Duerson, Ferris, Ardoin top three in Regional Run-offJan 09, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007 At Homestead Miami Speedway, in the closest finish in Skip Barber Regional Run-off history, Craig Duerson held off Matt Ferris, Alex Ardoin and Ricky Taylor to win the bragging rights – and $15,000 in Skip Barber seat time.
In qualifying for the 14-lap Heat 1, Duerson nipped Taylor by two-tenths of a second for pole, with Kyle Marcelli and Lee Carpentier making up the second row. During the race, they all played cat and mouse, strategically using the draft to be in the right position for the last laps. Duerson was in front for the first 11 laps, but Taylor went from fourth to first on lap 12, then held the point for lap 13. But Duerson played his cards right and and got past Taylor on the last lap, winning by .046 – the length of a nosecone. And Marcelli was only three one-thousandths behind Taylor!
With the starting position for Heat 2 based on the Heat 1 results, Duerson and Taylor went at it again, trading the lead while fending off Marcelli, Ardoin and Ferris. Again it came down to the last lap, and again the MoV was not much more than a gnat’s eyelash: Taylor bested Duerson by just .068 of a second.
The total points the drivers earned in both heat races determined the grid for the winner-takes-all finale, so it was Duerson and Taylor row one, Marcelli and Ardoin row two, Dave Lunnenberg and Juan Carlos Sistos in the third row, Ferris and Dom Bastien row four, Matthew Jordan and John Potter making up row five, Mike Clark and Lee Carpentier row six, with Josef Newgarden and Ryan Booth on the last row.
Duerson and Taylor were one-two for the first 11 of this 13-lapper, with Ferris and Ardoin hanging right with them. On lap 12, Ferris put both Ardoin and Taylor behind him, taking over second place and moving Taylor to third, Ardoin to fourth. Last lap, with the pack of four rocketing toward the finish line, Ferris worked the draft and popped out, getting alongside leader Duerson. Did Ferris have enough to get by? At the line the nose of his Skip Barber Formula 2000 got as far as Duerson’s right-front BFG – just .054 of a second behind. Only feet behind them, Ardoin popped on Taylor to snatch third place. It was a great race, truly worthy of deciding the 2006 Skip Barber U.S. Regional Run-off champion.
Words, Roso; pix, Geb