Southern & Western at Sebring Full Course

Thursday, February 24, 2005 The combined Southern/Western Race Series weekend on Sebring’s 12-Hour full course was fantastic. Perfect weather, great racing and a big field (70+ drivers) — and the mechanics and crew did a stellar job of keeping things running smoothly.

Read all about it!

Lots of drivers, lots of fun; that was Sebring Western/Southern 2005!

G1R1 (Sportsman)
Jack A-Ten was Jack A-One in this race, leading all nine laps from pole in his #68. Four drivers each improved four positions from grid to checker, but it was Jay Fuchs able to make the most of it. He started sixth, was up to fourth by the end of the opening lap, then dogged Pat Daly for P2 from lap three to eight. What we didn’t know until the end was that Pat had lost a clutch on lap three — he was learning to drive clutchless for the first time and holding on to second! It finally bit him on the last lap, when he couldn’t find second gear and missed his turn-in at Three; that bill came due when he tracked out too early, causing his spin on the last lap. That gave Fuchs second (he also set fastest race-lap), Alain Roger Matrat third, followed by George Ebel, David Emig, freshman Mark Lopilato, Nicholas Spencer, new guy Marc Sluszny, Christopher Peters and newbie Jeffrey “I want a” Poarch. Chris Brassard was putting in a tremendous drive from 13th at the start: He was all the way to fifth after just three laps but fell victim to a broken gearbox.

G1R2 (Sportsman)

Make that Jack A-One-One! Again, he went pole-to-checker, and again Fuchs got second, after first dicing with Nicholas Spencer (something happened that made him fall back 13th) then Ron Hayter, who wound up third (from 16th!) and set fastest race-lap. Ebel got another fine fourth, and Brassard took solace from his R1 problem by getting a fifth. Daly, Peters, Emig, Sluszny and A.R.M. rounded out the top 10.

The podium for G3 Championship Race Two: Jeff Relic (c.) nipped Alan Sciuto (l.) by 0.070! Cole Nelson, one of the Karting Scholarship winners, was third, and stands next to Dom Bastien, the Western Series Masters points leader. I’ll let you figure out who’s who between those two…

G3R1 (Championship)
Polesitter Jeff Relic rollicked and rolled to victory, putting a garish 13-second MoV on Cole Nelson and Brent Milner. Nelson, one of the two Skip Barber Karting Scholarship runners-up, rocketed up to the podium from 11th on the grid, getting past Milner with three to go. Chris Hill was nearly as impressive, shooting from 12th to fourth. Alan Sciuto, the Skip Barber/Snap-On Stars of Karting Scholarship winner, was impressive in a different manner; though he started on the front row and fell back to fifth in the scrum of the opening laps, Sciuto pulled off an amazing move to avoid a spinning Lucas McConnell on lap three. He lost a ton of spots but got back to fifth at the end, putting up fastest lap to boot. Richard Heistand was sixth, followed by Laura Rowe, Jonathan Miller, Jeff Kaiser and Curt Berg. Western Series Masters points leader Dom Bastien was 11th.

G3R2 (Championship)
Whoa! Relic and Sciuto went at it like you read about in this seven-lapper, poleman Relic eventually nipping Sciuto by less than a 10th of a second. Nelson was third, Hill fourth and Rowe fifth. Bastien, John Peterson, Milner, Miller, Heistand and Tom Roberts completed the runners, as Gary Manheimer had a big one in the Hairpin after running up the back of Berg; both guys are fine.

That’s right, look at Brian and Brent — just like the sign says… Whoa, wait a second. Is AC/DC’s lead singer doing a cute little leg flip? And is Brent enjoying it? Is that sign missing a ”W” and an ”O”?

G4R1 (Sportsman)
Duncan Ende[s] his win drought and he couldn’t do it on a more appropriate day: Birthday! In this nine-lapper, Tom “Toasty” Brown was the poleman, Michael Gomez alongside, Murray “Magic” Marden third and newbie Steven Piantieri fourth. TB led the first go-round, then Gomez the next lap, then — amazingly — Ende was the leader of lap three. The lap chart reveals his #25 started 11th, then was fifth by the Ende (sic) of the first lap and second by lap two. He and Gomez ran in lockstep for four laps, but Gomez put the pass on for the lead during lap seven. He held it for one more, but Ende snatched the lead back on the last lap! Good stuff. Brown, having shuffled himself back to fifth on the second lap, drove like a champ (on a track he’d never been to before, believe it or not) to work his way home to third. First-timer James “Not William” Holden looked like a pro, dicing and slicing from ninth to finish fourth, while the other new boy, “Joey Pants” Piantieri, was fifth. Carlos Lllllllllllllllano took sixth, Chris Weldon seventh, followed by “Murray the M” Marden, and two Christophers: Brassard and Lee. Rhonda “Boot” Hill, newbie Mark “Interceptor” Jenson, Brandon Huff, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson (he was on the Highway to Hell, cuz we Back in Black Flagged him by accident. Sorry!) and Joe “Not Lee” Trevino rounded out the entire field.

Jack Aten kicked some butt, going two-for-two in G2 Sportsman.

