The National: Rounds 3 & 4 This Weekend

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 After a whirlwind season-opener at the A1GP event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – the two Skip Barber National Presented by RACER races were by far the best of the entire weekend – the National heads to VIR this weekend, supporting the Grand-Am Rolex and Grand-Am Cup headliners.

Marco Di Leo, younger brother of former Barber Dodge star Dan, won both races. The new-for-2006 points system means Di Leo is up just 16 points on Justin Moon (Benny’s brother), with Jonathan Goring, Alex Doman and Mario Adrian Ochoa also hot on Di Leo’s heels.

Alexander Rossi, if not for a young rookie mistake that saw him toss a second podium away at Laguna, has shown he’ll be a player, too. And we already know Duncan Ende and Andy Rossetto are going to run up front.

The National has raced at VIR the past three seasons. In 2003, Philippe Gelinas – who’ll race at Trois-Rivieres in August – won Saturday’s race and Ben Freudenberg took the Sunday honors (A1GP star Salvador Duran, truck-winner Matt Jaskol and Zilvinas Oskutis also snagged podiums).

In 2004, Chris Prey (Atlantics) and Benny Moon (now a winner in midgets and sprints on the west coast) won the VIR rounds; eventual champion Marco Andretti, championship runner-up Gerardo Bonilla and Lorenzo Mandarino rang up the rest of the podium spots.

Last year, it was a Bonilla weekend. He won Saturday’s race in the closest-ever finish in series history, .007 over Mandarino, then took third on Sunday. Cole Nelson won Sunday’s race, a couple of tenths over Jordy Vorrath.

VIR’s Turn One, Oak Tree and Turn 14 provide excellent passing opportunities for ultra-competitive drivers – the very definition of this year’s SBN field! Look for some surprises…

VIR’s Turn 14; less famous than Oak Tree but an even better passing opportunity — if you have the guts…

Rick Roso

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