SBRS: Maiman takes over Midwestern title chase

Grant Maiman took over the points lead with two victories over the weekend at rounds five and six of the Formula Dodge Midwestern Regional Championship on the short course at Road America. Maiman wasn’t the only two-race winner however as...

Grant Maiman took over the points lead with two victories over the weekend at rounds five and six of the Formula Dodge Midwestern Regional Championship on the short course at Road America. Maiman wasn’t the only two-race winner however as Erick Hansen and Curt Andrews also were double victors. Maiman and Andrews both leapfrogged Tim Rose to now sit first and second in the overall tally.

Erick Hansen led things off with a win in the first race for Group 1. He ended up on top after going back and forth with Greg Thek early on. As a result of his bout with Hansen, Thek spun in turn-8 dropping him back to fourth place. Roland Isra carved his way back to finish second after having car contact at the start of the race. In addition he earns the Master’s victory, while Mark Lindman drove a solid race to finish third from his sixth starting position.

Group 1, race two had Hansen post his win convincingly over Thek who climbed from fourth to second. Roland Isra had the lead coming out of turn-1 on the first lap, but Hansen recaptured the lead in turn-8, and never looked back after that. Isra had to settle for third place and take his second Master’s win.

The first race for Group 2 also saw pole-sitter and rookie Curt Andrews go on to take the win though he was not the first to greet the checkered flag. Andrews led 15 of the first 16 laps until Juan Ignacio Caceres took the lead into Canada Corner. Andrews put the pressure on, forcing Caceres to defend a little too vehemently for the taste of the race stewards was called for blocking. Although he crossed the line first, he was levied a 20 second penalty relegating him to fifth. Points leader coming into round five, Tim Rose held the lead for one lap midway through the race until he had car contact with Michael Edwards. Both were running in a pack of cars jostling for second and third place going into Canada Corner when Rose saw daylight with Edwards at the apex, setting off the contact. There was no damage to either car, but they had to stop in the pits for a safety check, ending their run at the front. Justin Schad, third on the road was elevated to second with Rick Gilhart also benefiting from the drama ahead to be promoted to third. Steve Smith, fourth overall, was the Master’s winner.

Andrews picked up win number two in Group 2’s second event. Once again Caceres snagged the lead from Andrews only to relinquish it after sailing off in Canada Corner two laps later.

Rose picked off a few places at the start and inched his way along to finish second after starting from seventh taking home some decent points after the first day’s debacle. Michael Edwards avenged his defeat in race one with a fine third-place finish in race two, which also earned him another trophy for leading the Master’s class.

Group 3, race one again saw the pole-sitter garner the win. Raphael Martin let the lead go on the opening lap to Hirotoshi Takeuchi, but Takeuchi threw it away at the now infamous Canada Corner giving the lead back to Martin for the duration. John Hall had a great drive from fifth on the grid to earn the runner-up spot. Charging Charlie Hilmer drove a steady race to finish third overall and first in the Master’s class after benefiting from the miscues of those ahead.

The second race for Group 3 was the most unusual race of the weekend. It didn't start to get interesting until the final lap when Raphael Martin mistook the white flag for the checkered version and let Mark Barrens go by in turn-8, and then Takeuchi at Canada Corner on the final lap. Unfortunately what could have been Martin’s second win resulted in a third place. Barrens went on to inherit the fortunate win with Takeuchi taking what was indeed a deserving second following a hard charge through the field, moving up nine spots to finish second. Takeuchi also capped off the weekend with the track record setting a new benchmark of 1:30.705 sec around the short course at Road America.

Yet again the pole-sitter snared the win with Grant Maiman leading flag to flag in the first race of Group 4. Rookie Gary Longo came home the runner-up. After starting the race in second, Longo briefly fell behind Caceres, who was also racing in Group 4. By the mid-point, he regained the position and was trailed by Ross Stonefeld who had moved up three spots from sixth to finish third.

Maiman didn’t quite have it all his own way in race two. Starting from pole once again he surrendered the lead for the first four laps before resuming at the point to take an eight-second victory and with it the overall points lead. Longo once again followed Maiman in the run to the checkered flag while third place was captured by Jenny Sheehy. She had a storming run, coming from 11th at the start to take the third step on the podium.

Thus at the conclusion of the weekend, Maiman with 94 points leads Andrews by two-points with Rose a further 10 behind. Rounding out the first five are Hansen and Barrens who are tied for fourth place while just behind them is Hansen.

Next stop for the Formula Dodge Midwestern Regional Championship is Putnam Park on August 5-6.

- George Tamayo

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Mark Barr , Steve Smith , Rick Gilhart , Michael Edwards , John Hall , Roland Isra , Grant Maiman , Erick Hansen , Ross Stone