SBRS: Western Race Series season opener Fontana report

Mashburn triples at Fontana The Skip Barber Western Race Series kicked off the new year at California Speedway in Fontana, California last weekend for the fourth of seven race weekends. Jim Mashburn had an outstanding weekend, taking three ...

Mashburn triples at Fontana

The Skip Barber Western Race Series kicked off the new year at California Speedway in Fontana, California last weekend for the fourth of seven race weekends. Jim Mashburn had an outstanding weekend, taking three wins, while Derek Deboer made his mark with his first ever win. The weekend tightened up the points race for the championship as Ricky Schmidt encountered mechanical difficulties, keeping him from scoring maximum points, while Yoshihio Murata, Mashburn, and Deboer made the most of the weekend to get themselves closer to the championship battle. Brian Frisselle held on to his points lead after taking a win and finishing second during the weekend.

The first race of the weekend got underway with Ricky Schidt leading the field to the green flag from pole position. Jim Mashburn got the jump, though, and led the first lap. Mashburn held on to the lead until the fifth lap, when he went wide, allowing Tim Traver and Schmidt to get by. Meanwhile, a huge battle for P4 developed between Zeev Drori and Dave House. Battle for the lead raged on until the last lap, when contact between Traver and Schmidt allowed Mashburn, who had waited patiently behind, to take the overall and Masters win, with Traver taking second place and Zeev Drori landing on the podium as well.

The second race of the day saw John Knudsen lead from the pole, but Brian Frisselle took the point on the second lap and held onto the lead for the next seven laps. Knudsen retook the lead on lap nine, but Frisselle fought back and held on to lead the next five laps before Kndusen once again took the lead and the win, making him the second overall and Masters winner on the day. Frisselle finished second with David House moving up from sixth starting spot to claim third. Knudsen also set the new track record with a 1:52.840 on lap 14.

The last race of the day saw Mashburn convert his pole position into a flawless run to the checkerd flag, with Traver coming home in second spot and Yoshihiro Murata claiming the last spot on the podium after starting the race in sixth. Vito Racano took Most Progressive honors with his move up from eighth starting spot to finish fourth.

Group one met again on Sunday to put on a near replay of Saturdays race. Mashburn, Traver and Schmidt battled for the top spots, exchanging spots on the podium throughout. Zeev Drori had an off course excursion, and was unable to match his podium finish from the previous day. Schmidt and Traver seemed to show that their cars were magnetized to one another, making contact late in the race for the second day in a row when Schmidts car abruptly lost power, forcing Traver into him, leaving Mashburn to take the win again.

The showdown between Frisselle and Knudsen had its second chapter for the weekend in the second race for group two, with both racers picking up where they left off, exchanging the lead back and forth in the early laps, with Frisselle taking the lead on the second lap, and never relinquishing it. Yoshihiro Murata and Bret MacDonald battled over third, with Murata claiming the spot and holding on to the finish. John Knudsen was the winner in the Masters category.

Group threes second race of the weekend held some fantastic battles as Derek Deboer, Tim Traver, Yoshi Murata and Brian Johnson all scrambled for positions around California Speedway before Mashburn spun late in the race, and was unable to make up the time to the front, leaving him to finish in sixth place, his only finish off the podium, and out of the winners circle, all weekend. Derek Deboer was ecstatic with his first win in the Series, and Rick Graves took home the honors in the Masters Category.

The last race of the weekend was the Maurice Gibb Enduro, with eight teams of two drivers competing in the long-distance event. Every team approached strategy differently, trying to minimize time in the pits and be efficient with driver changes. The closing laps of the race saw the team of Robbie Montinola and Burt Frisselle, who will be racing each other this season in the Pro Series, battling with Knudsen and Brian Johnson. A close finish saw Team Montinola/Frisselle keep their perfect record in the Enduro Series in the West, laying down the gauntlet for another team to try and topple them.

There are three race weekends remaining in the Skip Barber Western Race Series, and the Series will race next on the full Sebring 12 Hour layout in February.

2003 Skip Barber Western Race Series:
February 15, 2003 Sebring International Raceway (Full Course)
March 15, 2003 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
April 5, 2003 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Burt Frisselle , Skip Barber , John Knudsen , Brian Johnson , Tim Traver , Brett MacDonald , Robbie Montinola