Results: Skip Barber National Openers at Sebring

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

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Race one, the start: The 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda gets underway.

SEBRING, Fla. (March 15) – Fourteen year old Gabby Chaves beat Hayden Duerson and Revere Greist in the season opener of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda and in the weekend’s second race, Fabio Orsolon led flag-to-flag from pole in the wet over Felipe Polehtto and Conor Daly. Both races ended under yellow, the first due to a misconstrued ‘‘medical’’ situation and the second because of a Turn 17 crash by third-at-the-time Chris Holmes.

In race one, polesitter Polehtto streaked away with an early lead while behind him was a show of mad scrambling for second through sixth. Holmes held second for one lap, with Chaves third, but with three-wide racing through Sebring’s quickest corners, One and 17, by the time lap two was done Duerson was into second and Holmes fourth, sandwiching Chaves. That order lasted all of one lap as the next time across the line we saw second belonging to Greist – up from 11th on the grid – Chaves still in third, followed by Duerson, Holmes, Josef Newgarden, Orsolon and Stevan McAleer.

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Early in race one, turning in to the Hairpin are Conor Daly (91), Hayden Duerson (86), eventual winner Gabby Chaves (37) and Chris Holmes (7).

It was on the next lap, four, that the complexion of the race changed dramatically. Orsolon wanted desperately to get past Holmes and in the Hairpin, Holmes came across Orsolon’s nose, Holmes began to spin and suddenly Orsolon’s car was climbing over the now-backwards Holmes. Holmes who got the worst of it, his right-rear suspension mangled into undriveability while Orsolon unbelievably was able to continue (he would bring it home 10th).

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Fabio Orsolon (49) and Chris Holmes (blue 7) had a dispute over some Hairpin real estate.

A couple corners up the road was the bizarre incident that resulted in this being the last green lap… In Turn 10, Lee Carpentier’s foot slipped off the clutch during a downshift – and now his left foot was jammed between the dead pedal and the clutch. This caused him to spin at the exit of 10 and was sitting sideways on the track when the unfortunate Mark Bumgarner had nowhere to go and tagged Carpentier. Both drivers got the cars off the track as a local yellow was thrown, but when a corner worker got to Carpentier, Lee’s shouted “My foot is stuck!” resulted in the corner captain calling in a full-course medical yellow. It actually did take some time for Carpentier to extract his trapped foot from beneath the clutch pedal, so it was likely the right call.

Meanwhile, up front we would see a dramatic lead change, moments before the FCY was called for…

Flying down to T17, Polehtto’s lead shrunk to nothing as Greist got a huge run out of 16. In 17, Greist did even better – as did P3 Chaves and fourth-place Duerson. Now it was a freight train heading into One. Greist popped to the inside of Polehtto. Chaves went with him a split second before Duerson, with the best draft, also moved out. Rather then check up, Duerson got into the back of Chaves, which put him into the back of Greist. Greist was now the fortunate recipient of a NASCAR-style bump draft and shot past Polehtto for the lead. But that put both Greist and Polehtto off line and their Turn One exits were compromised. Polehtto was shuffled to fourth while Chaves and Duerson had ample opportunity to get under Greist going into Three and did so. Seconds later the full course yellow was called and that was the race.

Coming home fifth was McAleer, followed by Newgarden, Michael DeNino, A.J. Riley, Nick Tonkin and the aforementioned Orsolon.

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The race one podium, left to right: Third place Revere Greist, winner Gabby Chaves, P2 Hayden Duerson and Masters Division winner Dom Bastien.

The second race was started in very wet conditions so officials called for a single file start. Polesitter Orsolon took full advantage of having the best view through his visor and rocketed to a big lead over second-starting Newgarden before the field even reach the turn seven Hairpin. P3 qualifier Hamilton Smith, quick during practice and qualifying but showing his lack of experience – this race was just his 12th Skip Barber start – was much too cautious in the wet and lost a ton of spots. By the time lap one was in the books it was Orsolon with a 10 car length lead, then a pack of snarling SBF2000s driven by Newgarden, DeNino, Polehtto, Duerson, Holmes, Marcio Pasaneli, Daly and McAleer. With Orsolon all alone up front and knocking off consistent 2:52s in the very wet conditions, the dicing behind him had those guys turning laps in the 2:54s so Orsolon was walking away.

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Although the heavy rain slowed to a drizzle by the start of race two, the conditions were still pretty treacherous. In the red #5 is second place finisher Felipe Polehtto.

Lap two saw DeNino up to second, thanks to Newgarden having to spin to avoid a car rejoining in Turn 10 after an off-course excursion. Polehtto was third, Duerson fourth and Greist fifth. Next time around, DeNino kept P2 but Greist got past both Duerson and Polehtto for third. A lap later Greist sliced past DeNino. Meanwhile, rain man Holmes was climbing up and by lap five had stationed himself behind second-place Greist. With his sights set, on lap six Holmes got it wrong in 17 and put it into the tire wall; Greist fell back to sixth. Daly took over second place, Polehetto third. On lap seven, before an FCY was called for the Holmes incident, Polehtto got around Daly and Newgarden fell from fifth to seventh, Greist and Duerson taking advantage.

With no time to straighten the tire wall in 17, there was no chance to green again and so it ended under yellow, Orsolon the jubilant winner, his close friend Polehtto second and Daly a solid third, his first National podium. Rookie DeNino was a fine fourth, trailed by Greist, Duerson (from 14th on the grid), Newgarden, Pasaneli, Jeff Oleen (from 18th) and Riley.

