Imrie fourth in Formula Dodge Championship. Toronto, Ontario (October 14, 2002): Nineteen-year-old Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, clinched fourth place in the "Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer", Saturday, despite having...
Imrie fourth in Formula Dodge Championship.
Toronto, Ontario (October 14, 2002): Nineteen-year-old Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, clinched fourth place in the "Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer", Saturday, despite having one of his worst outings of the year. Going into the season-ending race at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, he was safely fourth in the standings, but only two points out of third. He was hopeful of stealing the place, but a difficult weekend culminated with a thirteenth-place finish.
Following years of success racing karts, Imrie advanced to open-wheel cars this year, thanks to a Barber-CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Karting Scholarship. The seven-event, thirteen-race series took him across North America to some of the continent's most famous tracks where he claimed six top-five finishes, including a win.
A consistent top-ten qualifier with one pole to his credit this year, Imrie saw his troubles begin early at Lime Rock when he qualified an uncharacteristic fifteenth.
"I just wasn't getting anywhere in qualifying," he reported, "And when I finally figured out what I needed to do and what changes I needed on the car, there was no time left. Overall, I have qualified well this year, so I just put it down to an off day."
Rain soaked the track as the cars lined up to race and Imrie looked forward to making lots of passes on the wet, slippery circuit. When the green flag waved, his challenge instantly became even bigger as he made a poor start and found himself near last. Never losing focus, he was soon rushing through the field. As he sped toward a top-ten finish, a driver ahead of him put a wheel onto the muddy infield. Blinded by mud splattered on his visor, Imrie tried to avoid a collision with the errant car, but they made contact and spun lazily as several cars filed past.
Once more, he was near the bottom of the order and, with less than half the 25-lap race remaining, he had to do it all again. Nose to the grindstone, Imrie was able to climb to thirteenth. In two runs from the back, he'd passed many cars, but had fallen short of the result he needed to take third in the championship.
"It was an exciting race," said Imrie. "But not the finish I needed. I did my best all season and, in the end, I was right there with the top guys so I'm proud. I would like to thank Skip Barber Racing for making it possible because, without the scholarship, I would not have been able to do this. Everyone in the organization did a great job and I particularly want to mention the mechanics and test drivers who worked really hard during the race weekends. I also wish to thank my family for supporting me from the beginning. They have played an important role in my achievements."