Western & Southern Combo at Las Vegas

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Mar 10, 2008
Jimal here! I’m Roso’s stunt double while he’s down in Sebring for the opening rounds of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. Our second of two consecutive joint Southern and Western Race Weekends wrapped up this past weekend in America’s family fun park, Las Vegas. The weekend was rounds nine and ten for both championships. Congratulations to first time winners Anthony Furfari (Group 3, Race 1) and Ian Costa (Group 3, Race 2). Pictures to follow…

G1R1 (Western Championship)
Michael Self took over the point from recent Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out winner Connor De Phillipi on Lap 3 and the pair proceeded to take off and hide from the rest of the pack. A full-course yellow on Lap 6 bunched things up before the duo set off again. Michael took the win while Connor followed just under a second behind. Luca Orlandi and Michael Ramies made up the second group, while a third group consisting of John Potter, Alan Baia and Gary Manheimer were right behind. John Scalmanini and Gray Gregory finished on the lead lap while Gary Williams, Jr. and Emil Sildos finished a lap down in 10th and 11th respectively. Victor Carbone’s race ended early with a broken radiator.

G1R2 (Western Championship)
Race 2 went green from start to finish with Saturday’s runner-up De Phillipi moving to the top spot on the box over Orlandi and Potter. Victor Carbone came back from Saturday’s bad luck for a good fourth place. Ramies, Baia, Williams, Jr, and Scalmanini rounded out the top eight. Saturday race winner Michael Self’s Sunday didn’t go to plan with a four-off on Lap 9 dropping him to ninth in the order, while mandatory stops and safety checks relegated Sildos, Gary Manheimer and Gregory to the final three spots in the finishing order.

G2R1 (Southern Sportsman)
Michael Self went “two for two” on Saturday with a well-fought win in Group 2 over Roberto Dalton and Sean Rayhall, with under two seconds separating the top three. Luke Huntington lead the second group across the line, which included Alan Baia, Alfredo Zebede, Emil Sildos and John Potter, all covered by seven seconds. The race got off to a rough start as car contact in Turn 1 sent the #72 of Panzer up and over Potter’s #15. Orlandi and Beachem were also involved. Panzer was fine, but his race was run. Potter and Orlandi were able to continue while Beachem brought his wounded car back to the pits and retirement. Michael Vincec avoided contact for a respectable ninth place finish ahead of Orlandi, while Ethan Stone and Ed Rowland finished 11th and 12th respectively, ahead of the retired Beachem and Panzer.

G2R2 (Southern Sportsman)
Another Michael, this one Vincec, in the winner’s circle, with a semi-comfortable two and a half second margin of victory over Dalton and Rayhall. Michael also contributed quick lap of the race is his run to the checkers. Sildos, Potter and Baia completed the top six. Weekend double-winner Michael Self finished seventh, followed by Orlandi and Gary Manheimer, while Zebede rounded out the top ten. A dust up between Panzer in the 99 and Doug Beachem in the 15 on Lap 6 led to an early retirement for Beachem and a safety check for Panzer. Panzer ended up 13th behind Ethan Stone and Ed Rowland, and ahead of Luke Huntington and the retired Beachem.

G3R1 (Western Sportsman)
The weekend’s two first-time winners both came out of Group 3. On Saturday it was Anthony Furfari’s turn to feel the cold soak of the bucket o’ ice water after a hard fought battle with Michael Sauer, who headed a trio of cars that finished within a second and a half of Furfari. Ian Black picked up a well-earned third place, while Jonathan Barcena and Kevin Tittle rounded out the top five. Seth Manheimer came in sixth, followed by Walter Kuhn, Alexandre Jasserme, and Ethan Stone, with Seiichiro Kita rounding out the top ten. Ian Costa, Anthony’s brother Michael, Ray Brady, George Morales and Sarena Traver rounded out the field.

G3R2 (Western Sportsman)
In the words of Nick-Nick, Ian Costa “came here a boy, and he’s going home a happy boy!” with his first win in the last race of the weekend. Costa edged out Saturday’s winner Anthony Furfari by .704 sec. Kevin Tittle came in third with Traver and Black in the top five. Barcena, Sauer, Kuhn, Seth Manheimer and Deyne Bentt completed a competitive top ten, with Ethan Stone, Seiichiro, Jasserme, Morales, Brady and Michael Furfari completing the field.

Next up!
The National opener is this weekend! The BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National makes its traditional appearance at the 12 Hours of Sebring. For the Regional guys, finales are next. First up is the Southern Race Series finale March 28-30 at Sebring International Raceway, while the Western Series guys and gals finish up April 4-6 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. East and Midwest seasons are just around the corner.

The last of the ‘‘spring training’’ Skip Barber MX-5 Cup Race Series is March 28-30 on Sebring’s fast and fun ‘‘test’’ circuit (where the IRL and big sports test). Look for a big announcement in the coming days about the MX-5 Series, including a prize package and new name. The currently named MX-5 Cup Race Series begins April 4-6 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Here’s the complete 2008 MX-5 schedule.

Jim Altemus

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