Preview: Skip Barber National at VIR (Also: The Media Guide is Now Online)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 ALTON, Va. – With the first two races of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in the books (Sebring, supporting the 12-Hour), no less than 10 drivers showed themselves capable of making a run at the title. Rounds three and four are this weekend at Virginia International Raceway, supporting the VIR 400 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal. In addition to the three obvious players – Sebring race one victor Timmy Megenbier, race two winner Ricky Taylor, and points leader Jeff Oleen (finishes of third and second, respectively) – four other drivers had top-five finishes in one or both Sebring races.
Joel Miller had a fourth and a second. Beau Debard went third-fourth. Kyle Lawrence notched a fifth along with a 12th (due to a last-lap, last-corner spin out of fourth place). A.J. Riley was 11th in race one but fifth in race two. Getting the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent was Stevan McAleer, who booked an eighth along with a competitive sixth.
Five of this year’s drivers entered the Skip Barber National races at VIR last year.
Taylor qualified eighth and finished fifth in race one, then qualified fourth for race two but spun himself to 15th in the middle of race two. Lawrence qualified fourth and sixth, finishing seventh and sixth. Jonathan Gore had trouble in race-one qualifying, finding himself 18th on the grid, but climbed through the field in the wet and scored a resounding eighth; in race two, Gore started ninth and ran as high as fifth before a mistake relegated him to 13th at the checker – but he set the race’s fastest lap, 3/10s quicker than the next best. Although Riley’s races were nothing to write home about – 14th and 12th – he at least showed a turn of speed with a P6 qualifying run for race one. And Mario Adrian Ochoa, a late entrant for this weekend’s VIR rounds, last year finished fourth in Sunday’s race two.
With two very long straights – one out of a slow, first-gear corner (Oak Tree), the other (T17) from a quickish third-gear righthander – the addition of Handford Devices to this year’s fleet of Skip Barber Formula 2000 race cars should provide an abundance of action and lead changes.
In the Skip Barber National’s Masters Division, Dick Lippert’s two ninth places at Sebring has him in the points lead with 70. Jeff Kaiser finished 10th and 12th and sits second (64 points) while Stephen Kalogridis is third with 58.
NOTE: If you didn’t get a chance to pick up the 2007 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda Media Guide at the Sebring 12-Hour, click on the link below to launch a PDF of the booklet. The 2007 Media Guide also includes final points standings from each year (1999 – 2006), plus race-by-race box scores from 2004 to 2006. The current points standings are on page 21.