East & Midwest Race Series at Watkins Glen

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 The thunder rolled across the track once a day usually in time to soak groups four and five but occasionally the sun shone and Chris Weldon, Jared Fisher, Randy Youngsma and Ari Gatoff had their first wins in an action packed Watkins Glen.

Midwest Sportsman Race 1
At the start Adrian Dixon took off with pole sitter Chris Weldon hard on his heels and an equally hard charging duo of George Kline and Chris Brassard close behind. Behind them a long train of 14 cars drafted for position. By lap two Weldon had passed Dixon who now had to contend with Jason Wiener up from 7th. On lap four new driver Chris Davis spun in turn one and Rick Balsley was caught out. Both had to retire. At the front Weldon was extending his lead and Wiener and Dixon continued to trade places followed by Chris Brassard and Carlos Llano. On lap 7 Llano crashed heavily in the laces bringing out the yellow flag for two laps to retrieve his car. On the restart Dixon passed Weldon and a lap later Brassard drafted by and the leader of the first seven laps suddenly was back in third with his mirrors full of Steve Ablondi and Mike Kolacki these two having demoted Wiener to 6th. With two to go Weldon reasserted his lead with a drafting pass into the Bus stop and at the flag it was a delighted Chris Weldon taking his first win followed closely by Adrian Dixon who also collected first Masters Points and Chris Brassard. Steve Ablondi took 4th and Jason Wiener got 5th back from Mike Kolacki who finished 6th with Mike Gomez 7th. Rookie of the race went to 8th place finisher George Kline whilst Carlos Llano had fastest race lap before his crash.

That’s Rookie of the Race George Kline far left, second place Adrian Dixon alongside, then FTW (yea!) Chris Weldon and third place Chris Brassard.

Midwest Sportsman Race 2
In Sunday’s race Chris Weldon made no mistakes heading Chris Brassard into turn one with Adrian Dixon in third and a long pack of Steve Ablondi, Mike Kolacki, Jason Wiener, George Kline and the rest following in a train. Dixon gets by Brassard on lap two and two laps later Steve Ablondi makes his pass stick. The order is now Weldon and Dixon ahead with Steve Ablondi leading the pack consisting of Chris Brassard, Jason Wiener, Carlos Llano, Michael Gomez and Mike Kolacki. On lap four Llano passes Wiener at the Bus Stop and a lap later gets by Chris Brassard at the same place. With Weldon still out front the field now broke into two by two skirmishes Ablondi and Dixon, Brassard and Llano, Gomez and Kolacki, Balsey and Kline, Davis and Maloney back from an early spin, Peters and Hahn, Scott and Martinez. With Andrew Piscitello who had spun himself out of a good dice with Peters and Hahn and Jeffrey Pietz bringing up the rear with the save of the day in turn 11. Near the front Wiener succumbs to pressure and spins into the barrier. A delighted Chris Weldon takes his second win of the weekend with Steve Ablondi who also records fastest race lap in 2nd , Adrian Dixon 3rd and Carlos Llano 4th gets the better of Chris Brassard 5th. Mike Gomez finishes 6th and Mike Kolacki 7th.

Buddies Chris Peters (l.) and Mike Gomez scored a fine 12 and 33 points respectively.

Eastern Championship Race 1
The track was soaked by a heavy shower of rain and at the start everyone headed for turn one in a big ball of spray with Randy Youngsma leading Charles Anti and rain master Bill Hammer close behind. On the second lap it was all change as Charles Anti took the lead from Hammer with Youngsma back to third and being pressured by Michael Auriemma. Another lap and again the order changed with Hammer slipping back to 4th and Youngsma and Auriemma taking the 2nd and 3rd spots. Behind these two young AJ Riley having disposed of Milka Duno was catching the leaders when his gearbox failed and sent him into retirement in the pits. A lap later Hammer spun off and had to pit for his safety check dropping him from 4th to 9th. The front settled down with Charles Anti well out in front, Youngsma 2nd and Auriemma 3rd. Dom Bastien had taken up the 4th spot followed by Steven Goldstein and the recovering Bill Hammer. Goldstein spun at turn 11 with two laps to go and Bastien spun at turn eight with one to go and Hammer slipped by both to claim 4th with Steven Mayer 5th and Dom Bastien recovering to take 6th.

