Accidents in Formula Dodge keep Jonatan Jorge from winning. Four full-course yellow flags, one red flag, numerous spin-outs and two drivers in the hospital-- those were a few of the highlights in the 5th and 6th races of the Formula Dodge, ...
Accidents in Formula Dodge keep Jonatan Jorge from winning.
Four full-course yellow flags, one red flag, numerous spin-outs and two drivers in the hospital-- those were a few of the highlights in the 5th and 6th races of the Formula Dodge, National Championship, held in Putnam Park, IN, this past weekend. Brazilian driver Jonatan Jorge (Pitbull Energy Drink / Montoya Racing), who was directly affected by the unfortunate events of the weekend, considered himself lucky to have escaped the serious accidents unharmed.
On Friday, Jorge secured his place in the front end of the group, as he started in the 4th place in the grid. Half way through the race, Jorge overtook second place, and Western Region champion, Robbie Montinola, initiating his pursuit after leader Scott Speed. The yellow flag was raised on two distinct occasions due to accidents occurring in the back of the pack. In the re-start, Jorge took the conservative approach and lost the second spot to Al Unser, in a clean battle between the two drivers. In the following lap, however, Jorge was overtaking Unser when both were hit by Jason Richardson-- causing a three-car disaster. As a result of the violent impact from Richardson, Jorge's car raised several feet off the ground, landing nose first and causing bruised ribs to the Brazilian driver.
Unser, however, was not so fortunate, as his car caught wheel-to-wheel with Jorge's and catapulted into the air-- turning over eight times before coming to a halt. Both drivers were then taken to the hospital, where it was determined that no serious injuries took place. After a red flag and temporary interruption, the race resumed with Scott Speed taking the win.
On Saturday, despite the fast repair work performed by the mechanics, Jorge was forced to start the qualifying session without testing the car, securing only the 11th place in the starting grid. Once again Jorge demonstrated why he earned the 2002 Rookie-of-the-Year award, and runner-up in the Southern Regional series, as within nine laps the Brazilian driver was already in 4th place, quickly working his way to catch leader Scott Speed. But as the wreck-filled weekend would have it, Jorge was once again crashed into by a driver whom he had already overtaken, Craig Baltzer. Without serious damage to the car, but losing several positions due to the crash, Jorge once more worked his way back up the group and finished the race in 7th place.
"The skill level of the drivers in the National Series is pretty good. But there are some drivers who don't recognize when they have been overtaken, and they try to close the door when it's too late... that's why there are so many wipe-outs as there were this past weekend...", disappointedly said Jorge.
"Despite not winning this weekend, I felt my performance was really good, and the exposure provided for my sponsors was great. It is also nice to know that my accomplishments are being recognized by scouts from other major series, as I recently found out, and that is always a great motivation to continue working as hard as I have been."
Scott Speed and Grant Maiman won the 5th and 6th events, respectively.
The upcoming 7th and 8th events will be held in the Indianapolis Raceway Park, in mid-June.