SBN Race One Qualifying: Miller Time at Lime Rock

Friday, August 17, 2007 LIME ROCK, Conn. – Exactly one month ago, Skip Barber’s Eastern Regional Series was racing at Lime Rock Park. Preceding that weekend was a ‘‘llead/follow” session – 30 minutes of lapping while following a Skip Barber coach in another Skip Barber F2000. Any qualified driver can sign up. BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda points leader Joel Miller did sign up, in anticipation of the National races in August. Not old enough to rent a car, he hitched a ride from the airport, fully expecting a bunch of other National drivers to also be doing the lapping. ‘‘So I figured, I’m sure I could get a ride back to the airport the next day from one of them.’’

It turns out no other National driver had signed up for the lapping at Lime Rock. Miller ended up cadging a ride to the airport from a local resident to made his plane. More importantly, he learned a lot about Lime Rock’s nuances, of which there are many (if you’re fast). Miller put that experience to good use by taking pole for the first of the two Skip Barber National races this weekend, one one-hundredth quicker than Ricky Taylor. It was Miller’s first-ever Skip Barber National pole, coming on the heels of him being chosen as one of the two 2007 Team U.S.A. Scholarship winners (the other being Patrick Barrett, also an SBRS alum).

The qualifying session started on time, but with about half the session to go, a light rain began to fall. If you hadn’t put up a time early on, you weren’t going to. Miller’s :58.962 was done on his fifth lap, as was Taylor’s :58.976. Josef Newgarden put himself third with a :58.994 on his eighth lap, while A.J. Riley and Kyle Lawrence did their times on laps four and five, respectively.

Peter Ludwig, one of the Masters Division drivers, is going to scrap with the kids again – don’t count against him winning. In April at VIR, he qualified well and very nearly won. Ludwig is very quick, especially so at Lime Rock, and his :59.235 has him on the third row.

Skip Barber National, Friday Qualifying for race one, Lime Rock Park NASCAR Busch East race weekend

1. Joel Miller, :58.962
2. Ricky Taylor :58.976
3. Josef Newgarden, :58.994
4. A.J. Riley, :59.061
5. Kyle Lawrence, :59.093
6. Peter Ludwig (M), :59.235
7. Timmy Megenbier, :59.262
8. Stevan McAleer, :59.287
9. Jonathan Gore, :59.448
10. Ivo Dimov, :59.501
11. Lee Carpentier, :59.521
12. Juan Pablo Contreras, :59.672
13. Jeff Oleen, :59.927
14. Julien Gerbi, 1:00.201
15. Juan Carlos Sistos, 1:00.201
16. Dom Bastien (M), 1:00.393
17. Dick Lippert (M), 1:00.796
18. Jeremy Morales, 1:01.825
19. Mike Distaulo (M), no time
20. Jeff Kaiser (M), no time

In The Downhill during qualifying… Joel Miller earned a precious point for taking the pole for Skip Barber National race one at the NASCAR Busch East weekend at Lime Rock Park. But it was close — the first eight drivers are within 3-10s of each other. It was Miller’s first-ever SBN pole.

West Bend… Ricky Taylor juuuuust missed: He would rather have had the pole now than later. Taylor was only .014 behind Miller.

West Bend… Peter Ludwig was a last-minute show. And wouldn’t you know, he’s going to run up front with the ”kids.”

Words & photos, Rick Roso

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