Skip Barber National: Ricky Taylor, A.J. Riley Win

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Monday, August 06, 2007 ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Second things first: A.J. Riley has more than enough speed to win a BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda race on his own. But his first win in this year’s championship came in the second of two races at Road America as a result of a post-race penalty handed to Gabby Chaves for passing under yellow. On the last lap, leader Riley and Chaves came screaming down to Turn 12, Canada Corner, as a yellow was being waved for Fabio Orsolon, who had spun himself out of fourth place and beached his car the lap before. Chaves had begun his move on Riley before the two of them saw the flag, but the rules are clear – you can’t make a pass between the flag and the incident, and Chaves did. On the run up the hill to the checker, Riley had a head of steam that looked good enough to nose past Chaves before the stripe, but a defensive move by Chaves prevented that. A move deemed overly aggressive, in fact. So although Chaves crossed the line first, the two time penalties (20 sec. each, equal to a stop-and-go) relegated him to a classified 16th (13th in class).

The race up to that point was typical National; nine laps of side by side (and sometimes side by side by side by side!) dicing, from first to 10th, with multiple lead changes on any given lap. In addition to Chaves and Riley, in the mix were Revere Greist, Joel Miller, Ricky Taylor, Kyle Lawrence and Orsolon, any of whom could’ve won. Taylor’s day ended with a suspension failure on lap seven, however, and Orsolon tried too hard to get under Greist for third resulting in his aforementioned beach job. The Chaves penalties moved Greist up to second – the Skip Barber Regional star had started from pole – and Miller to third. Stevan McAleer, Lawrence, Jonathan Gore and Josef Newgarden all crossed the line nearly side by side, the four of them covered by a bit more than a 10th of a second.

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Here’s a sequence from race two, to show how close the racing was. The 58 blue is A.J. Riley, Gabby Chaves is in the red 45 and Kyle Lawrence in the blue 56 as this pack bids for real estate in Turn Five.

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Ok, more proof: Three wide through Five — Stevan McAleer (43), eventual P2 Revere Greist (19) in the middle and Fabio Orsolon (54) on the inside curbing.

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Last lap, last corner. A super save by Greist, and Riley begins his run on Chaves in the 45 car.

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The race two podium: Second place Revere Greist on the left, winner A.J. Riley and on the right, P3 Joel Miller.

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The race two Masters Division podium saw Quentin Wahl on top. Dick Lippert (l.) was P2 and finishing third was Dom Bastien.

Race one on Saturday was only a bit less exciting. First lap, poleman Taylor (his fourth of the year, twice as many as next-best Newgarden) had Lawrence, Timmy Megenbier, Greist and Riley all over him. Two laps of full course yellow followed (Dick Lippert drove into the back of John Greist, Revere’s father, sticking them both in the litter in Canada), then the action started anew as Riley got past Lawrence and glued himself to Taylor’s gearbox. Then Greist galloped past Riley to take his turn tracking Taylor. Three laps from the end, it was a big flare into the braking zone for Five and suddenly Taylor found himself stuck on the outside – and had to fall back in line in third, behind leader Greist and Riley. But a lap later Taylor moved back up to second when Riley got shuffled back to sixth on the penultimate lap. On the last lap, both Taylor and a charging Chaves bundled Greist back to third. Chaves chased Taylor across the line, a scant 2/10s behind. Greist and Lawrence were nearly dead-heat for third; virtually the same for Megenbier and Riley as they fought to cross the line fifth.

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In race one, here we see Ricky Taylor (30) go from the lead to P3 in Turn Five. He has to slot in behind Revere Greist (19) and A.J. Riley (58).

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Masters drivers: Harsha Sen on the left got second and Jeffrey Pietz a fine third in Saturday’s division race, won by Quentin Wahl.

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Ricky Taylor had ’em covered on Saturday. He took his fourth pole and won his second race of the year .

What does this do to the points? With non-regulars Greist and Chaves stealing front-of-the-field points, the order stays the same first through fifth: Miller, Riley, Taylor, Megenbier and McAleer. And this despite Miller’s less than stellar seventh in race one and Riley’s win in race two. Yes, Miller lost 6 points to Riley but Taylor’s unfortunate mechanical means he’s 25 in back of Miller instead of 19 or less. With six races to go – and every driver able to drop their single worst result – we’re a long way from deciding anything.

Results, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda

August 4, 2007, round 7 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Road America, 14-turn, 4.0-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (1) Ricky Taylor, Apopka, Fla., 8 laps, 78.576 average speed
2. (6) Gabby Chaves, Colombia, 8 laps
3. (3) Revere Greist, Madison, Wis., 8
4. (2) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 8
5. (7) Timmy Megenbier, Melrose Park, Ill., 8
6. (4) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 8
7. (5) Joel Miller, Hesperia, Calif., 8
8. (9), Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 8
9. (10) Steven McAleer, Scotland, 8
10. (11) Fabio Orsolon, Cabo Frio, Brazil, 8
11. 1M (13), Quentin Wahl, Santa Barbara, Calif., 8
12. 11 in class (12) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 8
13. 12 in class (17), Taz Smith, Jacksonville, Fla., 8
14. 13 in class (8), Juan Pablo Contreras, Guatemala, 8
15. 14 in class (21), Dion Von Moltke, Coral Gables, Fla., 8
16. 15 in class (16) Jeff Oleen, Bethesda, Md., 8
17. 16 in class (19) Juan Carlos Sistos, Mexico, 8
18. 17 in class (23) Lindsey Adams, Richardson, Texas, 8
19. 2M (24), Harsha Sen, Lexington, Ky., 8
20. 18 in class (18) Julien Gerbi, Nice, France, 8
21. 19 in class (26) Marc Bastien, New Canaan, Conn., 8
22. 3M (25), Jeffrey Pietz, Westlake, Ohio, 8
23. 20 in class (22), Lee Carpentier, Great River, L.I., N.Y., 7 (off course)
24. 4M (14), Dom Bastien, New Canaan, Conn., 7 (off course)
25. 5M (20), Dick Lippert, Wichita, Kan., 4 (accident)
26. 6M (27), Jeff Kaiser, Santa Clara, Calif., 3 (retired)
27. 7M (15), John Greist, Madison, Wis., 0 (accident)

