SBRS: Watkins Glen race story

SECOND CONSECUTIVE FOR SIMMONS WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 28, from Rick Roso) - Jeff Simmons took the pole position in qualifying, then led every lap to win round four of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Watkins Glen International, his second ...

SECOND CONSECUTIVE FOR SIMMONS WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 28, from Rick Roso) - Jeff Simmons took the pole position in qualifying, then led every lap to win round four of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Watkins Glen International, his second consecutive win. With the victory, and his win in round three at the Detroit Grand Prix, Simmons moves to third in points, despite missing the championship's first round back in March. Fellow rookie driver Nilton Rossoni of Brazil finished second, and Rocky Moran, Jr., third.

The first try at the start was waved off, but on the next go around the green flew, and Simmons led the 29-car field through One. ''Rio Big Scholarship'' driver Shane Donley, starting fourth, outbraked Moran and Rossoni to take second. Simmons proceeded to open a three-car gap to Donley, who had all he could handle from Moran and Rossoni. On lap eight, Rocky tried Donley going into the chicane and got it all wrong, losing a spot to not only Rossoni, but Rino Mastronardi as well. A lap later, Memo Rojas tried a very late pass on Martin Stenshorne going into One, spinning Stenshorne out, who wound up high-siding his Reynard on the cliff-like curb. A full-course caution was called.

On the re-start, it was a wild scramble heading into the chicane: Moran got Mastronardi, while Rossoni got Donley. At this point we noticed Mastronardi starting to fall backwards, and would find out later that he had both a misfire and gearbox problems. The defending race winner finally parked it on lap 15.

Two laps later, Moran made a stab at Donley in One, making it work, and began to hunt down Rossoni. When Victor Gonzalez, in a full-fledged dustup with Sepp Koster, Giovanni Anapoli, Todd Snyder, Will Langhorne and others, dropped a wheel at the exit of the chicane and slid hard into the tires, the track went full-course again. Just as Rossoni was going to make his move on Simmons. Rossoni went around Simmons, but he figured out after a couple laps of caution that he would have get back behind Simmons. When the Gonzalez incident was cleaned up, and the Puerto Rican removed from his Reynard on a backboard, a precautionary move as he was complaining of some neck pain, there were only six minutes left. A five-lap shootout was on tap.

But Simmons wanted no part of any last-lap drama, and Rossoni admitted later he had let the tires cool too much, and so Simmons was able to put a three car length lead on Rossoni, who did likewise to Moran. Simmons has now led every lap of the past two races, and was the polesitter to boot in both.

"The car was understeering like mad in Turn 1," Simmons said. "This was a lot harder than Detroit. I drove defensively into One and the chicane, because I could tell Nilton was very fast."

Indeed he was: "I was closing on Jeff, and we were both really quick," Rossoni said. "When I tried my move, the yellow came out, then my tires cooled too much and I couldn't get close again. But still, a good race."

Points leader Snyder? Not any more, as Thomas Schie's sixth-place finish gives him a one point lead. Snyder and Anapoli touched in Turn One after the first caution, bending, for the second race in a row, one of Snyder's front wings. He did well to finish 10th.

Barber Dodge heads to Cleveland next, a venue that no one in the field has ever driven before. The points battle is tighter than ever. At this point, everything is truly up for grabs.

Results Sunday of 40-minute Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Watkins Glen International, 2.45-mile, 8-turn (plus chicane) road course, with starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown or country, winner's average speed, laps completed, reason out, if any, and prize money. All cars identical Reynard Dodge V6, open-wheel, single-seat race cars on Michelin racing tires.

1 (1) Jeff Simmons, Granby, Conn., 85.859 mph, 24 laps, $12,000 2 (3) Nilton Rossoni, Brazil, 24, $8,000 3 (2) Rocky Moran, Jr., Coto de Caza, Calif., 24, $6,000 4 (4) Shane Donley, Las Vegas, 24, $4,000 5 (7) Sepp Koster, The Netherlands, 24, $2,500 6 (5) Thomas Schie, Norway, 24, $2,000 7 (13) Giovanni Anapoli, Italy, 24, $1,800 8 (12) Will Langhorne, Washington, D.C., 24, $1,700 9 (9) Nicolas Rondet, France, 24, $1,600 10 (10) Todd Snyder, Sheffield, Mass., 24, $1,500 11 (11) Jon Fogarty, Portola Valley, Calif., 24, $1,400 12 (21) Giovanni Gulinelli, Italy, 24, $1,800 13 (14) Alex Gurney, Newport Beach, Calif., 24, $1,200 14 (16) John McCaig, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 24, $1,100 15 (22) Samer Hindi, Los Angeles, 24, $1,000 16 (18) Eric Tresslar, Denver, 24, $500 17 (17) Memo Rojas, Jr., Mexico, 24, $500 18 (23) Tom Woods, Rancho Cordova, Calif., 24, $500 19 (19) Jarrett Boon, Phoenix, 24, $500 20 (28) Jamie Menninga, Pella, Iowa, 24, $500 21 (27) Charles Willis, Germantown, Tenn., 24, $500 22 (25) Townsend Bell, Santa Barbara, Calif., 24, $500 23 (20) Brian Pelke, Lansing, Ill., 24, $500 24 (29) Scott Mayer, Franklin, Wis., 24, $500 25 (24) Peter Boss, Narragansett, R.I., 24, $500 26 (26) Gregg Borland, Elkhart Lake, Wis., 24, $500 27 (8) Victor Gonzalez, Jr., Hatoray, Puerto Rico, 15, accident, $500 28 (6) Rino Mastronardi, Italy, 1, mechanical, $500 29 (15) Martin Stenshorne, Norway, 1, spin, $500

Race Length: 24 laps of 2.45-mile circuit for 58.800 miles Time: 41 minutes, 5.432 seconds Average speed: 85.859 mph Lap leaders: Simmons, 1 - 24 Margin of victory: .510 seconds Fastest race lap: N/A Fastest qualifier: Simmons, 1:15.422, 116.942 mph

Points after 4 of 12 rounds: 1. Thomas Schie, 53 2. Todd Snyder, 52 3. Jeff Simmons, 48 4. Sepp Koster, 36 5. Will Langhorne, 34 6. Shane Donley, 32 7. Rino Mastronardi, 28 8. Rocky Moran, Jr., 25 9. Tom Woods, 19 10. Nilton Rossoni, 16

Next race: Cleveland, July 12 -end

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Alex Gurney , Peter Boss , Jon Fogarty , Townsend Bell , Memo Rojas , Nilton Rossoni , Sepp Koster , Will Langhorne , Scott Mayer , Tom Wood , Jeff Simmons , Todd Snyder , Rocky Moran , Jarrett Boon , Rino Mastronardi