Racers Take on Roebling Road for Winter Series Finale
Kyle Masson Takes Formula Championship. Bryan Hixon Takes 5th MAZDASPEED Challenge Title.
After an evening of rain, the track was damp for Formula Group 1 racers as they took to the track. StingRay Robb would begin the race on pole but Devin Wojcik would make use of the rain line and pick up a two spots in the first lap. He would only manage to keep the lead briefly, as he would drop two positions after some tire lock up entering lap 3. This would allow Kyle Masson to slide into second followed by StingRay Robb in third. Further down the pack, Clay Magouyrk and Jeffrey Stern have a heated battle for eight position. With 13 laps to go, the track begins to dry. Devin slides allowing Sting Ray to pick some time, but Devin recovers nicely and maintains second.
Entering turn 5, Devin makes a pop for the lead and overtakes Masson. As they enter the the next lap, Masson retakes the lead in the straightaway followed by Devin and Sting Ray Robb. In the back, Stern spins allowing Nicolas Bakker and Clay to move up. With 10 laps to go, Sting Ray Robb looks to move on Devin. The two are side by side in the next two turns but Devin doesn’t let up, and manages to keep the second place. With less than 9 laps to go, Robb begins mastering turn 2 and continues to inch closer to Deivn but can’t overcome him despite his best effors. As Sting Ray continues fighting, Masson also continues to extend his lead from the rest of the field. In the back of the pack, Davis Durrett looks to make a move on Nicolas Bakker, but Bakker makes a mistake and goes four off in turn 5 allowing Durrett to move into 6. With 5 laps to go, Masson continues to stretch his lead while Robb closes his gap between Devin Wojick. With only 3 laps to go, Devin and Robb are side by side but neither make a move. Nicolas Bakker, who fell to the back, tries to advance on Stern but spins and continues. Going into the next lap, Robb takes the second spot as Devin moves back. With only 2 laps to go, Masson catches the back of the pack slowing him down giving some space for Robb and Devin to catch up but instead, Masson uses this to his advantage and extends his lead. Robb does the same and extends his second place position. Masson takes the win with a commanding 3 second lead followed by Robb and Devin.
In the MAZDASPEED Challenge, Sam Schecter makes an early move in turn 1 and makes a gigantic leap from 6th to 3rd and continues to charge. Going to turn 5, Schecter continues to move up and moves into second within the first lap. In front of Shecter, Zachary Month also has an assertive first lap and moves into first overtaking veteran Bryan Hixon. Hixon’s experience is evident as he keeps his composure and is still close with only 0.2 seconds separating him and the top 2. After 2 more laps, Hixon makes a move and tucks it in behind Schecter in turn. He moves into second. As Scheecter tries to make up the difference between second and third, he drops 3 wheels and continues. In the back of the pack. U.D Ramsey feels some pressure from Tapley Johnson. In turn two, Tapley makes the move and overcomes Ramsey for fourth. Zac continues to stretch his lead and with each lap, adds a car length from Hixon. Zachary takes the win followed by Hixon in second and Sam Schecter in third.
In Formula Group 3, due to the damp nature of the track, Stern goes four off early in the race allowing Clay Magouyrk to move into first place. Stern will drop to the back. With 12 laps to go, Clay continues to keep the lead followed by Mathias Soler in second and Rookie Sam Paley in third. Going into turn 2 of lap 5, Soler closes up the gap between Clay and himself. He would make a pop for the lead in lap 7 pushing Magouyrk back into second. In the Master’s race, Jeff Stern slowly makes up the gap between himself and Daly. Despite this, in the last 3 laps, Daly makes his move and picks up 2 spots finishing the race in fourth. Mathias takes the win followed by Clay in second and Sam Paley in third.
In Formula Group 1, Kyle Masson begins the race on pole. Masson would feel pressure from Devin Wojcik early. The two would exchange positions in the first lap but Wojick would fall back to second within the next lap. Raphael Forcier also begins the session assertively as he gains two positions in lap 3. He is able to make a pop for third and overcome Sting Ray Robb. Going into turn 3, Devin takes a big slide but keeps his position. As racers continue, the leaders, Kyle and Devin continue to break away from the pack but entering the next lap, Sting Ray makes a move to reclaim P3. Going into turn 5, Devin continues to work and closes the gap between himself and Kyle and enters the draft.
As racers enter turn 1, a few moves occur including a change in the lead but the exchange is short lived as Kyle captues it back moments later. Sting Ray and Raphael also have a heated exchange in the next 6 laps with six positions changes between the two racers. Raphael would capture P3 in lap 8. Devin continues to charge for the top spot but can’t make his move stick. As the racers reach the end of the session, Vincent Khristov makes a charge for the third position and makes it stick but it’s short lived as Raphael Fortier reclaims the position shortly after. With only 3 laps to go, Devin continues to close the gap with Kyle who had a big slide in the previous lap but doesn’t make the move until turn one where he makes a pass for the lead. With one last lap to go, the leaders switch and Masson takes the lead. With a photo finish, Kyle takes the lead by a mere .086 seconds. Devin takes second followed by Fortier in third.
In race 2 for the MAZDASPEED Challenge, racers faced difficult conditions as the rain ensued shortly after the beginning of the warm-up laps. Tires would be changed from BFGoodrich slicks to BFGoodrich Comp-2. Veteran MX-5 Cup racer Bryan Hixon would begin the race on pole and assume a commanding lead in the first few laps. He is followed by Zachary Month and Sam Schecter in second and third. As the racers approach the half-way mark, Zachary Month would make a pop for the lead and would overcome Bryan. Sam Schecter would follow in Month’s footsteps in lap 6 and would make a similar move on Bryan to overake the second position. Month would take the win followed by Schechter and Hixon in third.
In Formula Group 3, Race 2, Jeff Stern begins the race on pole and quickly tries to break away from the rest of pack but despite his assertive driving, has a big slide in the same lap and drops back. With Stern dropping back, Rookie Rafael Cymer takes the lead followed by Mathias Soler. Cymer’s lead is short lived as he goes four off in lap 4 and must come into the pits. His error would work well with Masters driver Pat Daly who had began in fifth position but would begin picking up positions from the start of the race. Going into lap 5, Daly would have overcome Mathias Soler for the lead. Despite Mathias holding strong to second, he would have an incident where he would go four off. His mistake would cause him to pit which would allow Rookie Sam Paley to move into second followed by Clay Magouyrk in third. As the racers enter the final laps of the race, Clay locks up and goes four off. With the incident, a yellow flag drops causing the lead to diminish between Daly and the rest of the field. Despite this, Daly manages to hold onto the lead followed by Rookie Sam Paley and Grand Master Jeff Stern in third.
With Masson’s first win of the day, he would clinch the Winter Series championship in commanding fashion. The young racer who had just began his racing journey less than 2 years ago with a Skip Barber Racing School 3-day at Road Atlanta would showcase the exceptional growth he would have in the system which has groomed the likes of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi. Masson wins the championship with 350 points followed by a relative newcomer Sting Ray Robb in second at 329 points and Devin Wojcik in third at 327 points.
In the MAZDASPEED Challenge, Bryan Hixon secured his 5th title in the series showcasing that experience did pay off. He would be followed by Zachary Month in second and Felix Borogadty in third.
As the another successful winter series is in the history books, racers will look towards the much anticipated Championship Series with an overall purse of $200,000 for the champion. Racers will take on the series in May 19-22, 2016 at Road Atlanta.