Race length: 8 laps of 4.0-mile, 14-turn road course for 32.0 miles
Time of race: 24 minutes, 26.100 seconds
Conditions: Overcast
Margin of victory: 0.206 seconds
Lap leaders: Taylor 1 – 5; R. Greist 6 – 7; Taylor 8
Cautions: One, for 2 laps (2 – 3)
Fastest qualifier: Taylor, 2:32.619 / 94.353 mph
Fastest race lap: R. Greist, 2:35.156 / 92.810 mph, lap 5

August 5, 2007, round 8 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Road America, 14-turn, 4.0-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (2) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 9 laps, 91.128 average speed
2. (1) Revere Greist, Madison, Wis., 9 laps
3. (5) Joel Miller, Hesperia, Calif., 9
4. (3) Steven McAleer, Scotland, 9
5. (7) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 9
6. (9), Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 9
7. (11) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 9
8. (13) Jeff Oleen, Bethesda, Md., 9
9. 1M (14), Quentin Wahl, Santa Barbara, Calif., 9
10. 2M (15), Dick Lippert, Wichita, Kan., 9
11. 9 in class (6) Timmy Megenbier, Melrose Park, Ill., 9
12. 10 in class (21), Juan Pablo Contreras, Guatemala, 9
13. 11 in class (17) Julien Gerbi, Nice, France, 9
14. 12 in class (8), Dion Von Moltke, Coral Gables, Fla., 9
15. 3M (19), Dom Bastien, New Canaan, Conn., 9
16. 13 in class (10) Gabby Chaves, Colombia, 9
17. 14 in class (24) Juan Carlos Sistos, Mexico, 9
18. 15 in class (20) Lindsey Adams, Richardson, Texas, 9
19. 4M (18), John Greist, Madison, Wis., 9
20. 16 in class (16), Lee Carpentier, Great River, L.I., N.Y., 9
21. 5M (23), Harsha Sen, Lexington, Ky., 9
22. 17 in class (25) Marc Bastien, New Canaan, Conn., 9
23. 6M (26), Jeff Kaiser, Santa Clara, Calif., 9
24. 18 in class (12) Fabio Orsolon, Cabo Frio, Brazil, 7 (off course)
25. 19 in class (4) Ricky Taylor, Apopka, Fla., 6 (suspension)
26. 20 in class (22), Taz Smith, Jacksonville, Fla., 5 (engine)

Stewards’ notes: Von Moltke, Carpentier, Chaves each penalized 20 seconds for passing under yellow
Chaves penalized 20 seconds for aggressive driving

Race length: 9 laps of 4.0-mile, 14-turn road course for 36.0 miles
Time of race: 23 minutes, 42.178 seconds
Conditions: Overcast and misty
Margin of victory: 0.581 seconds
Lap leaders: Riley 1 – 6; Chaves 7; Riley 8; Chaves 9
Cautions: None
Fastest qualifier: R. Greist, 3:01.628 / 79.283 mph
Fastest race lap: Gore, 2:34.910 / 92.957 mph, lap 3

2007 Skip Barber National points standings after 8 of 14 rounds, top 15 drivers:
1. Joel Miller, 232
2. A.J. Riley, 221
3. Ricky Taylor, 207
4. Timmy Megenbier, 199
5. Stevan McAleer, 192
6. Kyle Lawrence, 188
7. Josef Newgarden, 185
8. Jeff Oleen, 180
9. Juan Carlos Sistos, 166
10. Jonathan Gore, 154
11. Juan Pablo Contreras, 147
12. Julien Gerbi, 134
13. Taz Smith, 128
14. Lee Carpentier, 121
15. Fabio Orsolon, 111

Masters Division, Skip Barber National points standings after 10 of 16 rounds, top 15 drivers:
1. Dick Lippert, 296
2. Jeff Kaiser, 293
3. Dom Bastien, 267
4. Quentin Wahl, 203
5. Harsha Sen, 110
6. Peter Ludwig, 64
7. Alan Baia, 64
8. Chris Oliver, 58
9. Stephen Kalogridis, 58
10. Tom Capizzi, 58
11. Mike Distaulo, 54
12. John Greist, 52
13. Ron Yarab, 50
14. Tom Lehmkuhl, 48
15. Jeffrey Pietz, 30

Next event: Lime Rock Park, August 17-19

Words & photos, Rick Roso

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