Lightening storms suspended Friday's practice sessions and set the table for a tumultuous but entertaining Masters National weekend. During the pelting rain, drivers elected to qualify on Saturday morning for Round 7 and repeat the exercise for ...
Lightening storms suspended Friday's practice sessions and set the table for a tumultuous but entertaining Masters National weekend. During the pelting rain, drivers elected to qualify on Saturday morning for Round 7 and repeat the exercise for Sunday's Round 8 action. Qualifying sessions were 23 minutes, striking a balance between the usual 30 and 18 minute sessions. The reprieve afforded drivers more time to engage in race preparation, but it was clear that the Masters field was raring to go.
Conditions improved for Masters Race 1 as Roland Isra gridded up from the pole position. However Isra gave the advantage away midway through the race when Chris Willcox executed a beautiful pass in turn-7, somehow managing to keep his car on track. The New Yorker later suffered an uncharacteristic spin in turn-11 on the last lap, but was able to maintain position and hold on to third place. Second place starter Bud Risser was displaced early by Willcox and pushed back to third before regaining his composure and P2 midway thought the race. From lap 8 on, Willcox was in a groove, thwarting all efforts by Risser to assume the lead. Usual challenger Peter Ponder-Pistor spun in the carousel but managed to salvage a fourth place result. Charlie Hilmer, showing patience and veteran savvy, made steady gains from eighth to end with a top-5 result.
Polesitter Chris Willcox led from pole, pulled away and looked like the lock to sweep the weekend in Masters Race 2. But just as the weather changed quickly, good fortunes turned bad when Willcox was passed by Roland Isra and felled by unfortunate car contact with Bud Risser. Isra comfortably held the point to the final wire ahead of Peter Ponder-Pistor and Risser. The Masters National points leader also established a new track standard with a time of 1:39.034 sec. Willcox suffered a mild concussion but has since made a complete recovery. Battles were waged on every front, among them Lorin Gill and John Pew, who battled feverishly for a top-10 result. Dave Figurski continued to run strong and halved his eighth place starting spot to finish in fourth.
Isra will take a commanding 30 point lead over Peter Ponder-Pistor to Sebring International Raceway when the final rounds convene November 3rd and 4th. Chris Willcox and Bud Risser kept their championship hopes alive with their strong weekends but will need optimum results and a bit of luck to collect the top prize.