Newgarden & Miller Rock & Roll in Cleveland

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 Click here for more photos of the National at Cleveland…

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Rounds five and six of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda championship were supporting the Champ Car Cleveland Grand Prix — and both races were wheel to wheel affairs from beginning to end. The two winners in the previous two rounds did it again: Josef Newgarden proved his win at VIR in April was a sign of further success to come when he not only took pole for both Cleveland races but converted the first one into a win, while fellow VIR winner Joel Miller took command a third of the way into the second race to get his second win of the year. And we also saw a 13-year-old Colombian driver making his first Skip Barber National start, one Gabby Chaves, who fought for and earned a podium.

Race one: On the first lap, polesitter Newgarden not only lost the lead to Chaves, the kid who’s barely into his teens and had qualified third, but had to slot into third behind Riley. With passes happening in every corner up and down the 30-car field, the next time around we saw Newgarden in the lead and Chaves third, Riley keeping P2. When Chaves and Riley started duking it out mid-race, ‘‘Newgy’’ opened up a small gap. But when Riley disposed of Chaves for the last time, on lap six, he went after Newgarden and chased him down. On the final lap, Riley timed a move through the front-straight chicane that gave him a run on Newgarden to the checker — but the effort fell 3 feet short. Jeff Relic, who hadn’t been in a National in more than a year, was a superb fourth, while Conor Daly, the young son of Derek making his first pro start, came home an impressive fifth.

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Here’s the start of race one, turning into One. Josef Newgarden’s in 80 car and Chris Wehrheim is in the white 95. On the right is R.B., risking life and limb to provide good feedback…

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Screaming down to One are A.J. Riley (37), Gabby Chavez (9), Newgarden (80) and Conor Daly (64), who was among a few new drivers impressive in their Skip Barber National debuts.

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Riley and Newgarden nose-to-tail heading up to Turn Three.

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Chaves lights ’em up as he gets under Riley to temporarily commandeer P2.

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A.J. and Josef look like champagne pros; Gabby begins to figure it out…

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Winner ”Newgy” in the media press conference, post-race.

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Jeff Kaiser (c.) took the Masters Division win, with ”rookie” Alan Baia (l.) second and Dom Bastien third.

Race two was even more closely fought, with six drivers racing scarily close over the first 12 laps: Newgarden, Chris Wehrheim, Miller, Riley, Chaves and Ricky Taylor. Wehrheim led lap one, then Newgarden took over. Miller snatched the lead from Newgarden on lap seven and then took advantage of the frantic fighting behind to eek out a small gap. Wehrheim had to recover from a four-off on the backside that had dropped him from second to eighth on lap four; by lap 12, he moved around Newgarden to take over second place. Wehrheim kept the whip to his Skip Barber Formula 2000 and chased after Miller, but the 2007 Skip Barber/Stars of Karting Scholarship winner was perfect and Wehrheim couldn’t get closer than 2 seconds to Miller’s gearbox. Meanwhile, with four laps to go, Newgarden succumbed to Riley and got within two-tenths of Wehrheim at the checker. Fifth was Taylor, Chaves sixth, with Stevan McAleer, Timmy Megenbier, Juan Carlos Sistos and Daly rounding out the top 10.

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Nah, Skip Barber National starts aren’t exciting at all…

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Joel Miller begins to check out.

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Stevan McAleer leads this dicing pack that includes Conor Daly (64) and Juan Carlos Sistos. All finished in the top 10.

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Newgarden in the 80, Wehrheim in the 95 and Riley in the 37 define ”battle in Turn One” for the Cleveland crowd.

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Wehrheim, Miller and Riley describe race two’s action to the media horde.

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Alan Baia, Jeff Kaiser and Dick Lippert in V.C. after race two.

Championship leader Miller increased his lead a tiny bit (by two points) despite a mechanical issue in race one that left him 13th at the finish. Miller’s second win of the year (he took one of the two VIR races, Newgarden the other) puts him at 178 points. Riley’s double-podium weekend jumped him from sixth in the standings to second, with 161 tallies. Newgarden’s climb up the points is even a bit more dramatic, 11th to sixth.

In the Masters Division, Jeff Kaiser won both races with rookie Alan Baia second each time. Dom Bastien was third in race one and erstwhile points leader Dick Lippert was P3 in race two; Kaiser takes over the points lead in the division, four up on Lippert.

With Skip Barber National rounds seven and eight (of 14, with one ‘’drop’’) in early August at Road America, there are more title contenders – at least nine – than you can shake a stick at.

