(MOUNT MERIDIAN, Ind.) Aug. 7, 2000 - Anthony Simone helped himself to a generous serving of points in round 7 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER. He liked the 20 points for the win so much that in round 8 he went out...
(MOUNT MERIDIAN, Ind.) Aug. 7, 2000 - Anthony Simone helped himself to a generous serving of points in round 7 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER. He liked the 20 points for the win so much that in round 8 he went out and got himself 20 more, plus another point for pole position to boot. All in all, those 41 points catapulted the Aurora, Ontario native to second in the title hunt. Craig Duerson stayed in firm championship contention by coming home second while Landon Yee returned to the podium for the first time since round 1 with a third-place finish.
Simone is lucky points aren't based on laps led however. For his second win, he led all of one lap, so it was a good thing that it was the lap that was greeted with the checkered flag. If the lap chart of this race held on a damp Putnam Park racetrack were graphed, it would look like a Cal Tech seismograph recording the earthquake that would make California an island. En route to his win, Simone recorded a lap in 14 of the 18 positions available on the track. After starting from pole, the 20-year old Canadian slipped to 14th at the end of the first lap. From there, Simone began cutting wide swaths through a field that was dealing with a slippery, greasy track. Keeping his poise, from lap-15 until the checkered flag on lap-18, he regained one position each from fourth to beat Duerson by 1.671 sec.
"The first lap I got hit (from behind) and fell to 14th," recalled Simone. "We got a couple of cautions that helped me out. That last lap, it was whoever stayed on the track would get the win. So I just tried to brake early and find some grip and stay on the track."
Duerson's ride was equally as raucous, if only slightly less satisfying. The St. Petersburg, Fla. resident began the race from ninth on the grid to find himself fifth by the end of the second lap. Then it all unravelled. Contact with another driver sliding into Duerson left him with a good car, but at a lowly 16th place. Like Simone, it was a steep pitch to climb yet Duerson made a molehill out of it to trail Simone to the flag.
Skip Barber Karting Scholarship winner Landon Yee of San Rafael had a relatively tame day by comparison. Yee spent most of the race in a fierce battle with Jon Morely and Kevin Christensen. The trio battled for second through fourth places for much of the 18-lap affair and like the two ahead of him, it wasn't until the final lap that Yee secured his spot in the score book.
Championship leader Bryan Sellers managed to finish fourth, salvaging what might have been a loss of his title lead. He too had slipped to as low as 12th before good driving and some help from the misfortune of others saw him return to the top 5. Christian Szymczak, fifth on the day, could not shake the demons of round 7. Like Saturday's race, he led 17 of the 18 laps until an error on the most critical lap of all saw him relinquish the lead.
The face of the championship has been altered as a result. Simone firmly moves into second place with a 13-point deficit to Sellers. Duerson slips to third with Morely fourth.
Rounds nine and ten will take place at the Dodge Viper National Convention at the Gateway International Raceway in East St. Louis, Ill. on Aug 25-27.
Results from the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER from Putnam Park Raceway in Mount Meridian, Ind. Aug 4-6, 2000
<pre> Round 7
1. Anthony Simone/Aurora, Ont./18 laps 27:59.430 2. Bryan Sellers/Centerville, Ohio/-0:00.286 sec. 3. Jon Morley/Columbus, Ohio 4. Landon Yee/San Rafael, Calif. 5. Christian Szymczak/Oakland, Calif. 6. Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ont. 7. Tophie Stewart/ Carmichael, Calif. 8. Kevin Christensen/Castaic, Calif. 9. Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif. 10. Davy Cook/Tallahassee, Fla. 11. Craig Duerson/St. Petersburg, Fla. 12. Levi Simoes/Itatiba, Brazil 13. Chris Baker/Austin, Texas 14. Scott Presti/Naples, Fla. 15. Damian Della-Santina/Los Angeles, Calif. 16. J.J. Fischer/Tyler, Texas 17. Jonathan Strohm/Wildwood, Mo. 18. Brian Angen/San Jose, Calif.
1. Anthony Simone/18 laps 44:40.260 2. Craig Duerson/-0:01.671 sec 3. Landon Yee 4. Bryan Sellers 5. Christian Szymczak 6. Brian Angen 7. Jon Morley 8. Scott Presti 9. Tophie Stewart 10. J.J. Fischer 11. Jonathan Strohm 12. Damian Della-Santina 13. Kevin Christensen 14. Dan Di Leo 15. Leonardo Maia 16. Chris Baker 17. Levi Simoes 18. Davy Cook
Top 10 Championship Points after rounds 7 and 8
1. Sellers-125 2. Simone-112 3. Duerson-103 4. Morley-96 5. Di Leo-74 6. Szymczak-70 7. Della-Santina-69 8. Presti-69 9. Maia-65 10. Christensen-62