The Eastern Race Series reconvened last weekend at the spiritual home of the Skip Barber Racing School, Lime Rock Park, to battle the elements and the competition, as the short 1.54-mile circuit was besieged by showers on the first day of racing,...
The Eastern Race Series reconvened last weekend at the spiritual home of the Skip Barber Racing School, Lime Rock Park, to battle the elements and the competition, as the short 1.54-mile circuit was besieged by showers on the first day of racing, giving the field the opportunity to race on treaded Michelins as they worked their way around the circuit. Champ Car Champion Mario Andretti was on hand to take in the races and keep a watchful eye on his grandson Marco.
Race one for group one saw Craig Duerson lead for the majority of the race ahead of Tom Sands and Mark Patterson before Patterson took the lead with just two laps remaining after Duerson had to pit for a penalty. Matt Franc started second, but took a tour through the run off in turn one on the first lap, forcing him to fight back to the front to finish in second place ahead of his rival Duerson, who missed out on the win but scored the fastest lap of the race.
The second race of the weekend for group two saw Duerson take the win hed been hoping to score in the first race as he vaulted from the third starting position into the lead by the halfway point of the race and held on to cross the finish line some five seconds over Matt Franc. The run from third to first for Duerson was the most progressive drive of the race as well, although Tom Sands scored the fastest lap of the race, lapping in under a minute with a 59.994 second lap around the historic 1.54-mile Lime Rock circuit.
The first race of the weekend for the second race group was the scene for Dario Ciotis run to the checkers in the rain as he passed Deyne Bentt for the lead on the fifth lap and held on to take the win. Aaron Sansone made his first ever podium finish in Skip Barber Race Series competition after taking second place when former drag racer Drew Sprague made contact with the barrier in the difficult uphill corner, ending his race. Bentt finished in third ahead of Ed Somma in fourth.
The second race for group two started with a dry track surface, lowering lap times considerably as Deyne Bentt took the lead on the third lap and never looked back, taking the win by more than seven seconds over Dario Cioti with Eric Ives slotting into third after having started fifth. Aarone Sansone, looking for another podium finish, Ed Somma, and Drew Sprague staged a mammoth battle for fourth, with each driver taking turns in the position before Sansone took the spot and held on to it at the finish.
The third race group also had their first race in wet conditions, with Len Forman taking the lead at the start but losing the position after getting a wheel in the grass and being forced to take the escape road at turn one. Forman dropped back down the order after his safety check, but fought back to finish on the podium in third position. Ludwig took the lead on the fourth lap after Formans detour, and took the win ahead of Tom Sands, who had started in seventh.
The track was dry for the second race of the weekend for group three, as Ludwig went two for two on the weekend, cruising to a victory by nearly five seconds over Tom Sands. Sands had to fight for second place, though, as he battled with Reid Stewart for the position as the two swapped positions several times, including twice on the last lap, and finished just tenths apart from each other. Steve Mayer, Bob Manzella, and Roberto Gerardi staged their own duel over the twenty-six lap race as Manzella started from eleventh and took eighth to Gerardis ninth in the final standings.
The fourth race group featured one famous spectator, as none other than Mario Andretti was on hand to watch grandson Marco learn how to deal with what became a drying racetrack. Craig Duerson led from the start, and went flag to flag for the victory, while rival Matt Franc led Marco Andretti to the finish after both had recovered from an off course run in the final downhill corner. Andrettis return to the podium was also the most progressive drive of the race after the young racer started in sixth position.
The second race of the weekend for group two was a classic battle of experience versus youth, as Craig Duerson and Marco Andretti battled for the lead, with each taking turns at the front. The battle was fraught, and on the final lap, the two touched under braking for the first corner, forcing both to accept a penalty which dropped the two to third and fourth, with Andretti taking his second podium of the weekend. Matt Franc can score this race as has his in the Franc/Duerson battle, as he took the win ahead of Scott Boissoneau, who charged to second position after starting in seventh.
The final race group of the first day took to the track as the conditions continued to improve, but the variability from lap to lap still required vigilance on the part of the drivers. Marco Andretti took the lead from the start, and never looked back, finishing three seconds ahead of Deyne Bentt, who started in eighth and moved up to battle with Jonathon Erickensen for second place. Eriksen was bested late in the race for third position by Jameson Riley.
The final race of the weekend saw Marco Andretti and Jameson Riley touch cars as they fought for the lead, forcing both to pit for a penalty. Andretti heeded the flags immediately and returned to battle from ninth position, while Jameson did not heed the flags, and was given a time penalty after the race. Andretti used his track position to learn more places to pass on Lime Rock, as he moved back into the third position by the finish behind Deyne Bentt in second place and David Balcom in first. Balcom adds his name to the league of winners in Skip Barber Race Series competition with his first ever victory in the category.