Eastern Championship Race 2
With Charles Anti absent Randy Youngsma took charge from the start and Michael Auriemma gave chase with Dom Bastien and Bill Hammer right there. A first lap incident at turn one put Gavin Macgregor and an angry Steve Mayer who was in 4th into the pits for a safety check. As Auriemma tried hard to catch Youngsma, Bastien held 3rd , Todor Mitev took over the 4th place ahead of the hard charging AJ Riley. Into the mix came Peter Ludwig but not for long as he slid off the track and enabled AJ to pass Bastien. Mitev spun back from 5th to 8th . At the checker Randy Youngsma took his first win and maximum Masters points with Michael Auriemma a mere four tenths back in 2nd. AJ Riley took his first podium in 3rd with Dom Bastien 4th,Milka Duno 5th, and Steven Goldstein 6th.

Another first-time winner was Randy Youngsma, flanked by P2 Michale Auriemma (l.) and A.J. Riley.

Eastern Sportsman Race 1
The heavens opened and the drivers prepared for a wet race but the shower was brief so the track was damp but not swamped. Jared Fisher led from the green flag but all eyes were on Michele Marden who had qualified 4th and was up to 2nd by the second lap and briefly led between the Bus Stop and the Toe of the boot when Joe Trevino took the lead. As the track started to dry Chris Brassard, up from 6th, took command of the lead and suddenly Michele found herself shuffled back in the pack as the hard charging Adrian Dixon and Ari Gatoff carried Russell Hodgson to the front. The field broke into two battles with Gatoff and Dixon fighting for 1st, Chris Brassard in 3rd (sitting back hoping they would knock each other off) and Hodgson leading a train consisting of Trevino, Fisher, Marden and Jim Lowe. Lowe spun himself out of the train at turn nine. At the front Gatoff continued to drive defensively and the experienced Dixon tried his best to find a safe way round the novice but at the flag Ari Gatoff claimed his first win by eight hundredths of a second and Adrian Dixon felt the frustration of missing that first win by so little. Chris Brassard took 3rd with Russell Hodgson 4th, Joe Trevino 5th, Jared Fisher 6th and Michele Marden a disappointed 7th.

The ever-improving Michele Marden was disappointed with her fourth-to-seventh slide in the first race, but she was a star in race two, snagging fourth. And Rookie of the Race Trey Parrish loved going from 12th to eighth!

Eastern Sportsman Race 2
Another day another race and it was dry. Adrian Dixon took off early and was immediately black-flagged for jumping the start. He stopped for his stop and go penalty and rejoined in 9th place. Chris Brassard took over the lead but was tagged by the over zealous Ari Gatoff who then hit the wall hard in turn 11 whilst avoiding a spinning Trevino. This stopped the race for half an hour whilst the crews at Watkins Glen repaired the wall and speedy dried the oil. Ari Gatoff was given a clean bill of health by the medical team and seemed unfazed by the huge hit. On the restart Jared Fisher took up the lead with Russell Hodgson in 2nd and Adrian Dixon back up to 3rd.Behind these three Michele Marden was fending off Chris Brassard who was back up from 11th after his safety check. With two laps to go Hodgson was all over Fisher with Dixon a few lengths back and this was how the race finished. Jared Fisher took his first win Russell Hodgson a very close 2nd, Adrian Dixon 3rd and more Masters points. Michele Marden a fine 4th, Chris Brassard 5th, Nick Spencer 6th and Michael Kratz in 7th.

