Double Down At Daytona Three drivers doubled up on wins as the 2001/2002 Southern Series returned to Daytona International Speedway for rounds five and six. Only this time, they were confronted with a newly constructed 1.68 mile infield track ...
Double Down At Daytona
Three drivers doubled up on wins as the 2001/2002 Southern Series returned to Daytona International Speedway for rounds five and six. Only this time, they were confronted with a newly constructed 1.68 mile infield track configuration that is completely isolated from the infamous banked oval. This weekend was the first time the course, which incorporates part of the 24 hour infield, was used for a racing event in addition to the schools held there. The track was well-received by the 38 racer field, but especially by the rookie’s Jonatan Jorge, Atticus Missner and Cristiano Piquet. Through six rounds, Jorge leads a rookie-laden top 10 with a slight advantage over fellow rookie Piquet. Peter Stolper emerged from the weekend as the leader in the Masters class, over Larry Revier and John Pew, who are tied for second place.
Jonatan Jorge recorded the first win on this new track in group 1, starting from the pole, leading all 19 laps and challenging his R/T 2000 with the task of setting the track record at 1:25.519 sec. The rookie led Jordan Gore and Ron Atapattu around the circuit for the duration, neither driver being able to mount a challenge for the point and finished second and third respectively. Ron Atapattu’s podium was bolstered by also scoring the masters’ win. Javier Gonzalez, who started third went four off on the first lap and spent the rest of the race progressing from last to finally end up sixth. However, Chris Fowler overcame starting tenth to fourth and earned the most progressive driver honor.
As the green flag fell on Group 2, Atticus Missner took advantage of his inside line by starting third to overtake Larry Revier on the first lap and then to take the lead over Eduardo Marques on the second lap. From there, Missner lead the remaining 18 laps to earn his first ever Skip Barber Regional victory over Eduardo Marques who crossed the line eight seconds back. Larry Revier followed in third, claiming the Masters prize in the process. New driver, J.C. France passed five drivers to score a sixth place result as the most progressive driver.
Brazilian Cristiano Piquet drove a strong, confident race, securing the point at the start of the race by sidestepping Can Artam and Zilvinas Oskutis who had contact with each other on the first lap and had to pit. This allowed Piquet to pull out a ten second margin of victory over a hard charging Can Artam who managed to work his way back up to second. Lorin Gill managed to drive to the third tier on the podium while scoring the Masters win.
The day’s last race featured the Dave Thomas Enduro, a new twist on the standard memorial fun race, which allowed for teams to incorporate fuel strategy along with driver changes. The trio of Laura Rowe, her Uncle Michael Rowe and Todd Snyder moved from sixth to take the win with Laura at the helm. Team Rowe led 22 of the 41 laps and never fell further back than fifth. Team member Todd Snyder also clocked the fastest lap time of 1:25.335, eclipsing the previous track record.
Day two of racing posed a new challenge to Jonatan Jorge. As the pace car peeled into the pits, the field drove to the start stand and the start was waved off. This lead to Chris Fowler getting into the back of pole sitter Jonatan Jorge and the two of them having to pit for safety checks and to take the green from the back of the pack. Jorge managed to get to third on the first lap, and after getting into the second spot, reeled in leader Jordan Gore after eight laps. Two laps later, Gore went four off and retired with damage, relinquishing second place to Javier Gonzalez. Chris Fowler overcame starting at the back as well to round out the podium in third. Peter Stolper picked up the masters’ victory and a top five result over all in the race.
In the penultimate race, polesitter Atticus Missner had deja vu as he led all the race laps and took his second victory of the weekend, despite a gritty effort from Larry Revier who took over second place after Eduardo Marques took his R/T 2000 four wheels off track on lap 5. Revier not only earned the second place but he also scored the masters’ win. Fellow Master racer, David Libby charged from tenth place on the grid to round out the podium in third. Veteran racer from the Midwest, John Greist, gained nine positions to finish in the top 5 and earn the most progressive driver distinction.
The weekend’s final race saw Cristiano Piquet repeat his dominance of the day before with an unchallenged victory from the pole. Piquet set the fastest lap of the race at 1:25.877 sec., which was quicker than his previous efforts. Second place starter Can Artam was unable to catch Piquet, but successfully maintained his starting position to finish second. Zilvinas Oskutis and Roland Isra had a spirited battle for third place, and despite the Master’s challenge, newcomer Oskutis ended up ahead on the final lap to round out the podium.
South meets West, when the Southern racers host the Western Series for double series action at Sebring International Raceway on February 15-17. Catch all the recaps on the Skip Barber News.