Midwest & East @ Le Circuit Mont-TremblantAug 05, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 Mt. Tremblant is one of the favorite stops on the Skip Barber Race Series summer tour. Great food and hotels, ligament-eating and road-rash-making concrete luge runs, and of course a superlative racing facility…
Results, time sheets and qualifying are here. [Click the line that reads, ”Eastern/Midwestern Regional Race Weekend 01-08-2008”]
Corey Lewis and Sage Karem were the class of the field in this race; even with a bit of ”rain in Namerow,” they were the only two to get into the 1:51s consistently (in fact, Karem’s last two laps were in the high 1:50s). Lewis stole the lead from poleman Karem at the start and clicked off three laps that put him 2 seconds up on Karem. But then came four successive laps from Karem that were quicker than Lewis’s, including lap six when Karem went around him. At the checker Karem was ahead by a hair more than 2 seconds. Jim Craige was gridded fifth but leapt to third on lap one and held off a determined Thiago Calvet the entire race. Anthony Furfari, Mikhail Goikhberg (from 10th) and Julien Gerbi put on an entertaining tussle for fifth through seventh, with Felix Serralles, Scott Panzer and Lucas Barnett rounding out the top 10.
Karem led the first five laps, with Lewis filling his mirrors. Then Lewis made the pass to lead laps six and seven but trouble was ahead for Karem. On lap nine he snatched the lead back but then Karem lost fifth gear and decided to park it, after being black-flagged for a four-off. Lewis went on to a 10-second MoV over Michael Furfari, who had diced and sliced his way to P3 (from 12th) just prior to Karem’s retirement. Gerbi, Panzer and Barnett fought each other as they made their way from mid-pack, while Goikhberg, Calvet and Jim Norman came home sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Chris Brassard and Craige rounded out the top 10.
Grand-Am Koni Challenge driver Peter Ludwig had all that he could handle from Quentin Wahl and Chris Willcox even as he led flag to flag. Anthony Furfari’s crash in Turn 11 caused a two-lap FCY mid-race and on the re-start, Wahl got around Willcox for P2. Last lap, something happens that sees Wahl fall to fifth, Willcox take over second, M. Furfari go from fifth to third (from row seven on the grid), and Al Carter stay in fourth. Jim Craige was doubling and crossed the line sixth, with Dick Lippert, out of these cars for a while, coming home seventh. Young Kevin Tittle was eighth, with another ”long time no see” driver, Dr. Mike Edwards (John’s Dad), ninth. Rounding out the top 10 was Paul Subject.
People were flying off the road in this wet deusy of a race. Early on Ludwig, Wahl, M. Furfari and Willcox diced up front. By the time we went to a two-lap FCY on lap six for a Darrick Antell/Harry Schessel incident, Wahl was leading, Willcox was second and Ludwig third. On the re-start Wahl kept the lead for two laps but on lap 10 Ludwig and Furfari went by. Starting the last lap it was still Ludwig, Furfari, Wahl, Willcox and Carter, but in the craziness of that last 2.65 miles, Willcox and Carter shot from fourth and fifth to first and second, respectively. Ludwig came into the pits for a second time for earlier contact/four-off incidents and officially crossed the line third, but was given a 10-second penalty because he didn’t come to a stop. Furfari and Ari Gatoff also got penalties for failures to pit, so when everything shook out, it was a Willcox win, Carter second – just a 10th of a second behind him – and Dr. Mike third, then Wahl, Ludwig and Craige the next three. Seventh was Tittle, and Subject, Lippert and M. Furfari were your top-10 round-outs.
The race-pace for both Corey Lewis and Court Vernon was about 1.5 seconds better than the rest of the field, but Lewis was around a half-second per lap quicker than Vernon and slowly drew away for his second win of the weekend. Alfredo Zebede and Felis Serralles were in the hunt for third and until contact between the two put paid to those hopes. Pat Daly and Doug Harrison both got past Zebede before Zebede pitted on the last lap, which gave fifth to Scott Panzer. Chris Brassard, Leon Blaiwiess, Scott James and Serralles finished off the top 10.
Marc Charbonneau and Jim Hoddinott got together on lap one and so laps two and three were FCY to get Charbonneau’s SBF2000 out of the T8 beach. Before that, Lewis, Vernon and an on-the-charge Zebede were one-two-three. After the green to start lap four, the top three held station for six laps, though Zebede soon lost track and ran a solo P3. Then Lewis felt fifth gear start to go away so he let Vernon by and then stayed in his draft. Smart. And it worked out. as Lewis got by Vernon on the last lap and kept him at bay out of Namerow and across the line. Lewis’s third win in four starts was his. Behind P3 Zebede was Daly and Serralles, with Harrison sixth and Carter seventh. Blaiwiess, Brassard and Panzer completed the top 10.
This was a mess of a wet race, with a lap one four-car incident that caused a full-course, then on the re-start lap Kevin Tittle got it way wrong in Eight and ended up flipping Roberto Dalton, so it was FCY again. Meanwhile, Al Carter had taken the lead and after all the clean-ups and tow jobs, Carter ran the last three green laps in front of Mikhail Goikhberg and took a good win. Mathew Durward was third, ahead of a lonely Devin Mauk, followed by Jonathan Barcena and Quini Louwman in a close fight for fifth and sixth. Steven Craige, Brian Skinner and Paul Subject rounded out the runners.
Group 4’s second race was a much better affair. Goikhberg led lap one, Carter stole it back on lap two, Goikhberg went agricultural on lap three (putting Dalton into second place and Mauk into third). Then Barcena went playing in the sand in Eight and got it stuck while Dalton came in to the pits to serve a contact penalty from lap three, so laps five and six were FCY. The re-start to begin lap seven had Carter P1, Brian Skinner second and Durward third, with Gatoff, Paul Subject and Goikhberg lurking. Carter and Skinner soon galloped off, Carter eventually winning by about a half-second, but third place was up for grabs. On the penultimate lap Gatoff took the position away from Durward, but it had come at the cost of contact. With stops and penalties and whatnot all figured out, third place went to Goikhberg, Dr. Mike got fourth (from 13th), Tittle fifth and Subject sixth, close behind. Gatoff, Dalton and Durward were classified next, with 10th.
… are rounds nine and 10 of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, at fabulous Road America August 8-10. It’s a big Mazda-fest, as the main show is ALMS prototypes (including 2005 SBN champion Gerardo Bonilla’s LMP2 Lola B07/46-Mazda MZR-R) and the support shows include Playboy MX-5 Cup, Skip Barber National, Star Mazda and Mazda Atlantic.
Then there’s the wild weekend at the all-new New Jersey Motorsports Park: Rounds 11 and 12 of the National, with the Grand-Am DP machines, on the Thunderbolt track, plus rounds 11 and 12 of the Midwest and East Series on the Lightning track. Right after that are rounds nine and 10 of the Skip Barber MX-5 Miata MAZDASPEED Challenge series, August 30-31 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.