Midwest Championship Race 1
Charles Anti settled into a rhythm from the start and never looked to be in danger but behind him Michael Auriemma led a train consisting of AJ Riley, Bill Hammer, Milka Duno, Duncan Ende and Jonathan Gore. Milka was the first to spin out at turn 5 and dropped from 4th to last. As Anti drew even further ahead the fight for 2nd place heated up with Hammer leading Auriemma and Ende. Coming into turn 5 Bill Hammer lifted a little late and spun near the apex, miraculously Auriemma missed him but also had a spin. Duncan Ende was not so lucky and hit Hammer’s car hard bringing out the full course yellow. Time was running out as the safety crew tried to clean up the track so the decision was made to finish the race under yellow. At the flag Charles Anti won from Jonathan Gore with AJ Riley 3rd, Christopher Wehrheim 4th, and the recovered Michael Auriemma in 5th (taking the Masters points) Mark Fee in 6th and Tom Brown in 7th.

Midwest Championship Race 2
Jonathan Gore led from the flag but Michael Auriemma was on a mission. Starting from 4th Auriemma took the lead going into turn one on the second lap but Jonathan Gore, Chris Wehrheim, Duncan Ende and AJ Riley were all falling over themselves to take the first spot away. Eventually it was Gore who got the first spot back and Wehrhiem demoted Auriemma to 3rd with a fine pass going into the Bus Stop. What a scrap! Everyone close and no-one making a mistake until Duncan Ende who had run as high as 2nd spun himself out of 3rd place one lap from the checker! At the flag Jonathan Gore finished 1st with Michael Auriemma 2nd and a fine drive from Chris Wehrheim netted him 3rd ahead of Milka Duno 4th, AJ Riley 5th, Tom Brown 6th, who got the better of Mark Fee in 6th and the hapless Duncan Ende who had spun from an admirable 3rd to dead last.

Eddie Albert Green Acres Memorial
Peter Ludwig came in Sunday especially to run the Memorial in preparation for the Invitational race in ten days time and started at the back with instructor Josh Rehm. Ludwig timed the start to perfection and flew up the left wall at the start to take the lead into turn one, behind him John Mayes held 2nd and Duncan Ende 3rd. But as the laps wound down Ludwig spins and Auriemma and Riley touch putting them both out of the race. Meanwhile Josh Rehm patiently works his way through the field, 8th on lap one, 6th on lap four, 4th on lap seven and into the lead when Auriemma and Riley touch. Ludwig steps on the gas and sets fastest lap trying to stay with the leader Josh Rehm but has to deal with an on form John Mayes who takes 2nd , Peter Ludwig finished 3rd and claimed a new lap record.

In the Eastern Championship, Michael Auriemma (263 points) leads Randy Youngsma (195) with Dom Bastien (171) in third. These three also head the Masters points. In the Eastern Sportsman class, Adrian Dixon (156 points) leads over Chris Brassard (132) with Jared Fisher (126) in third.

The Midwest Championship points leader is Pablo Sanchez Lopez (225 points), ahead of Chris Wehrheim (181) and Jonathan Frost (148). In Sportsman, Steve Ablondi (117 points) leads Igor Sushko (103) and Chris Weldon (102). Tom Brown (108) lheads up Midwest Masters, with Michael Gomez second (78) and John Petersen third (54).

IMPORTANT! Belive it or not, there are actually a few seats still open for the special June 9-11 Skip Barber Invitational at Watkins Glen! If you ever dreamed of racing in front of a big, pro-weekend audience, this is a once-in-a-blue moon opportunity. Call your Series Advisor a.s.a.p. so that you don’t miss out!

REMINDER A: Road America, just north of Milwaukee, is a fantastic race track, and the next Race Weekend — a giant one — is there. It’s East and Midwest and National and Masters National. Huge fun, big parties, lots to do…

REMINDER B: The 107th Annual (well, okay, 2nd Annual) Skip Barber Racing Golf Tournament at world-famous Silo Ridge Country Club is Sunday, July 17, the day after Rounds 9 & 10 of the Eastern Series. It costs you nothing, other than your pride when Divi kicks all of our butts! Call Todd Snyder or Kelly Deneen to reserve your spot.

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