SBRS: St.Petersburg report

SBRS: St.Petersburg report
Dec 29, 1996, 6:56 PM

> Date: 26 Feb 96 17:42:17 EST > From: RICK ROSO <> Far Too Fast Fartuszek ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 25) - The winner of the opening round of the 1996 Barber Dodge Pro Series season doesn't speak English, is 19 ...

> Date: 26 Feb 96 17:42:17 EST > From: RICK ROSO <>

Far Too Fast Fartuszek

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 25) - The winner of the opening round of the 1996 Barber Dodge Pro Series season doesn't speak English, is 19 years old, was in his first-ever Barber Dodge race and in his racing past had raced on a street circuit exactly one time-in a kart. Auto racing history? South American Formula3. Oh,and he took the pole in Saturday's qualifying session. And he had never done a rolling start before. His name is Mauro Fartuszek (far - tc - zik), he's from Argentina, and he's fast. He also had some tire marks on the nose of his car at the end of the race. As street circuits go, St. Petersburg turned out to be pretty darn good; wide and interesting, there's even a set of corners that looked eerily like Spa's Eau Rouge, a quick left-right including the down-then-up elevation change. St. Pete also has bumps of all sizes and types, major off-camber exits and no grip to speak of. Which makes it no different than 99 percent of the American street races that have ever been. But none of this stopped Fartuszek from shocking the 28-driver field in qualifying, chock-full of both experienced Barber Dodgers and rookies. He took the pole by nipping-a 5/1000ths of a second nip-Fredrik Larsson, a race winner last year and who, along with Geoff Boss and Tim Moser, among others, is a leading championship contender. Moser, the '95 Skip Barber Racing Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year, was third-quick, followed by Nicolas Rondet of France, Thomas Schie of Norway and Boss, second to champion Jaki Scheckter last year. Memo Gidley, from whom much is expected, got caught out early in the qualifying session in Turn Two and crashed. The 1995 SCCA/USAC F2000 championship runner-up would start dead last. It was frantic and frenzied from the git-go. Larsson outbraked Fartuszek to lead through Turn One, Moser and Rondet inches behind. Fartuszek grabbed the lead back from Larsson on the next lap, then Moser took it from Fartuszek the lap after that. It was great dicing, and laid to rest any claims that there wasn't going to be any place to pass. But some of the moves Mauro made on Moser were preceded by some nose-to-gearbox contact-deliberate or "just racing," hard to say-that damaged Moser's rear suspension. Thus, on lap eight, Moser crashed big in "Eau Rouge," while in third place, just behind Larsson. After the cleanup and restart, Fartuszek could not shake either Larsson or Rondet, poised to make their moves in the wide and long braking zone for One. But they never got the chance. Tim Enoch clipped the wall at the exit of Seven while running impressively in fourth, tearing off his left-front wheel. Tony "Big Scholarship" Renna and Italian Rino Mastronardi tossed their way around the errant Goodyear, but Boss, in seventh, couldn't; steering broken, he banged into the wall, taking Jeff Willoughby with him. Willoughby's now-airborne and spinning Barber Dodge ripped out 10 feet of chainlink. With no chance to repair the fence in the time remaining (four minutes), the race was checkered under yellow. So Mystery Mauro wins, Larsson was second and Mastronardi, going virtually unnoticed as he stealthily made his way from 10th on the grid, was third. Classes in English As A Second Language are scheduled prior to round two at Sebring. Renna finished fourth on the track but was relegated to sixth, following a review of the ESPN tape, for improving his position prior to the start of the race. That put Derek Hill, Phil's 19-year-old son, in fourth and Seija Ara fifth. Bryan Selby, Steve Rikert, Denmark's Jakob Sund and Skip Streets rounded out the top 10. Gidley showed that he's going to be a driver to reckon with. From that dead-last start, he not only survived the race, but got himself to 12th, a points-paying position, to win the Most Progressive Driver award. Sebring is next up, where the Barber Dodge event is known for its multiple lead changes and extremely close racing. Fartuszek was talked to by race officials about his maybe-too-close style, but with so much talent this year, there's no predicting who'll too fast there. -Rick Roso

SCCA Pro Racing, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Round 1

RESULTS: Pos.(starting position), driver, laps, reason out. 1.(1) Mauro Fartuszek, 17 laps; 2.(2) Fredrik Larsson; 3.(10) Rino Mastronardi; 4.(8) Derek Hill; 5.(12) Seija Ara; *6.(7) Tony Renna; 8.(19) Steven Rikert; 9.(14) Jakob Sund; 10.(11) Skip Streets; 11.(15) Andres Felipe Gomez; 12.(28) Memo Gidley; 13.(22) G.J. Mennen; 14.(20) Chris Menninga; 15.(27) Leandro Larrosa; 16.(13)Jeff Bucknum; 17.(23) Nick O'Sullivan; 18.(25) Gary Glanger; 19.(26) Joe Vantreese; 20.(21) Rocky Moran, Jr.; 21.(24) Jarrett Boon; 22.(4) Nicolas Rondet, 14 (accident); 23.(9) Tim Enoch, 14 (accident); 24.(6) Geoff Boss, 13 (accident); 25.(16) Jeff Willoughby, 13 (accident); 26.(3) Tim Moser, 7 (accident); 27.(17) Wes Short, 6 (accident); 28.(5) Thomas Schie, 0 (accident). Time of Race: 28m:42.663sec; Distance: 27.71miles; Average Speed: 58.500mph; Margin of Victory: Finished Under Yellow; Fastest Race Lap: Rino Mastronardi, 1:09.124 (83.33mph); Lap Leaders: Larsson 1-1; Fartuszek 2-2; Moser 3-5; Fartuszek 6-17. *Car #9 penalized for Improper Start

Tape delay broadcast of round 1 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series is scheduled for March 10 at 4:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2

For more information on

 Skip Barber Racing School email to Barber Dodge Pro Series email to Rick Roso 

All typos are mine, with apologies

Greg Rickes

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