Southern Race Series/MAZDASPEED South double header at Carolina Motorsports Park

Friday, October 30, 2009 The 2009-2010 Skip Barber Southern Race Series and MAZDASPEED Challenge South opened up their seasons this past weekend at Kershaw, S.C.’s Carolina Motorsports Park. The 2.23-mile course also hosted a special run-off to determine the Skip Barber Race Series entrant in the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Cup Shoot-out, the winner of which receives a seat in next year’s Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup championship.

Click here to see images from the weekend
Click here for complete results
Click here for points standings

Group 1, Race 1 – Southern Race Series
Fresh from the end of the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, defending Skip Barber Southern Race Series champion Dennis Trebing and Ashley Freiberg started 1-2 for the first race of the Southern Race Series season. The pair took off from the field with Trebing leading Freiberg, followed by Trent Hindman and Dom Bastien. Dennis Trebing led every lap and stretched the gap to a 3-second margin of victory over Ashley Freiberg. Trent Hindman held his advantage on third over Master’s division winner Dom Bastien. Frank Cusack brought his car home where he started in fifth ahead of Bill Shields and Paul Fisk, who came from 11th on the grid to finish seventh. Mike Rink finished eighth ahead of Ron Hayter, with John McCormick one lap down in tenth and Mike Waters rounding out the field two laps down in 11th.

Group 2, Race 1 – MAZDASPEED Challenge South
The sports cars took to the track next, with Charles Ng and Brian Freiberg on the front row for Race 1 of the MAZDASPEED Challenge season. While Ng stretched out a 20-second margin of victory over Freiberg, the battle for third between pair of top-five finishers in the MAZDASPEED Challenge Summer series, Ward Herst and John Snyder, who provided the closest racing of the group. With all the close racing between them, it was almost inevitable that car contact would ensue, and when it happened and both drivers stopped for their mandatory safety checks, Jim Davis passed both to take third. Herst, who pitted then finished the race on track, came home in fourth ahead of Snyder, who pitted on the last lap, ending the race in pits. Steve Phillips moved up from ninth on the grid to finish sixth ahead of Robert Hill and David Steinschraber while David Levine, who ran as high as sixth, retired with four laps to go and was credited with ninth.

Group 3, Race 1 – Southern Race Series
The “Dennis and Ashley” show continued in Group 3; the pair doubling up this weekend to have points to transfer to a weekend later in the season. It was Dennis Trebing taking the lead again, this time with Ashley Freiberg in much closer pursuit. The duo checked out on the field; Trebing leading every lap but unable to shake the game Freiberg. Dennis took his second win of the day by .454 sec. over Freiberg with David Libby a distant third. Chris Oliver finished fourth ahead of Tristan Nunez and the tenth starting Chris Wilson, who climbed his way up to sixth. Gerry Gerrard finished in the same position he started, seventh, ahead of Ethan Glenn and Ed Wilkinson. Dom Bastien started third but clipped a curb on Lap 6, damaging his front suspension and relegating him to tenth.

Group 1, Race 2
The third race for the duo of Ashley Freiberg and Dennis Trebing, but this time it the battle for the lead was a much tighter affair with both drivers taking turns in the lead. At the finish it was Freiberg taking the slimmest of victories, .013 sec., over Trebing. Trent Hindman earned himself another visit to the podium with a quality third ahead of Master’s winner Dom Bastien and Ron Hayter, who worked his way up to fifth from ninth at the start. Frank Cusack came in sixth, ahead of Paul Fisk and Mike Rink, with Bill Shields in ninth, John McCormick in tenth and Mike Waters in 11th; the latter two one lap down on the field.

Group 2, Race 2
A balky fifth gear for Brian Freiberg meant that the second race of the weekend for the MX-5ers was a walk-over for Charles Ng , who cruised to a nine and a half second victory over Freiberg. Ward Herst ran a drama-free race to finish third ahead of a close battle between Steve Phillips and David Levine for fourth, a battle which Phillips won by a scant half second over Levine. David Steinschraber came home in sixth ahead of Robert Hill while Jim Davis, who was mixing it up with Herst and Phillips for third for most of the race dropped out with five laps to go and was scored in eighth.

Group 3, Race 2
The fourth formula car race of the weekend also featured the fourth Trebing/Freiberg front row of the weekend. Dom Bastien made the start of Race 2 interesting with an aggressive start that drew a black flag, bringing him into the pits for a stop-and-go penalty. Despite the penalty Bastien battled his way back up to fifth at the finish. Dennis Trebing led every lap again from the pole to take a five-second victory over Ashley Freiberg, the fourth 1-2 finish of the weekend for the Skip Barber National competitors. David Libby took third and the Masters (not to mention Grand Masters) win ahead of Tristan Nunez and the resurgent Bastien. Chris Wilson finished sixth ahead of Ed Wilkinson and Ethan Glenn, both a lap down in seventh and eight respectively. Chris Oliver retired with mechanical problems and was credited with ninth while Gary Gerrard was credited with tenth after contact with Glenn early in the race forced him to retire with damage.

The Skip Barber Southern Race Series and MAZDASPEED Challenge South next visit Braselton, Ga. for Rounds 3 & 4 of their respective championships at fabled Road Atlanta the weekend of November 14-15.

Jim Altemus

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