Results, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda

June 23, 2007, round 5 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Champ Car Cleveland Grand Prix, 10-turn, 2.106-mile airport road course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (1) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 13 laps, 86.522 mph average speed
2. (4) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 13 laps
3. (3) Gabby Chaves, Colombia, 13
4. (9) Jeff Relic, Richfield, Ohio, 13
5. (6) Conor Daly, Noblesville, Ind., 13
6. (2) Chris Wehrheim, Norcross, Ga., 13
7. (5) Ricky Taylor, Apopka, Fla., 13
8. (7) Steven McAleer, Scotland, 13
9. (15) Juan Carlos Sistos, Mexico, 13
10. (19) Jeff Oleen, Bethesda, Md., 13
11. (13) Fabio Orsolon, Cabo Frio, Brazil, 13
12. (16) Timmy Megenbier, Melrose Park, Ill., 13
13. (8) Joel Miller, Hesperia, Calif., 13
14. (11) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 13
15. (18) Julien Gerbi, Nice, France, 13
16. (10), Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 13
17. 1M (14), Jeff Kaiser, Santa Clara, Calif., 13
18. 17 in class (24), Juan Pablo Contreras, Guatemala, 13
19. 18 in class (12), Eliott Bachelart, Indianapolis, Ind., 13
20. 19 in class (22), Taz Smith, Jacksonville, Fla., 13
21. 2M (21), Alan Baia, San Diego, Calif., 13
22. 3M (25), Dom Bastien, New Canaan, Conn., 13
23. 4M (23), Dick Lippert, Wichita, Kan., 13
24. 20 in class (26), Lee Carpentier, Great River, L.I., N.Y., 13
25. 21 in class (20), Julia Landauer, Newton, N.J., 13
26. 5M (17), Mike Distaulo, Aurora, Ohio, 13
27. 22 in class (27), Gary Manheimer, Colombia, 13
28. 6M (28), Ron Yarab, Youngstown, Ohio, 13
29. 7M (29), Tom Lehmkuhl, Avon Lake, Ohio, 13
30. 8M (30), Barry Biggin, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, 12

Race length: 13 laps of 2.106-mile, 10-turn airport road course for 27.4 miles
Time of race: 19 minutes, 28.355 seconds
Conditions: Sunny
Margin of victory: 0.036 seconds
Lap leaders: Chaves 1; Newgarden 2-13
Cautions: None
Fastest qualifier: Newgarden, 1:25.530 / 88.643 mph
Fastest race lap: Wehrheim, 1:25.772 / 88.392 mph, lap 5

June 24 2007, round 6 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Champ Car Cleveland Grand Prix, 10-turn, 2.106-mile airport road course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (7) Miller, 19 laps, 85.770 mph average speed
2. (2) Wehrheim, 19 laps
3. (4) Riley, 19
4. (1) Newgarden, 19
5. (5) Taylor, 19
6. (3) Chaves, 19
7. (11) McAleer, 19
8. (16) Megenbier, 19
9. (14) Sistos,19
10. (6) Daly, 19
11. Bachelart, 19
12. Smith, 19
13. (8) Relic, 19
14. (15) Lawrence, 19
15. 1M (12), Kaiser, 19
16. 15 in class (25), Contreras, 19
17. 16 in class (17) Gerbi, 19
18. 17 in class (21), Landauer, 19
19. 2M (20), Baia, 19
20. 18 in class (26), Carpentier, 19
21. 3M (18), Lippert, 19
22. 19 in class (10) Orsolon, 19
23. 4M (19), Distaulo, 19
24. 20 in class (28), Manheimer, 19
25. 5M (24), Bastien, 19
26. 21 in class (23) Oleen, 19
27. 6M (27), Yarab, 19
28. 7M (29), Lehmkuhl, 18
29. 8M (30), Biggin, 17
30. 22 in class (9), Gore, 3 (contact)

Race length: 19 laps of 2.106-mile, 10-turn airport road course for 40.1 miles
Time of race: 27 minutes, 59.495 seconds
Conditions: Sunny
Margin of victory: 2.745 seconds
Lap leaders: Wehrheim 1; Newgarden 2-6; Miller 7-19
Cautions: None
Fastest qualifier: Newgarden, 1:25.621 / 88.548 mph
Fastest race lap: Riley, 1:25.590 / 88.580 mph, lap 19

2007 Skip Barber National points standings after 6 of 14 rounds, top 15 drivers:
1. Joel Miller, 178
2. A.J. Riley, 161
3. Ricky Taylor, 159
4. Timmy Megenbier, 151
5. Stevan McAleer, 142
6. Josef Newgarden, 141
7. Jeff Oleen, 141
8. Kyle Lawrence, 134
9. Juan Carlos Sistos, 134
10. Juan Pablo Contreras, 108
11. Jonathan Gore, 106
12. Julien Gerbi, 101
13. Taz Smith, 98
14. Lee Carpentier, 95
15. Fabio Orsolon, 77

Masters Division, Skip Barber National points standings after 8 of 16 rounds, top 15 drivers:
1. Jeff Kaiser, 243
2. Dick Lippert, 238
3. Dom Bastien, 209
4. Quentin Wahl, 133
5. Peter Ludwig, 64
6. Alan Baia, 64
7. Chris Oliver, 58
8. Stephen Kaslogridis, 58
9. Tom Capizzi, 58
10. Mike Distaulo, 54
11. Harsha Sen, 52
12. Ron Yasrab, 50
13. Tom Lehmkuhl, 48
14. Doug Harrison, 47
15. Barry Biggin, 46

Next event: Road America, August 3-5

Rick Roso

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