CARTECH FM CHALLENGE TOP HONORS GOES TO FUTRELLE AT VIR Round Two featured 13 cars battling for position in Virginia ALTON, VA. (April 20, 2009) -- Round Two of the Cartech FM Challenge is now in the record books, following an entertaining event...
CARTECH FM CHALLENGE TOP HONORS GOES TO FUTRELLE AT VIR
Round Two featured 13 cars battling for position in Virginia
ALTON, VA. (April 20, 2009) -- Round Two of the Cartech FM Challenge is now in the record books, following an entertaining event over the weekend (April 18-19) at Virginia International Raceway. Franklin Futrelle, the reigning series champion and SCCA National Champion, extended his early season championship lead with his second win of the season, ahead of Jeremy Grenier and Bruce Lawrence.
In ideal warm spring conditions, the second event on the six-round Cartech FM Challenge race calendar got away on Saturday with the lone qualifying session on the fast Virginia road course. As part of the SCCA Club Double National Oak Tree event, the biggest obstacle the Formula Mazda drivers were forced to overcome in the session was finding space to turn a fast lap, with a total 53 cars taking part in the session. Futrelle managed to do just that, posting a fast lap of 1:55.348, securing the pole position for Round Two. Behind the championship leader on the time charts, Victor Seaber and Lawrence routinely traded fastest laps, with Seaber eventually earning the P2 starting position for his first Cartech FM Challenge race of the season. Lawrence, Grenier and Curt Harrelson completed the top-five in qualifying.
Returning to the 3.27-mile VIR road course one day later, the start to Round Two proved quite dramatic. As Futrelle enjoyed a clean getaway at the front of the 13-car Cartech FM challenge field, Grenier sliced his way through the assorted formula car traffic into turn one, exiting the right-handed turn in second place among the Formula Mazda contingent, just ahead of Lawrence. For Seaber things did not go as smoothly, as he fell to sixth, behind Steve Jenks and Guy Pipitone. Further adding to the drama, the yellow flags soon waved around the course for a Formula Enterprises car crashing heavily exiting turn one.
When the race resumed on lap three, Futrelle remained the driver to beat, quickly establishing a multi-car advantage on the rest of the field. Behind the leader, the action heated up, as Seaber quickly recovered from his poor start. Working his way up to fourth place, he and Lawrence became engaged in heated battle for the final podium position. Remaining within a few car lengths of the second place car of Grenier, the duo not only passed one another multiple times, but often went side-by-side on the straights and under breaking. Not surprisingly the order was only decided via the waving of the checkered flag. Futrelle, leading all 14 laps, scored his second win of the season by 15.887s over Grenier. A further two seconds back, Lawrence completed the top-three, narrowly edging Seaber, while Pipitone completed the top-five.
The six-race Cartech FM Challenge, which features a $10,000 prize fund, returns to action on May 31st, with the series drivers taking to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Round Three.