Skip Barber National Road America Preview

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Points leader Joel Miller has a relatively slim margin over second place A.J. Riley.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Rounds seven and eight of the 14-race BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda are this weekend at Road America. Joel Miller, who’s won two of the first six races – most recently the second of the two Cleveland contests – has a slim lead over A.J. Riley. Riley has not yet won but his solid finishes – two third-places, a second and a fifth (with the only blemish a 14th in the opener at Sebring) – sees him just 17 points behind Miller. Ricky Taylor has proved to be the polemeister (three) and won Sebring’s second race. Combined with a second, a fifth, a sixth and seventh, Taylor sits third in points, 2 behind Riley, despite crashing out in one of the VIR rounds.

Timmy Megenbier sits fourth, thanks to a victory at Sebring and a host of top-10 finishes, while Scotland’s Stevan McAleer is fifth, with consistent top-10 results to his credit. Josef Newgarden has shrugged off his disastrous start – brake problems relegated him to finishes outside the top 20 in both Sebring rounds – and has since won twice and taken two poles. Jeff Oleen (two podiums), Kyle Lawrence, Juan Carlos Sistos and Juan Pablo Contreras round out the top 10 – and all are well within striking distance with eight races remaining.

Road America is a drafting track; even more so with this year’s addition of a Handford Device on the fleet of identical Skip Barber Formula 2000 race cars. Tactical race craft often tells the tale here. We’ll see who comes up with the goods.

In the Masters Division, Jeff Kaiser is up by a scant five points over Dick Lippert, while Dom Bastien stalks the both of them at 209. These drivers all know Road America well, so don’t be surprised to see them at the sharp end of the field.

Is Road America where A.J. Riley wins his first National race of the year?

Though he’s deep in the points, Josef Newgarden is on the charge — he’s won as many races as points leader Miller.

Rick Roso

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