(ELKHART LAKE, Wis.) Sept. 17, 2000 -The battle for the top spot in the Formula Dodge National Championship was revitalized this weekend thanks to an inspired performance by previous points leader Bryan Sellers. While Anthony Simone continued his...
(ELKHART LAKE, Wis.) Sept. 17, 2000 -The battle for the top spot in the Formula Dodge National Championship was revitalized this weekend thanks to an inspired performance by previous points leader Bryan Sellers. While Anthony Simone continued his dominant run of victories claiming his fifth consecutive win, he was upstaged by an improbable drive from Sellers in the second race of the weekend. Sellers, starting from the 16th spot on the grid, sliced through the field to claim a much-needed victory and set the stage for a showdown in three weeks at Lime Rock Park.
Under clear and dry conditions, a field of 16 racers took to the 4.0 mile circuit of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The first race of the weekend saw Simone bring home his sixth win in the last seven races. Starting from the outside of row 1, he immediately wrestled the point from pole sitter Craig Duerson and poured it on to build a 10-car lead midway through the contest. While Simone pulled away from the field, a battle raged behind him. Duerson, a hard charging Sellers and Davy Cook scrapped for the remaining two rostrum spots.
Just when Simone's result seemed a foregone conclusion, his 10-car lead seemed to evaporate. A miscue midway through the contest allowed the aggressive pack of pursuers to close the gap before he was able to pull away.
"My start was good. I got out to a bit of a lead in front of Duerson and started pulling away. I missed a downshift on the front straight from third to second instead of third to fourth," said Simone. He continued, "They kind of reeled me in. After that they started dicing a bit. I was able to build a lead again and basically held it."
As the white flag few, Sellers rallied from fourth and managed to pass both Duerson and Cook on his way to a second place finish with Cook occupying the third step on the podium. Although unable to best Simone, Sellers' result prevented the points leader from pulling too far ahead.
Round 12 was an opportunity for Simone to virtually stamp out all challengers. Carrying a substantial points advantage into the event, he was in a position to clinch the Championship. Young Mr. Sellers, however, had other plans.
Following two early caution periods that saw several contenders eliminated, the race took on a vastly different complexion. With four laps remaining, any one of six drivers was in a position to take the win. The action was electrifying. The long front straightaway of Road America provided a rare and spectacular display of bump drafting take place at 120 mph. Bump drafting involves multiple cars, in nose-to-tail fashion, literally pushing each other down straights significantly increasing their top speed. The spectators were witnessing something special.
Sellers' incredible drive through the field culminated in a last corner, last lap sprint. He got a superior exit out of the fast right hard turn-14, tucked in behind Davy Cook, drafted up the hill and made a last second "pop" to take the victory in one of the closest, most exciting finishes in National Championship history. Sellers and Cook were followed across the line by Duerson, who claimed the last podium position.
Simone will carry an 18-point lead into the Champion determining event to be held at Lime Rock Park on October 14. Winner take all!
<pre> Formula Dodge National Championship by RACER At Road America; Round 11
1. Anthony Simone, 10 laps 2. Bryan Sellers, 10 laps 3. Davy Cook, 10 laps 4. Craig Duerson, 10 laps 5. Leonardo Maia, 10 laps 6. D. Della Santina, 10 laps 7. Chris Baker, 10 laps 8. Christian Szymczak, 10 laps 9. Landon Yee, 10 laps 10. Jon Morley, 10 laps 11. Kevin Christensen, 10 laps 12. Jonathan Strohm, 10 laps 13. Tophie Stewart, 10 laps 14. Scott Presti, 10 laps 15. Dan Di Leo, 8 laps (contact) 16. Brian Angen, (mech DNF)
Formula Dodge National Championship by RACER At Road America; Round 12
1. Bryan Sellers, 10 laps 2. Davy Cook, 10 laps 3. Craig Duerson, 10 laps 4. D. Della Santina, 10 laps 5. Jonathan Strohm, 10 laps 6. Kevin Christensen, 10 laps 7. Leonardo Maia, 10 laps 8. Landon Yee, 10 laps 9. Dan Di Leo, 10 laps 10. Anthony Simone, 9 laps (contact) 11. Christian Szymczak, 9 laps (contact) 12. Jon Morley, 2 laps (contact) 13. Tophie Stewart, 2 laps (contact) 14. Chris Baker, 2 laps (contact) 15. Brian Angen, 0 laps, (did not start) 16. Scott Presti, 0 laps, (did not start)