Joel Miller, Josef Newgarden Tops at VIR ALTON, Va. (April 29) Joel Miller and Josef Newgarden had dramatic wins at Virginia International Raceway in rounds three and four of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. For Miller, ...
Joel Miller, Josef Newgarden Tops at VIR
ALTON, Va. (April 29) Joel Miller and Josef Newgarden had dramatic wins at Virginia International Raceway in rounds three and four of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. For Miller, racing under the 2007 Skip Barber/Snap-on Stars of Karting Scholarship banner, it was his maiden National win. So too for new guy Newgarden, who had come from impressive wins in Skip Barber's Regional championships.
In race one, Miller was in fifth place at the beginning of the last lap. In fact, with just three corners to go he was no better off, still dicing with Peter Ludwig in third and Jeff Oleen the points leader in fourth. Newgarden, who had just drafted past polesitter Ricky Taylor down the long backstraight from Oak Tree to Turn 14, protected his line entering the corner. But Taylor, who had led nine of the 10 laps up to that point, was trying to out-brake Newgarden, who legitimately thought he already had the corner. Banging wheels-to-sidepods, each were convinced they had rights to the downhill righthander called Rollercoaster. But near the apex, both cars on the razor's edge, their final contact spun the two around. Third place Ludwig, a Masters Division driver running as quick as the kids, thought for sure the race was going to be his -- if he could snake through the melee. But Taylor's spinning car caught Ludwig's, and Oleen's too. Miller had a longer look at the developing maelstrom and was able to find a way by, putting two wheels to the grass to squeeze by; Stevan McAleer and A.J. Riley did the same. It was a crazy win for Miller, but it was he who survived and Miller had no trouble savoring the win. Quentin Wahl finished 10th, duking it out all race long with Jeff Kaiser and Dick Lippert, to take the Masters Division win.
Race two was a virtual carbon copy of race one. Taylor and Newgarden were cutting each other up, Taylor leading most of the laps, Newgarden never more than a couple car lengths behind. Again, it's the last lap and ``Newgy'' is again in prime position to draft Taylor as they leave Oak Tree and head down the long run to 14. The draft works, Newgarden pops left for the lead and here they come, rocketing up to the corner. But both had learned a hard lesson and Rollercoaster was negotiated drama-free. Taylor did make a run for the win exiting the last corner but fell .037 short. Ludwig's 10th place got him the Masters Divsion win.
Miller stayed close to this battle, too, and finished less than a half-second behind Newgarden to take third place. Miller's excellent weekend lifts him to the points lead, dropping Oleen to second and Taylor to fourth, with Megenbier fifth. Lawrence's unspectacular but solid results now has him third in the standings. Next up is wide and fast Cleveland, sure to be furiously fought.