Marino masters Mid-Ohio. The Masters National Championship headlined an exciting East-Meets-West matchup at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. New Yorker Mike Marino swept both rounds of the 40-plus Championship series, sending a message to fellow...
Marino masters Mid-Ohio.
The Masters National Championship headlined an exciting East-Meets-West matchup at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. New Yorker Mike Marino swept both rounds of the 40-plus Championship series, sending a message to fellow New Yorker Roland Isra that his quest for a repeat title would not be easy. In totality, Marino's Mid-Ohio weekend included three race wins, a third and a fourth place result. Isra, last year's Masters National Champion and a multiple Regional Masters Champion, arrived in Ohio as the series points leader. But Brian Shepherd and Chris Willcox are close behind, tied for second in the standings. Mike Edwards and John Pew rounded out the top-5 in standings heading to Ohio.
Luis Pelayo took the first victory of the weekend from pole, leading all 16 laps and setting a fastest lap time of 1:38.857 sec., a new track record. Pelayo captured the checkered flag 13-seconds ahead of Roland Isra, and third-place finisher Abraham Zimroth. Ben Freudenberg, fresh off his National Championship debut at Carolina Motorsports Park, drove an outstanding race, advancing from a P13 start to finish in seventh. Roland Isra registered the Regional Masters victory.
In group 2 race 1, Conrad Grunewald scored his first Skip Barber Race Series victory by getting the better jump at the start, beating Kevin Adams to turn-1 and setting the pace for all remaining laps. Adams had his mirrors full with Brian Milligan over the final five laps but managed to hold him off to claim second place honors. Milligan, who started fifth, followed in third. Mexico's Miguel Aboroa promoted himself from 17th to finish in the top-10. Mike Marino finished fourth and garnered the Masters Regional victory.
In the Masters National Championship opener, an exciting race where the outcome was in doubt with two laps to go for the final two podium positions. Mike Marino proved strongest among the 40-plus set, holding off former Regional Masters champions and a field full of capable contenders. Roland Isra, who was in second, spun off, allowing Mike Edwards to move into second until he spun and collected Dave Figurski, who was running third. The new order moved Peter Tucker into second and Brian Shepherd into third, where they remained until the checkered flag fell. John Pew stepped up ably, picking off eight positions to land in fourth.
Cristiano Piquet took the lead from Rafael Matos on lap 13 and held off a determined Alex Donnini to capture the win in group 4's first race. Pelayo led the first two laps but went four off and had to pit., pushing him back to 12th before he regained form and worked his way back up to third. Matos led 10 laps but fell back to fifth when he was forced to pit for safety inspection. Piquet started seventh but quickly proved his mettle, working his way up to fourth by the second lap. Chris Otis pocketed valuable points for the Masters win. Eastern points leader Kevin Adams took himself out of contention early when he crashed in the Carousel, ending his race.
Group 5 saw New York's Roland Isra charge from 14th to assume the point with two laps to go and keep the field at bay for the win. Polesitter Casey Craig led the first 14 laps but suffered a mechanical failure and couldn't finish the race. Rookie Chris Prey spun, collecting Tim Traver, who continued after mild contact but was forced to pit. Prey retired from the race due to car damage. Travis Roberts moved up from fifth and slotted into second with three laps to go. Brian Milligan followed in third.
In group 1 race 2, Luis Pelayo proved that he belongs among the series points leader, winning handily from pole again and re-setting a new track stanard with a time of 1:38.716 sec. The Telmex-backed Mexican driver led all 16 circuits. Roland Isra and Abraham Zimroth were battling for second position before they came together on-track and had subsequently pit, taking them out of contention. Tim Traver and Kyle Lawrence advanced to collect second and third place honors.
Polesitter Conrad Grunewald scored a narrow victory over Kevin Adams in group 2 race 2, leading all 16 laps to claim his second win of the weekend. Adams started second but couldn't find a way around the former Skip Barber mechanic, despite two full-course yellow restarts. Masters racer Mike Marino came home in third place. George Scheiderer earned most progressive driver distinction by advancing eight positions to finish in the top-5.
Mike Marino continued to shine in the Masters National Championship group, easily distancing himself from the field after a great start from pole. Marino used his fastest lap time of 1:39.325 sec. to help him lead all laps over 16 lap race. Chris Willcox and later Roland Isra managed to keep Marino in sight, but neither could mount a charge for the lead. Willcox, who started from second, successfully defended his position from Isra to claim second place with Isra securing the final rostrum position in third.
In group 4 race 2, Antione Bessette sliced through the field with complete efficacy, advancing 11 positions in the first six laps, then warding off Cristiano Piquet over the final 10 laps. Piquet, who started on pole and led the first two laps, was the best of the rest, taking second place and leading Luis Pelayo to the flag. Pelayo overcame two visits to pit lane for safety inspection but still managed a strong podium result. Jack Aten scored the Masters win over Chris Otis.
Group 5 featured an inspired drive by Rafael Matos, who started fifth but quickly inserted himself in front five laps into the contest. Matos took the point from Casey Craig on lap 5 and never relinquished the lead. Craig, shutout a day earlier, proved he deserved better than a MDNF, racing to the final stripe to claim second place honors. Masters racer Roland Isra followed in third. Chris Prey turned in the most outstanding drive of the 19-car field, picking off 11 positions to finish in the top-7 and claim most progressive driver distinction.
In the Lionel Hampton memorial, Mike Marino demonstrated he had the best vibes, capturing the win from a P8 start position. Ben Freudenberg came home second ahead of Gerardo"BoBo" Bonilla, in third.