East/Midwest Combo at Mont Tremblant
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant is back in the game as a major venue, and the Skip Barber Race Series made its annual, and always highly anticipated, trek to this great track just a few weeks after the Champ Car Series. Their race was wet, as were our Saturday races, but that didn’t keep smiles off anyone’s faces. We saw two first-time winners, too. Below are the group re-caps…
See photos here
G1R1 (Midwest Championship)
Revere Greist and Paul Arnold took control of this one right away, Arnold leading with Greist stalking. Adam Tran spun on the first lap but did not go four-off. On the last lap, Greist and Arnold had contact in T10 — their lead was such that this one would finish in the pits! Greist got to pitlane first and got his safety check done and took the checker for the win. Wow… Arnold got his duty done in time to finish just in front of a charging Tran, who had come back from 10th after his lap-one spin. Brent Milner took a fine fourth and Ryan Rutzinski fifth.
G1R2 (Midwest Championship)
The second race was dry and the same two players were up front, Greist and Arnold. This time they were swapping the lead, with Tran and Milner staging an equally pitched battle behind them. But on lap four, Arnold made a mistake in Turn Two and fell off the road, rejoining in 12th after his pit. That left Greist leading with Tran in P2 and Milner P3. But that lasted just two laps as Tran also put all four of his BFGs off the tarmac in Three. Now Greist had a big lead over Milner, who had his hands full with Rutzinski. Rutzinski finally got around Milner with just a few laps to go to take over second place, but also on the charge was dale Kistler-Collins. On what turned out to be the last lap, DKC got around Milner and went after Rutzinski. Heading into Namerow, Kistler-Collins was too ambitious and got a wheel under Ryan, which got Rutzinski on his head. The race was ended a lap early to get Rutzinski back on all four (he was okay). So Greist was the winner, Milner second and Dion Von Moltke got third, up from eighth on the starting grid. Jim Craig and Kasey Kuhlman rounded out the top five.
G2R1 (Midwest Sportsman)
Blake Krieger was on pole with David Stubbs alongside, but Stubbs couldn’t hold on and spun on the first lap. That put Al Carter in second and Marc Charbonneau in third. But then there were three laps of FCY to clean up the remnants of a Bo Yagmaie/ Ross Jaffe gaffe in Turn Eight. On the restart to begin lap seven, Krieger quickly opened a gap to Carter while Fabrice Weill was now into third and Charbonneau fourth. But with three laps to go, both those guys made mistakes which took them out of the podium battle so Don Van – coming from way, way back (19th) – took over third place, with Brian Skinner trailing behind. Kreiger had no problem trolling home in the rain for the win, 36 seconds in front of Carter. Erik Brumme got a fine fifth.
G2R2 (Midwest Sportsman)
Whoa, humongous field of Sportsman for this one, 21 starters in the dry. Kreiger had moved to the Championship group for his second race, so Carter was on pole with Van alongside. Van grabbed the lead at the start but was overtaken by Carter on lap two. And so it ran Carter and Van, sometimes the gap opening up, then closing down as the laps ticked by. They were the class of the field, more than 20 seconds to the good on third place. When the checker flew, Van had gotten within a half-second of Carter. Meanwhile, Weill, who had taken over third place when he got around Skinner after Erik Brumme skittered off the road in Two, stayed there the rest of the race. Stubbs got a fine fourth and Skinner recovered for fifth. One of the better drives was Rob Ecklin, who came all the way up to sixth at the checker after starting from the second-to-last row!
G3R1 (East Championship)
Revere Greist was doubling and in qualifying he was second-quick to Jordan Taylor, with Gabby Chaves third and Juan Arenas fourth. By lap four Greist had already opened up a six-second gap to Taylor, while three laps earlier Jim Craig put a move on Chaves to snatch P3. The race was won on lap seven, when Taylor slipped off the road in Turn Eight. He eventually pitted but had enough of a gap to Chaves (who got second place when Craig had a four-off on lap nine) to not lose P2. Bobby Ellis came fifth.
