Dalton Wins Midwest Title; Piscitell the MX-5 Champ
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 Photos from the weekend are here…
Final points are here (then click on ”RA MIdwestern/ MX5 Finale Race Weekend”)
The Midwestern Regional series wrapped its season at Road America, with 60+ drivers on hand. The two titles to be decided were the F2000 Regional, and Skip Barber Racing’s first-ever MAZDASPEED Challenge championship.
In F2000, the 2008 championship battle came down to Group 2’s Roberto Dalton, Julien Albarracin and Al Carter. Dalton led the points coming in, and in the first race, Dalton spun himself out of the lead (T6) on the last lap! He finished seventh while Albarracin barely won, .020 over Carter, with Luca Orlandi rounding out the podium. Sunday’s race would decide everything…
First attempt at a green didn’t work, but the next time by we were racing in a sprinkly rain, with Orlandi in the lead. But in the Carrousel, Orlandi spun! Albarracin was forced four-off, Brian Skinner and Carter had contact as they were avoiding. It was Dalton leading, and after a lap of FCY, Roberto was just able to keep Dennis Trebing and Albarracin at bay at the line to win the race and the championship. And Carter’s P3 in the final standings also earned him the Masters division title. The 2008 Grand Master championship in F2000 was won by a racer with one of the best names in the business, Paul Subject.
Very exciting stuff, to say the least. Dalton’s title earns him a race weekend in the 2009 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. Way to go, Roberto!
…Group 3 had the title contenders for the inaugural Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge championship: Lyonel Kent and Justin Piscitell, with Pisctitell leading. Kent was due one make-up race for some MDNFs earlier in the year, so he was also in the Group 5 MAZDASPEED race.
In Saturday’s Group 3, Kent beat Piscitell by a bit less than half-a-second, with James Lustman third. Then in the Group 5 race, Kent and Jason Barfield went at it toe-to-toe, with Kent edging him by .070 for the win. So the showdown was Sunday’s Group 3. with a bit of misty rain on some parts of the circuit. It was typical MX-5 racing; side-by-side, drafting, five and six cars at a time battling for the lead.
For Kent, the drama began on lap five… He fluffed the upshift out of Turn Eight after Lustman outbraked him into the corner for the lead. That let Piscitell get a run and slot into second behind Lustman. Then second later, Lustman spun – but did not go four-off – in the Kink. But in the melee, Kent did have to go off the road. He immediately made his required stop, rejoining seventh, behind leader Piscitell, P2 Kevin Clayton, Chris Brown, Keith Holdbrooks, Ken Greenberg and Lustman.
Now it’s three laps from the end and Brown snatches the lead from Piscitell going into One. Piscitell drafts past heading down the straight to Five. Brown goes to the inside under braking but gets squirrelly and the two touch! Brown pits next time by, but Piscitell waits for the last lap to come in, handing the lead and the win to Lustman, a first-time winner. With the math all done, the inaugural Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge champion is… Justin Piscitell, 540 points to Lyonel Kent’s 533. Third overall and first in Master is Chris Brown. Congratulations to all in this successful first season!
In the other races, Chase Patzer won both Group 1 races, by a hair in race one (.110) over Andy Rossetto, with John Potter third, and by 7 seconds over Marc Abernathy and John Greist on Sunday. Group 4’s races were both very close, Revere Greist, Dean Patzer and Ashley Freiberg covered by a blanket at the line on Saturday, then Dean Patzer over Grant Kreiger and Freiberg on Sunday. The MAZDASPEED Group 5’s Sunday race was won by Jason Barfield over Joel Tucker and Michael Luzich. Keith Holdbrooks was the MX-5 Masters stand-alone winner, beating Dan Moen and Luzich, while in the F2000 version, Al Carter, Tom Brown and Luca Orlandi was your podium.
Other F2000 recognition goes to Brian Skinner for Most Improved Driver, and Julien Albarracin for Rookie of the Year. In MAZDASPEED, the champion was also the Rookie of the year – Justin Piscitell.
We want to thank all the Midwest competitors for a solid, fun season. We saw great driving and great champions, and look forward to an even better 2009.