Lime Rock Regional Race Report

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Thursday, August 19, 2010
While some say his propensity for procrastination and sloth is just an old Tibetan memory trick, we do know he is heavy handed with both the shifter and the keyboard. He’s the Stig’s New York Cousin.

Before we start the racing coverage there were two extraordinary events this weekend. Race group 5 race #1 had an unusual incident at its start on Friday as Michael Johnson’s car got launched on the downhill on the first lap causing a spectacular end-over barrel roll that ended atop the downhill tire wall. Fortunately Michael was unhurt but his custom-built hand control car was destroyed in the process. This happened so late in the day that the race could not be restarted and was re-scheduled for Saturday morning.

Everyone knew Michael’s car was a one-off and assumed he would be sidelined for the race weekend. That is, everyone except Dom Rotondo, Keith Neer and a mechanic or two, who, after rebuilding all the damaged cars from Friday’s action stayed into the early morning hours transforming the #21 into a brand new hand control car for Michael. Everyone at the drivers meeting Saturday morning was blown away by the unselfish spirit of these guys who once again proved themselves the unsung hero’s of Skip Barber. Michael didn’t miss a single lap of the race weekend and the incredible job done by those guys gave everyone goose bumps. We tip our cap and give thanks for such a great and dedicated group of guys.

The second event that was almost as amazing was the celebration of Sid Brenner’s 69th birthday. If you’ve spent any time at Skip Barber you know Sid is the unpaid insult comic arm twister who champions and often subsidizes the mechanics fund. He’s been doing it longer than even Bob Ziegel and Bruce MacInnes can remember. Everyone knew he’d get wind of a surprise party for his 70th birthday so his better half decided to attempt pulling it off for his 69th. Knowing Sid, no one would have bet a nickel that the surprise would have been successfully done, but it was. Sid arrived stunned, to the cheers of an enormous crowd of friends from all walks and ages of his racing and family life and was moved beyond words. Though that didn’t keep him from making everyone laugh as he used words as only Sid can. Sid said it was the best day of his life and attendees agreed it was the nicest gathering of Skip Barber brethren they could remember. Good stuff.

Now back to racing:
We affectionately call the alternate uphill at LRP the toll both because you nearly come to a complete stop as you drop to 1st or 2nd gear before launching on up the chicane hill–a stop and go penalty every lap if you will. And that was the racing theme of the weekend as delays big and small made both Friday and Saturday seem longer than they actually were. These delays however did nothing to thwart the racing that was typical of Lime Rock: Fast & (to use the movie clichй’ title) Furious.

Race Group 1 Race 1
In this race, the cream rose to the top as Ashley Freiberg and Sebastian Ordonez started at the back of the field after going off track during qualifying. Jim Craige and Austin Dyne were on the front row but it didn’t take long for Freiberg, Ordonez, and Peter Ludwig (Ludwig started in last having no practice or qualifying) to carve their way to the front. Austin Dyne held off Freiberg until lap six when she took the lead and immediately pulled a gap leaving Dyne to battle with Ordonez. And battle they did exchanging P2 five times in the second half of the race. Al Carter handicapped himself with a trip down the escape road in turn one on lap one. Peter Ludwig quickly rose as high as P2 battling with Dyne for that position before taking himself four-off requiring a mandatory safety check. Pat Daly and Jim Craige settled into the closest battle of the race exchanging P4 eight times with endless clean passes into big bend, neither pulling a gap on the back side of the track while each looking for a mistake to take advantage of.

At the checker, Freiberg had a 15.5 second walk away from Ordonez in P2 who nipped Dyne by a tenth and a half. Pat Daly won his Indy Lights dual for P4 with Jim Craige in P5 when Daly found a back marker at west bend and used him to create a gap Craige couldn’t overcome on the last lap. Peter Ludwig in P6 and Al Carter in P7 recovered from their on track indiscretions and Leland Englebardt in P8 (also on the one stop strategy) beat Franco Aragones in P9 by less than a second. And Kyle Robertson in P10 also recovered from a spin and safety check.

Race Group 1 Race 2
With the cream already at the front, the back of the field quickly curdled as there was a lap one big bend pile up that took five cars out of the race guaranteeing that the nine remaining would finish in the top 10. Ashley was never challenged with the feild behind her and Austin doing his best to keep her in sight. Sebastian battled with Pat Daly and Peter Ludwig before leaving them behind in pursuit of Dyne and Freiberg.

At the half way point the podium had been decided as Freiberg, Dyne and Ordonez had each gained a substantial gap between them and each of their immdiate competition. That was not the case for P4 and P5 as Peter Ludwig and Pat Daly became the battle to watch. Ludwig consistently took a defensive line down the front straight to strategically block as Daly tried drafting and taking the conventional line to find an edge.

