing from 11th to finish third. David Weiringa lost several positions mid-race when he dodged to avoid a hard-braking James Gue. Weiringa would fall back to seventh before finishing in fifth. Enthusiastic newcomer Peter Unveboren was pleased with his improving lap times despite his final result. If consistency is the formula for good racing, we expect to see steady improvement from him.

Craig Duerson set a new lap record in group 2 race 2 with a time of 1:20.946 sec. en route to his second win of the weekend. Matt Franc followed in second. Charlie Plumb secured the final rostrum spot after a good exchange with Paul Zube. Michael Edwards was fifth overall and took the Master's points with best in the category.

In group 3, Juan Manual Polar advanced from third, secured the lead on lap 3 and held the point to take the win in front of Scott Poirier and Scott Bassinder. Poirier's result was his second podium of the weekend. Guilherme Jacob, another newcomer, climbed from eighth place to finish in fourth. Terence McCall was best among Masters.

Spencer Pumpelly held off all challenges to his prime grid position to claim his second win in as many tries. Quentin Wahl and David Blackburn followed in second and third place. 1989 three-day racing school graduate John Peterson finished an impressive fourth.

A second Memorial race was dominated by Craig Duerson, who again set the lap record, this one with a time of 1:20.878 sec. David Weiringa and Spencer Pumpelly were next-best with second and third place results.

Formula Dodge Southern Regional Series remains at Sebring International Raceway for rounds 7 and 8 but will run on the full-course on February 17-18. - Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Michael Edwards , James Gue , Roland Isra , Scott Poirier , Spencer Pumpelly , Craig Duerson , Paul Zube , Quentin Wahl , Robert Pellosie , Gerardo Bonilla , John Peterson