G3R2 (East Championship)
A bunch of cars mid-pack and back went four-off on lap one but up front it was Chaves leading Greist and Taylor. Soon Greist was falling back with a mechanical issue (he would have to retire on lap seven) so it became Taylor hounding Chaves. They went at it hammer and tongs, swapping the lead a bunch of times, while Ellis kept his hand in by running third. On the last lap Taylor got around Chaves to take the win, but it was Ellis who ended up earning second place as Chaves was handed a penalty post-race for too many unsafe blocking moves. Milner had a great race, fourth across the line (third in the results) after starting 14th. Gabby was classified fifth.
G4R1 (East Sportsman)
Corey Lewis, who was turned on to the Skip Barber system by his neighbor and friend Marco Andretti, continued his winning ways from Lime Rock two weeks earlier with a flag to flag win, besting Al Carter by 9 seconds, who was 2 seconds up on third place Carlos Medina. Scott Panzer went from eighth on the grid to fourth early on and held there, just beating Paul Draper.
G4R2 (East Sportsman)
Lewis did it again, but this time Medina earned second place after a nice dice with Carter. Medina got close to Lewis with about four laps to go, but Lewis eventually re-stretched his lead to win by 14 seconds. Carter and Draper were third and fourth, with Brian Skinner coming home fifth.
Marc Charbonneau was doubling and made hay, taking his first Series win. Charbonneau lopped off a bunch of cars in the early laps as he had started from the fifth row, but the leader was Hans Albrecht, with Gilberto Garrudo second, Leon Baiweiss third, Bob Manzella fourth and Charbonneau fifth when we had to go full course yellow for laps two through four, as Gustavo Linares and Lou Saucier had gotten together in Turn Four. On the restart, Albrecht was holding off Garrudo as they put a gap on third place. Garrudo made a good pass on Albrecht in Ten but he could only hold it for two laps as Albrecht re-paid Garrudo to take the point back. Regrettably, Garrudo lost fifth gear and had to park it, leaving the battle to Albrech, Baiweiss and Charbonneau. Excitement on the last lap: Albrecht, in second, got into the back of Baiweiss. Albrecht was beached but Baiweiss continued, now just in front of Charbonneau, who had taken third place on lap 11. Except Baiweiss didn’t pit. So they crossed the line Baiweiss, Charbonneau and Manzella, but after Baiweiss’s penalty, the win went to Charbonneau, Manzella and Baiweiss joining him on the podium. Chris Escue was a fighting fourth while Glen Bryant came home a solo fifth.
Garrudo was on fire, going from ninth to second on the first lap! That put him behind leader Charbonneau but on the second lap it all changed: Charbonneau fell to third, Garrudo took the lead, and Escue went from fourth to second. From that point on, Garrudo walked away for the win. But behind him, nothing was settled until the very end, as Baiweiss, Escue, Charbonneau and an on-fire Saucier were trying to figure out the remaining podium spots. Baiweiss got to P2 about mid-race and stayed there, thanks to an ongoing dice between Escue and Saucier. On the last lap, the Saucy One got around Escue for third place. Charbonneau had held station in fifth from from lap eight onward.
The ‘‘?’’ Memorial, a.k.a., ‘‘This One’s for Tammy Faye’’
No huge surprise that Gabby the Little took the win, but we were all particularly happy to see Duke Sanford, The Southern Superstar, work his way to P2 at the checker. Pat ‘‘Per Diem’’ Daly was third, followed by A-Nash and his fellow wheel-banger, H-Sen.
The BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda heads to Road America August 3-5 for rounds seven and eight. It’s a big field, with 28 entrants as this was written. Joel Miller leads the youngsters, while Jeff Kaiser is the big boys leader. Road America is followed immediately by Lime Rock Park, as the National supports the NASCAR Busch East race weekend of August 16-18. Then, there’s the combined East/Midwest at Mid-Ohio September 1-2.
2007 Eastern Race Series
April 20-22, VIR
May 25-27, Watkins Glen
June 29-July 1, Road July 12-14, Lime Rock Park
July 27-29, Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant
Oct. 30-Sept. 2, Mid-Ohio
Oct. 11-13, Lime Rock Park