Ludwig’s defense allowed Jim Craige to catch up and pass Daly into turn one on lap 11 but his late brake maneuver ultimately did him in as he slid off the outside of big bend and had to come in for a safety check.

Daly tried an outside pass through big bend that almost worked but Ludwig managed to hold his inside line and wag his finger at Daly as he kept the point, so to speak. With five to go, Daly got by when Ludwig put two off at track out of the downhill but Ludwig got him back with three to go when Daly slipped wide of the downhill apex and lost momentum.

The crowd was on its feet for the last lap as Daly put on a full court press. Ludwig first waved to the big bend flaggers and spectators in “victory lap” style as the showman took every defensive position from turn one through four. At the uphill Daly had a good run but Ludwig went defensive to west bend as Daly’s shift lever broke off in his hand. Daly managed to complete his shifts with the broken nub and took the normal radius through west bend giving him a better run on Ludwig through the downhill. They were side pod by side pod when Ludwig pushed Daly to the right side grass as they crossed the line in a photo finish that Daly took by 42 hundredths of a second. It was just the way they’d write it for the movies except in the movies it would have been for the outright win instead of P4 and P5. But ya ‘gotta love the drama. It was a great show.

Jim Craige fought back for P6 leading Leland Englebardt in P7 by two seconds at the stripe. Kyle Robertson was P8 and Leon Blaiweiss P9.

Race Group 2 Race 1
Familiar names were at the top of this pile as Lucas Bize traded the lead with Tyler Cooke in the early laps before Angelo Dinkov grabbed the lead on lap seven. Lap seven also brought Al Carter from P8 to P3 as Tyler Cooke held P2 and John Dubets P4. Steven Craig was P5 with brother Jim not far behind in P6. This running order held and things spread out until lap 14 when Aaron Fernandez plugged it into the downhill tire wall bringing out a five-lap yellow flag/pace car situation while the #12 car was removed and the tire wall re-set.

On the restart there were lots of looks and head fakes but no changes of position with the exception of Steven Craige who went four off at the uphill turn and came in for a safety check.

Angelo Dinkov won with Tyler Cooke just over a second back and Al Carter in P3 on the last podium step less than two seconds back. John Dubets a won the battle for P4 about 3 tenths behind Al and Jim Craige finished P5 under 4 tenths behind John. Gar Robinson crossed 3 seconds later in P6 with Lucas Bize in P7 seven seconds behind Gar. Jason Krekorian, Zoran Mitrovski and George (Don’t call me Star Wars) Lucas rounding out the top 10.

Race Group 2 Race 2
Angelo Dinkov never looked back holding the lead from lap one to the finish with Al Carter always waiting for a mistake that never came in P2. Third position was more contentious as Tyler Cooke, Jim Craige, John Dubets and Lucas Bize all held it at various times with Bize having it on the lap that mattered after a second-half battle with John Dubets who ultimately finished P4. Jim Craige and Tyler Cooke fought tooth and nail with Craige out-braking Cooke into turn one only to be re-passed underneath when Jim slid wide but not off track. This had the feeling of his earlier battle with Daly but with a different result as Craige P5 got the last lap run on the downhill and edged Cooke P6 by a paper thin 18 hundredths at the line. Bravo Jim! Jason Krikorian P7 bested Steven Craige P8 by just over two seconds while Gar Robinson finished P9 and George Lucas completed the top 10.

Race Group 3 Race 1
The top two podium steps were taken from the start with Trent Hindman pulling out a commanding lead over Sebastian Ordonez in P2. Luigi Biangardi held P3 until lap four when Peter Ludwig came up from P12 to take the third podium step and challenge Sebastian, falling just over a second short at the finish. Luigi in P4 was five seconds behind Peter at the finish but more than twelve seconds ahead of Greg DiMaggio in P5. Al Carter in P6 had a four-off at turn two in the early going so he was first of the one-stop group and 10 seconds up on Zach Silver in P7. Paul Subject in P8 won his battle with Chris Brassard P9 and Gary “The Viz” Vizioli completed the top ten.

Race Group 3 Race 2
Sebastian Ordonez would not be denied as youngsters Trent and Sebastian along with master Ludwig traded places frequently during the first five laps. Eventually Sebastian took the point and let Hindman and Ludwig duke it out behind him as Hindman eventually took sole possession of P2 and Ludwig P3. Al Carter got into the back of Luigi Biangardi on lap twelve. ending Carter’s race and sending Luigi into the pits for a safety check. This opened up P4 for Greg DiMaggio and P5 for Zach Silver. Paul Subject and Gary Vizioli battled to the line with Paul taking P6 by four tenths and Gary P7. Luigi fought back to P8 after his stop while David Knight and Ted Jewell completed our top 10 list.