With two solid finishes — a fourth and a second, plus a point for a pole — Polehtto leaves Sebring with 61 points and the lead, up four on Orsolon and Duerson’s 57. Up next: Rounds three and four April 25-27 at VIR with Grand-Am.

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Fabio Orsolon had no trouble in the wet. Smile says it all…

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Conor Daly’s third place got him three podium hats.

Results, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda

March 13, 2008, round 1 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Sebring International Raceway, 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course
(Starting position in parentheses)

1. (5) Gabby Chaves, Bogota, Colombia, 6 laps, 78.014 average mph
2. (4) Hayden Duerson, St. Petersburg, Fla., 6 laps
3. (11) Revere Greist, Madison, Wis., 6
4. (1) Felipe Polehtto, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 6
5. (10) Steven McAleer, Glasgow, Scotland, 6
6. (9) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 6
7. (8) Michael DeNino, Gaithersburg, Md., 6
8. (7) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 6
9. (13) Nick Tonkin, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, 6
10. (12) Fabio Orsolon, Cabo Frio, Brazil, 6
11. (2) Conor Daly, Noblesville, Ind., 6
12. 1M (20) Dom Bastien, West Palm Beach, Fla., 6
13. (25) Marcio Pasaneli, Manaus, Brazil, 6
14. (22) Jeff Oleen, Bethesda, Md., 6
15. (15) Hamilton Smith, West Hartford, Conn., 6
16. (24) Dale Kistler-Collins, Thornton, Colo., 6
17. (28) Ryan Booth, Coral Springs, Fla., 6
18. (23) Thiago Calvet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 6
19. 2M (17) Peter Tucker, Dallas, Texas, 6
20. (14) Tyler Schaal, Sioux Falls, S.D., 6
21. (21) Eoin Ryan, Ireland, 6
22. (16) Dex Tuttle, Charlotte, N.C., 6
23. (3) Conner De Phillippi, San Clemente, Calif., 6
24. 3M (26) Jose Polido, Bogota, Colombia, 6
25. (27) Andre Polido, Bogota, Colombia, 6
26. (6) Chris Holmes, West Yorkshire, England, 3 (accident)
27. (19) Lee Carpentier, New Canaan, Conn., 3 (accident)
28. (18) Mark Bumgarner, Asheboro, N.C., 3 (accident)

Race length: 6 laps of 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course for 22.2 miles
Time of race: 17 minutes, 04.430 seconds
Conditions: Sunny and warm
Margin of victory: Finished under yellow
Lap leaders: Polehtto 1 – 4; Chaves 5 – 6
Cautions: One, for two laps (5 – 6)
Fastest qualifier: Polehtto, 2:22.995 / 93.150 mph
Fastest race lap: Greist, 2:23.947 / 92.534 mph, lap 3

March 14, 2008, round 2 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Sebring International Raceway, 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course
(Starting position in parentheses)

1. (1) Fabio Orsolon, Cabo Frio, Brazil, 8 laps, 65.801 average mph
2. (5) Felipe Polehtto, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8 laps
3. (7) Conor Daly, Noblesville, Ind., 8
4. (4) Michael DeNino, Gaithersburg, Md., 8
5. (10) Revere Greist, Madison, Wis., 8
6. (14) Hayden Duerson, St. Petersburg, Fla., 8
7. (2) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 8
8. (16) Marcio Pasaneli, Manaus, Brazil, 8
9. (18) Jeff Oleen, Bethesda, Md., 8
10. (9) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 8
11. (13) Ryan Booth, Coral Springs, Fla., 8
12. (3) Hamilton Smith, West Hartford, Conn., 8
13. (22) Dale Kistler-Collins, Thornton, Colo., 8
14. (11) Nick Tonkin, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, 8
15. (25) Lee Carpentier, New Canaan, Conn., 8
16. (17) Mark Bumgarner, Asheboro, N.C., 8
17. 1M (21) Peter Tucker, Dallas, Texas, 8
18. 2M (19) Dom Bastien, West Palm Beach, Fla., 8
19. (12) Tyler Schaal, Sioux Falls, S.D., 8
20. (23) Thiago Calvet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8
21. (24) Dex Tuttle, Charlotte, N.C., 8
22. (27) Andre Polido, Bogota, Colombia, 8
23. (20) Eoin Ryan, Ireland, 7
24. (8) Chris Holmes, West Yorkshire, England, 5 (accident)
25. (15) Steven McAleer, Glasgow, Scotland, 5 (cut tire)
26. (6) Conner De Phillippi, San Clemente, Calif., 1 (accident)
27. 3M (26) Jose Polido, Bogota, Colombia, 1 (retired)

Race length: 8 laps of 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course for 29.6 miles
Time of race: 26 minutes, 59.420 seconds
Conditions: Rain
Margin of victory: Finished under yellow
Lap leaders: Orsolon 1 – 8
Cautions: One, for two laps (7 – 8)
Fastest qualifier: Orsolon, 2:21.041 / 94.441 mph (R)
Fastest race lap: Newgarden, 2:48.448 / 79.075 mph, lap 6

2008 Skip Barber National points standings after 2 of 14 rounds, top 15 drivers:
1. Felipe Polehtto, 61
2. Fabio Orsolon, 57
3. Hayden Duerson 57
4. Revere Greist, 56
5. Michael DeNino, 52
6. Conor Daly, 50
7. Josef Newgarden, 49
8. A.J. Riley, 44
9. Marcio Pasaneli, 41
10. Nick Tonkin, 39
11. Jeff Oleen, 39
12. Gabby Chaves, 35
13. Hamilton Smith, 35
14. Ryan Booth, 34
15. Dale Kistler-Collins, 33

Rick Roso

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