Mont Tremblant Race Weekend

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 It was an all-singing, all-dancing, all formula car weekend as the picturesque Circuit Mont Tremblant held host to Rounds 9 & 10 of the 2010 Summer Race Series. So while the MAZDASPEED Challenge cats were away, the F2000 mice got to play on the 2.65 mile circuit north of Montreal. Warm, sunny weather on Saturday gave way to cold, wet conditions on Sunday that provided an extra challenge to the field.

Group 1, Race 1
A bumper crop of 19 F2000’s took the green flag behind the front row of pole sitter Kevin Tittle and Dr. Mike Edwards, father of Atlantic Championship driver John. Dr. Mike got the jump at the start and stretched out a bit of a lead over the fourth starting Mikhail Goikhberg while Tittle settled into third place and a challenge from Keenan Harris. Harris claimed third place from Tittle, who then found himself in it with Al Carter. The result was contact between the two fourth place combatants, with Carter getting into the back of Tittle in Turn 4. Both cars returned to the action after safety checks, but Tittle’s troubles weren’t over yet, as more contact – this time getting into Bruce Robson, sent Tittle back to the pits and down in the order. Tittle would finish in 16th, at the tail end of the lead lap. Robson would retire with damage from the incident. Both drivers were okay.

Out at the front of the field, Mikhail Goikhberg took and then surrendered the lead to Dr. Mike before taking it for the final time on Lap 7, holding off the good doctor for the win. Dr. Mike held off Keenan Harris for second, and in fact it was a wily Pat Daly who got around Harris on the last lap for the final spot on the podium. Dom Bastien rounded out the top five ahead of Jim Craige and Scott Panzer. Al Carter recovered from his contact and safety check to come in eight, with Brian Skinner in ninth and Jim Norman filling out the top ten.

Group 1, Race 2
Group 1 found themselves in the rain for Race 2, with Mikhail Goikhberg taking the lead from pole ahead of Dr. Mike, Keenan Harris and Al Carter. The first yellow came out soon after as Dom Bastien spun in Turn 10 on the opening lap and was collected by the cars of Brian Skinner and David Cheng. All three were okay and while Cheng was able to continue, Bastien and Skinner were done for the afternoon.

The wet conditions continued to affect the field as two laps after going back to green the cars of Kevin Tittle and Scott Panzer got together in Turn 8, with Gus Doppes going off to avoid the melee. At the same time in Turn 6, Al Carter tagged the wall, sending debris all over the track and knocking himself out of the race. All drivers were okay, but the debris from the Carter incident combined with the deteriorating weather conditions to bring out the black flag for the session. Time constraints resulted in the race being shortened to ten laps, leaving a three-lap shoot-out at when racing resumed.

Mikhail Goikhberg completed the Group 1 sweep with a 1.858 sec. victory over his closest competitor, Keenan Harris. Jim Craige came in a distant third ahead of Harsha Sen and David Cheng, who recovered from his sympathy spin to finish in the top five. Dr. Mike Edwards came home in sixth, ahead of Ben Jopling and Pat Day, while Kevin Tittle and Scott Panzer were credited with ninth and tenth respectively.

Group 2, Race 1
Continuing his weekend roll, Mikhail Goikhberg started on his second pole of three races, sharing the front row with points leader Nick Andries. Goikhberg led early over Marconi Abreu, who moved up from this fourth starting position after getting around Dr. Mike and Andries. The top four broke away from the pack, with Goikhbeg, Abreu and Andries each taking a turn at the point. Lap 5 saw Abreu drop from the lead pack and into the pits for a safety check after and off-course excursion. Two laps later and Goikhberg reassumed the lead from Andries, who fell back into a battle for second with Dr. Mike. Dr. Mike was able to get around Andries with three laps to go and set off after Goikhberg.

