Southern SBF2000 & MAZDASPEED Challenge Open at Fabulous CMP

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dennis Trebing (l.) and mateo Perez (r.), along with Robert LaRocca, all got their first series wins at CMP. Trebing won twice, in fact..

Recently reinvigorated Carolina Motorsports Park was the very hooked-up host of the start of the 2008-2009 F2000 Southern Series as well as the MAZDASPEED Southern championship. Now run by 1997 Eastern Region Race Series champion Jochen Tartak, CMP is a great place for schools and races.

Results, time sheets and qualifying are here .
[Click the line that reads, ”Southern Regional & MX5Opening RW @ CMP 24-10-08”]

You can find the F2000 Race Series schedules here

And clicking here takes you to the MAZDASPEED Challenge schedules

G1R1 (F2000)
After an early dice with veterans David Libby and Chris Oliver, by lap three young Dennis Trebing had built a good lead (thanks to his laps two and three being in the mid-1:45s, the only driver to do so) and motored on to a dominant first-time win. Ashley Freiberg and Tom Bonatz had a good race going, but Freiberg wisely backed off a bit toward the end when the gearbox started to make some untoward sounds and settled for fourth behind P3 Bonatz. Matt Durward improved the most positions, starting 11th and finishing fifth. Libby (a spin, and later some nose-to-tail contact, had dropped him back), Mitch Landry, Andrew Chinnici, Robert Hill, Jr., A.J. Glassberg and Danny Yoo rounded out the field.

G1R2 (F2000)
Trebing again dominated, building a good lead early then putting up consistent mid-1:44s to take a 5-second win over Libby. Toward the end, Oliver closed mightily on Libby but fell just a couple of 10ths short at the checker. A bit further back, Freiberg and Chinnici went at it, with Chinnici taking and holding fourth place to the end, Freiberg just 3/10s shy in fifth. Sixth was Bonatz, followed by Durward, Landry, Glassberg, Yoo and Michael Waters. Good double-win weekend for Trebing, needless to say!

Stephan Nakamura took an immediate healthy lead over Don Kahn and Bruce Anderson, but by lap seven a couple of Nakamura mistakes let those two catch up. But it was a bigger mistake that did him in; Nakamura fell off into the kitty litter in Turn Eight on lap eight. He kept it going and re-joined in third, behind new leader Anderson and second-place Kahn. A lap after that, Anderson got it wrong and went, officially, four-off, so it was Kahn driving home to the win. Alexandria Stamatiou kept it smartly together and took second, followed by Anderson and Courtney Zarish; Nakamura had put it in the fence in Turn Three with four laps to go.

The reigning champion of the inaugural Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge, Justin Piscitell, was never headed and chalked up a flag-to-flag win over Derek Skea, who first had to hold off Mark Starr (laps one through six), then Steve Phillips (lap seven to the checker). John Snyder, Joe Safina and Starr (four-off) rounded out the field.

Sunday’s race was a combo of the two Miata groups. Piscitell was on pole alongside Kahn, with Phillips and Stamatiou making up the second row. by mid-race, Piscitell was in ”Stanley Territory.” (Okay, a bit of an explanation… Anytime a Race Series driver gets a monster lead, he/she has entered ”Stanley Territory.” Back in the 1990s, Chris Menninga was a very fast driver whose nickname was Stanley. One time, Stanley had a giant, super-comfortable lead – but right at the end he threw it away. So beware when entering the Stanley Zone…) Anyway, Piscitell was the leader with Phillips second and Starr third when we went FCY on lap 13 and 14 for a Nakamura crash in the Kink. Green again to start the last lap, Kahn spun at the exit of Five, handing P3 to Starr. Up front, Phillips stayed attached to Piscitell but fell short at the line by about a half-second. Snyder and Stamatiou rounded out the top five, followed by Anderson, Zarish and Kahn.

G3R1 (F2000)
Virtually the entire race, Michael Dorrbecker and Robert LaRocca went at it hammer and tongs, the two of them swapping the lead and putting on a great racing show. Stalking just behind was Mateo Perez, waiting – hoping – for the leaders to get it wrong. And believe it or not, it did. On the last lap, with Dorrbecker in the lead, LaRocca went inside in T14, up on the curb and there was contact. Not enough to stop them, and they went under the checker Dorrbecker-LaRocca-Perez, followed by Robert Hill, Jr., and John Giddens. But with the time penalties earned by Dorrbecker and LaRocca, Perez was the winner – his first! – joined on the podium by Hill. Doorbecker was officially classified third and LaRocca fourth, leaving Giddens to round out the top five. Joe Safina, Shea Holbrook, Ed Wilkinson, Michael Rink, Gary Gerrard and Derek Shea.

G3R2 (F2000)
Another cracker of a race. On the first lap, leader Perez fell off the road in T8, so when he came in the pits for the penalty, it was Dorrbecker, LaRocca and Holbrook. After a few laps, Dorrbecker had a bit of a gap on LaRocca, but by lap 10 LaRocca was right on Dorrbecker’s gearbox. With Holbrook more than 20 seconds back in P3, it was down to these two. Finally, on the last lap, LaRocca made his move and squeezed past Dorrbecker and they crossed the line just inches apart, LaRocca taking his first Series win by .145 seconds over Dorrbecker. Perez pressured Holbrook for third but couldn’t get it done, with Giddens rounding out the top five. Gerrard, Rink, Wilkinson and Michael Waters finished off the field.

Memorial Race
On Saturday there was time for a Memorial Race; in this case, Instructor Jonatan Jorge spanked the field, going from seventh to the lead on lap one and never looking back. He even set the track record for a Skip Barber F2000, a 1:44.218.

Up Next…
… are the openers for the 2008-2009 Western F2000 Series and MAZDASPEED Challenge Western championship, November 1-2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Two weeks later, the two Southern series (F2000 and MX-5) head to Road Atlanta for rounds three and four.

Rick Roso

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