Race Group 4 Race 1
It was five wide at the starting line for this gnarly gaggle of zoom-zoomers. Tyler Wolfson held the point for the first five laps before Al Carter decided to hold it for the next ten. Lucas Bize was biding his time in third and Tyler Cooke in fourth. Peter Ludwig got as high as third before an MDNF took him out and Brian Freiberg settled into fifth place. Steven Craige passed Jason Krikorian for P6 after Krikorian hit David Steinschraber who went to P7.

While leading, Al Carter missed a shift in big bend and slid off the track putting him on the one pit-stop schedule and giving the lead to Tyler Wolfson who held it to the end. Lucas Bize defended P2 from Tyler Cooke by less than a second. Brian Freiberg in P4 was 3 seconds behind Cooke but 20 seconds in front of Al Carter in P5 with his safety penalty. Steven Craige brought P6 home sixteen seconds in front of David Steinschraber P7.

Race Group 4 Race 2
After one false start, the pack got cleanly underway with Tyler Wolfson leading Lucas Bize, Tyler Cooke, Brian Freiberg and Al Carter on lap one. Carter started picking people off and moved all the way to P2 by lap seven where the order went to Wolfson, Carter, Bize, Cooke and Freiberg.

Carter took the lead on lap ten while Bize and Cooke had a great race long-battle for P2 and Brian Freiberg was right there keeping the pressure on Bize and Cooke.

Al Carter’s luck finally turned and he led the entire back half of the race finishing 1.65 seconds ahead of Bize who won his battle for P2 with Cooke, who finished in P3 by less than 2 tenths. Brian Freiberg P4 kept ‘em honest just 3.5 seconds back. The Indy Lights group was led by Tyler Wolfson P5 more than 20 seconds back and Steven Craige P6 was 10 seconds behind Wolfson. William McDonnell was P7 and Gunter Helland P8. David Steinschraber retired in P9 after hitting the turn one tire wall.

Race Group 5 Race 1
After the earlier mentioned incident on Friday, Group 5 started their race first thing Saturday morning with Michael Johnson in the newly created #21 hand control car. (Bravo again to Keith, Dom and all the guys that made it happen).

Ashley Freiberg led Jesus Rios, Austin Dyne, Scott Heckert and the rest of the pack through turn one and the top positions stayed that way for fifteen laps until Rios got around Freiberg on lap 17. Ashley stuck to Jesus like glue trying to get the position back and on the last lap they had contact. Jesus stayed out and even with his time penalty won the race while Ashley finished in the pits dropping back to P4.

Austin Dyne in P2 held off Scott Heckert in P3 by one tenth of a second. Sergio Pasian started and finished P5. David Knight improved to P6 and Paul Subject P7 just managed to hold off Michael Johnson P8 by 3 tenths at the line. Gary Vizioli P9 recovered from his early off and Tom Goodhart P10 continued after his safety check following light contact with Leon Blaiweiss.

Race Group 5 Race 2
Jesus Rios held point with Austin Dyne and Ashley Freiberg giving chase. Ashley got around Austin on lap two and set her sites on Jesus. Scott Heckert held P4 until Sergio Pasian got around him on lap four with David Knight and Gary Vizioli in P6 and P7.

As the race reached the halfway point, Rios’s supertrap began to disassemble itself and eventually fall off giving him both a noise and horsepower advantage all others were envious of. This only lengthened his lead over Ashley who could do nothing but try and reel him in and hope for a mistake that never came.

Michael Johnson made a nice charge from P8 to P5 and was less than two seconds off and closing on Sergio Pasian P4 when he ran out of laps.

Paul Subject had an early encounter with the turn one tire wall that ended his race prematurely.

At the checker, Jesus Rios was almost 4 seconds and many decibels ahead of Ashley Freiberg P2 who was 16 seconds ahead of Austin Dyne P3. Twenty one seconds later, Sergio Pasian P4 crossed the line, just a second and a half up on Michael Johnson in P5. David Knight in P6 was first master and grand master with grand master Gary Vizioli having a solid run behind him in P7. Tom Goodhart was P8 and Scott Heckert retired in P9 with a mechanical problem. Canadian Paul Subject finished with a big smile in pit lane.

Next up is Grattan Raceway where cooler weather and more hot racing will be found.

The Stig’s New York Cousin

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