Time ran out for Dr. Mike, as he could get no closer than 1.618 seconds to the winner, Mikhail Goikberg, who picked his second of three wins on the weekend. Nick Andries finished a distant third, more than 26 seconds back from the lead pair. Doug Harrison held off a late charge by Marconi Abreu for fourth, with Chris Brassard and Greg Strelzoff behind them in sixth and seventh. John Giddens was eighth ahead of Ted Jewell while Harsha Sen rounded out the top ten.

Group 2, Race 2
The continued soggy conditions on Sunday led to a single file start for Race 2, with polesitter Mikhail Goikhberg bring the field to the green. The race went downhill quickly for Goikhberg. Surrendering the lead to Nick Andries on Lap 5, Goikhberg then went off and tapped the wall trying to retake the lead a lap later. Goikhberg was able to continue after the safety check and was able to stay on the lead lap. The dismal conditions kept the wheel-to-wheel action to a minimum, with Nick Andries ultimately retaining the lead and taking the win over Dr. Mike Edwards. Marconi Abreu and Brian Skinner had a close battle for third, with Abreu taking it by a second and a half at the line. Doug Harrison brought his car home in fifth, ahead of Mikhail Goikhberg, the last car on the lead lap in sixth. Chris Brassard finished a lap down in seventh, ahead of Greg Strelzoff and Dom Bastien. John Gidens was the last car one lap down in tenth.

Group 3, Race 1
Not to be outdone by Group 1, Group 3 was bursting at the seams with the front row of Al Carter and Dex Tuttle leading a field of 20(!) cars to the green. The duo, along with third place starter Mikhail Goikhberg, broke away from the field to settle the podium positions between them. Tuttle worked his way around Goikhberg and battled Carter for the lead, taking the point on Laps 6, 9 and 10 before falling back to second behind Carter. The top three stayed that way for the remainder of the race. Coming into Namerow for the final time, Tuttle and Goikhberg closed on Carter, attempting to gang up on the leader coming down to the checkers. It was close, but Al Carter held off Dex Tuttle by the slimmest of margins; .088 seconds, with Mikhail Goikhberg seven tenths back in third. Ashley Freiberg came from 15th on the grid to claim a hard earned fourth place, a little over a second ahead of Trent Hindman. Scott Panzer collected a sixth place ahead of David Cheng, Thomas Healy and Bruce Robson. Gary Vizioli rounded out the top ten.

Group 3, Race 2
The cold and wet conditions on Sunday had a major effect on the field even before engines were started as 14 cars took the green for Group 3. While the conditions proved to be a challenge for the field, they also proved to be an opportunity for the 14th place starter, Spencer Pigot. Pigot, who popped in on Sunday for a one-off, made quick work of the field. After gaining two spots at the drop of the green, he took advantage of others mistakes to gain an incredible seven positions on the opening lap. The yellow came out on Lap 2 as first Mikhail Goikhberg then Gary Vizioli walled their cars in Turn 12 in separate incidents. Both drivers were okay and while Vizioli stayed on the lead lap Goikhberg’s race ended in the Turn 12 fence. The yellow bunched the field and when the green came out Pigot took the lead from polesitter Al Carter and from there he was off.

In the end, Spencer PIgot stretched his advantage out to a 20 second margin of victory over Al Carter, while Ashley Freiberg moved up one spot from her starting position for third place. Dex Tuttle came in fourth ahead of David Cheng and Trent Hindman. Bruce Robson recovered from an early four-off to come home in seventh ahead of Thomas Healy and Paul Subject while Paul Subject completed the top ten.

After 10 of 14 Rounds of the 2009 Skip Barber Summer Race Series, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver Nick Andries is making the most of the scholarship he earned at this year’s Karting Scholarship Shoot-out. Andries holds the point lead over Master’s Division leader Al Carter and Grand Master leader Pat Daly. The Summer Race Series is off to the Kettle Moraine region of Wisconsin the weekend of August 22-23 where it joins the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National and Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge at the four-mile Road America in Elkhart Lake.

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