G4R2 (Sportsman)
“Toasty” Brown and “Not William” Holden put on a terrific show, with great dicing and wheel to wheel action, with Tom taking advantage of a James miscue a couple laps from the end to win. Gomez came home third, followed by Marden, Piantieri, Llano, Trevino, Jensen, Huff and Hill. Polesitter Ende got a little bit too excited and fell off the road as the field blasted into Turn One the first time, and he wound up classified 11th. Lee DNF’d (officially 12th) after contact with Ende, while new driver John “I’m Not Related to Peter Argetsinger!” Aigeltinger was 13th. In 14th was Brian Johnson, who could not find an exit off his highway to hell cuz this time we ran ‘im outa gas! (Yes, just as we would for any of our drivers, we’ll do the right thing for BJ…)

Duncan Ende (c.) won Saturday’s G4 Sportsman race, his first Skippy win! Michael Gomez (l.) was P2 (P3 on Sunday), while Tom “Toasty” Brown (second from right) got third, then won on Sunday. Newbie James Holden (far right) was fourth in R1 and second in R2!

G5R1 (Championship)
Craig Duerson, Matt Franc and Matt Varsha walked the field in this one after regular frontrunners Jonathan Miller, Charles Anti and Tom Roberts had some inappropriate touches early on, and Brent Milner spun. Franc and Duerson traded the lead a couple times right in front of Varsha, but Duerson made a last-lap move on Franc (whose 2:26.962 was the fastest lap of the weekend) for the victory. Sy Aryeh came home alone in a fine fourth, with Laura Rowe, David “P.” Libby, Paul “The Man with Two First Names” Albert and Pablo Sanchez Lopez in a tight pack as they crossed the stripe. Jim Craige and Winston “P.” DeWardt rounded out the top 10.

G5R2 (Championship)
Varsha took the lead on the first lap — it was the fastest lap of the race! — but then stuck it in the fence when he went too hot into T-1 the next time by. Franc grabbed P1, but good buddy Duerson would have none of it and took the lead on lap four. Franc stuck with him but could not find a way by, crossing the line just a 10th behind Craig. Sy the Aryeh Guy was awesome coming home third, the only driver besides Varsha to get into the :27s and finishing just a half-second back. Lopez worked his way to fourth, Rowe did a great job taking fifth, while DeWardt and Albert shot across the finish line virtually as one. Milner, Miller and Anti rounded out the top 10, while Johnson was Back in Black, getting to finish a race! (11th)

Turns out Sy Aryeh, besides being fast (a fourth and a third in G5 Championship, and the Johnny Carson Memorial Race winner), is also a ”shooter.” Thanks for some awesome pix, guy

Johnny Carson Memorial
Lots of action (had to have been, when you see timing & scoring notes that include the phrase “OH MY GOD!”). Let’s see… Daly led. Rowe led. Anti led. Sciuto led. Sy led. And Sy led the most important lap, number nine. And he came from a last-place starting spot! Way to go…

With four races to go in the Western Series, Tim Traver has a pretty commanding lead, but Dom Bastien and Curt Berg are a single point apart in the battle for second. Within easy spittin’ distance is Jeff Kaiser, in fourth. In Sportsman, Sprague Theobald is up 25 tallies on John Scalmanini, with Wayne Williams and Duncan Ende still in the title hunt. Bastien, Burg and Kaiser head the closely fought Masters championship.

Down South, Varsha is in another zip code, up 151 points over Chris Hill, who needs to keep an eye on David “P.” Libby, Laura Rowe and Craig Duerson. Mike Gomez has the Sportsman lead, with Carlos Llano and Murray Marden right there. In Masters, “P.” Libby has a healthy lead over Craig Duerson.

Up next? Lots of stuff!

Out West, rounds 11 & 12 are March 11-13 (the same weekend as rounds three and four of the Masters National), and the finale weekend is April 8-10, both at Laguna Seca, one of the best tracks anywhere to race.

The Southern Series’ rounds 11 & 12 are hosted by Savannah, Ga.’s exciting Roebling Road, March 4-6, with the finale weekend set for the totally awesome Daytona 24-Hour Course April 1-3.

Of course, our professional National Championship opens soon, as one of the supporting events of one of the world’s biggest races, the 12 Hours of Sebring (March 16-19).

As long as we’re at it, here are the schedules for the upcoming East & Midwest Series…

2005 Skip Barber Eastern Race Series
April 22-24, Virginia International Raceway
May 12-14, Lime Rock Park
May 27-29, Watkins Glen International
July 1-3, Road America
July 14-16, Lime Rock Park
July 29-31, Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant
Sept. 2-4, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Oct. 13-15, Lime Rock Park

2005 Skip Barber Midwest Race Series
April 22-24, Virginia International Raceway
May 27-29, Watkins Glen International
July 1-3, Road America
July 29-31, Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant
Sept. 2-4, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Sept. 30 – Oct. 1-2, Road America

The Hairpin complex, at night, a trail of light from a cyclist during the annual “24 Hours of Sebring” charity event. Cool shot, Sy…

Photos by Eleven, and Sy the Photo Gy

Rick Roso

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