SBRS: Simone takes over title lead at Gateway

There are a maximum of 42 points available to the drivers in the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER in each race weekend. Anthony Simone collected 41 of them and with it the overall lead in the title battle for the 2000...

There are a maximum of 42 points available to the drivers in the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER in each race weekend. Anthony Simone collected 41 of them and with it the overall lead in the title battle for the 2000 National Championship. Capturing two wins and a pole in rounds 9 and 10 of the 13 round championship, Simone now opens a 25 point spread over the man who has held the title lead since round 1, Bryan Sellers. Sellers for his part would like to just let this weekend slip quietly into the past. A cut tire in the early going put an end to a weekend that saw him net three points in what was by far his worst showing in the season.

Like round 9 at Gateway International Raceway, round 10 at the combination oval-infield road course a short hop from the banks of the Mississippi River, was a battle royal involving Oakland, Calif. native Christian Szymczak and Canadian Simone. Simone led the race at the start from the pole pursued by round 9 third-place finisher Scott Presti. Symczak quickly forced the issue getting by Presti and began the chase for the lead. Presti meanwhile fought the valiant fight as midway through the race he lost fourth gear, a matter not insignificant considering the long run around the banked turns-3 and 4 of the oval onto the start/finish straight. Without top-gear, he hung on to third as well as could be expected before relinquishing the spot with seven laps remaining to Daniel Di Leo. Even then, Presti was able to briefly retake the position before Di Leo would secure his first Formula Dodge National Championship podium for good. He would finish the race in fifth.

Simone and Szymczak traded the lead on four separate occasions as they would streak down the front straight often nose to tail if not side by side. Their duel allowed Di Leo to close the gap, and had the 26-lap race been a little longer, it may very well have been a trio fight for the top spot on the winner's rostrum.

"Today's race was a little different (than yesterday's)," Simone said. "They were able up in the draft, but once I was able to break that, I was able to keep the lead.

"If I finish on the podium or in the top-5, and not get into trouble, I'll be in good shape for the title," added Simone regarding his outlook on the final three races.

Szymczak for his part was happy with his performance though a victory would have surely been sweeter. His second runner up performance of the weekend marks his fourth podium appearance of the season including a win in round 4 back in June.

"I wasn't getting good enough shot out of turn-8 to keep the lead ahead of Simone," elucidated Szymczak.

Di Leo wished the race would have lasted just a little bit longer. He set the fastest lap of the race at 1:06.262 sec., a track record.

"I had a terrible start, but got back in line, and thought 'don't do anything stupid,'" relayed Di Leo. "As the race went on, I might have pushed a little bit too hard and overcooked the tires. It's the biggest race I've ever been in and finally met my goal of scoring a podium. Now I have to work on my next goal..."

Rounds 11 and 12 will take place at Road America on Sept 16 and 17.

<pre> Results for Round 10 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER at Gateway International Raceway, Aug. 27, 2000

1. Anthony Simone, 26 laps 2. Christian Szymczak, 26 laps 3. Daniel Di Leo, 26 laps 4. Tophie Stewart, 26 laps 5. Scott Presti, 26 laps 6. Kevin Christensen, 26 laps 7. Jonathan Strohm, 26 laps 8. Brian Rivera, 26 laps 9. Brian Angen, 26 laps 10. Craig Duerson, 26 laps 11. Davy Cook, 26 laps 12. Landon Yee, 26 laps 13. Leonardo Maia, 26 laps 14. Damian Della-Santina, 26 laps 15. J.J. Fischer, 26 laps 16. Bryan Sellers, 4 laps 17. Chris Baker, 1 lap 18. Jon Morley, DNS

</pre> Top 10 Points Unofficially:

Simone, 153; Sellers, 128; Craig Duerson, 119; Szymczak, 112; Morley, 104; Di Leo 99; Presti, 95; Stewart, 79; Christensen, 77; Della-Santina, 71

- George Tamayo

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers J.J. Fischer , Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Leonardo Maia , Chris Baker , Craig Duerson , Bryan Sellers , Anthony Simone , Jon Morley