Ward Imrie climbed to the top step of the podium, Saturday, after winning a race at California Speedway. The nineteen-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who competes in the Formula Dodge National Championship, rebounded with the victory after a ...
Ward Imrie climbed to the top step of the podium, Saturday, after winning a race at California Speedway. The nineteen-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who competes in the Formula Dodge National Championship, rebounded with the victory after a suspension failure forced him to retire from a race on Friday.
Imrie qualified seventh for Friday's race, but a poor start saw him immediately fall back to eleventh. He settled down and started a march back to the front, climbing all the way to fifth before being sidelined.
"A shock absorber just broke free and my race was finished," he said. "It was a drag because I was coming back pretty strong after going backwards at the start."
On Saturday, a new car was brought out for Imrie and he had it up to speed right away. With a time of 1-minute 15.242-seconds, around the 1.9km (1.2 mile) circuit at Fontana, California, Imrie qualified first and would start the race from pole position.
He led the first half-dozen laps of the 23-lap battle, but dropped to second on lap seven, admitting he made a mistake that allowed Robbie Montinola to pass. Montinola led for four laps before officials brought him into the pits to have an exhaust problem repaired. Imrie regained the lead and went on to the win despite intense pressure from Burt Frisselle and Scott Poirier, who finished second and third respectively.
"I really had to hang on for the win," he said. "Frisselle and Poirier were all over me and I was struggling with a mushy clutch pedal that was causing problems when I downshifted. It was tough to defend the lead and I got bumped from behind once which could have spun me around."
Imrie came to the Formula Dodge National Championship after winning one of four Barber-CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Karting Scholarships this year and after Saturday's race, he and the three other winners went to Long Beach, California, where the Long Beach Grand Prix was held on Sunday. There the four young drivers met CART CEO Chris Pook and participated in the pre-race driver parade before a massive crowd.
The next event on the Formula Dodge National Championship is at Putnam Park in Indiana, where a pair of races will be held May 9-11 (Thursday - Saturday).