Summer Race Series at Mid Ohio

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Monday, October 04, 2010 Some say he sleeps with ghosts of Gurney and Brabahm at Mid Ohio… All we know is with Halloween fast approaching he will scare small children and get any seat he wants on a subway train by simply wearing his helmet and Nomex suit. He’s the Stig’s New York cousin.

Three straights attached to a tight kart track with switchbacks and elevation changes make Mid-Ohio both loved and despised by many. The track is a wonderful challenge by itself but add a field of twenty or so and the passing opportunities limit themselves to the brake zones at the end of those three straights. Although, on occasion we did witness side-by-side action from turns 7 through 10 that made no one faster but did put the crowd on its feet.

Group 1 Race 1 MX-5 Cup
Bruce Robson belied his grand master years by leaping to the front and leading the entire field for the first three laps after starting P4 followed by John Dubets and Ashley Freiberg as the top five broke away from the pack in the early going.

Youth ultimately prevailed as Ashley Freiberg and Angelo Dinkov first battled for P2 with Angelo taking the lead from Bruce on lap 3 as it then took Ashley until lap 7 to get around Bruce. At about this point a mysterious tire mark appeared on Angelo’s car so he was black flagged for a safety check after obvious contact. By lap 11 Brian Freiberg and John DuBets had positioned themselves behind Ashley who was now leading the race.

On lap 12 Lucas Bize got around Bruce for sole possession of P4. Lucas also set fastest lap of the race on lap 3.

As the race wound down John DuBets, who dropped as low as 6th in the middle laps, fought back to P3. Brian Freiberg did his best but was never quite able to catch sister Ashley and then received a stop and go penalty when a post race inspection revealed that he applied the tire mark to Angelo’s car during the race.

At the finish line Ashley Freiberg won the race and John DuBets inherited P2. Lucas Bize grabbed P3 with Bruce Robson P4. First with the one pit-stop strategy Angelo Dinkov came back for P5 and Brian Freiberg, after his time penalty, took P6. Fastest Flying Randall Steve grabbed P7, Kyle Robertson P8 and Flying Randalls’ Brad and Rod rounded out the top 10.

Group 1 Race 2 MX-5 Cup
On Saturday a cold wet track provided a completely new challenge for these drivers as Bruce Robson learned the hard way about the polished dry line with a snap spin into the front straight retaining wall on lap 1 that allowed him to limp it back to the pits but ended his run prematurely. At the restart Ashley and Brian Freiberg were head and shoulders above the rest running away from the field at a spectacular rate. David Steinschraber got the award for most four off’s with four, and except for the Freibergs, who learned their rain line advantage lapping on a wet track earlier in the week, the rest of the field tip-toed their way around the very polished apexes and pavement sealer that re-defined Mid-Ohio in the wet. It is reminiscent of the slightly more diabolical rain line experience at Lime Rock Park before they repaved it.

Ashley and Brian put on a clinic as Brian caught and passed Ashley in the closing laps only to have his sister pass him back into turn 3. Brian then entertained the instructors and crowd by demonstrating his drifting skills through the twisty bits trying to run down Ashley again before throwing himself off in turn 10 and reporting for a safety check. However it turned out that he and Ashley had been running fully ten seconds a lap faster than anyone else so when he returned to the track after his safety stop he was still more than a minute ahead of P3. Wow…

At the checkered flag Ashley Freiberg led brother Brian Freiberg P2 by thirty-three plus seconds with Angelo Dinkov P3 leading the tip-toe crowd a minute and twenty seconds behind Brian. Lucas Bize P4 was fourteen seconds behind Angelo and Kyle Robertson P5 ran down John Dubets P6 as they had a great battle to the flag with Robertson nipping DuBets by six hundredths at the stripe. Nice.

Steve Randall was a solid P7, with Gunter Heiland P8 winning the masters trophy and David Steinschraber soldiering home P9. The remaining Flying Randall clan, Brad P10, Rod P11and DJ P12 completed the field.

Group 2 Race 1 Formula Skip Barber
Future open wheel talent Brandon Newey, Jesus Rios, Sebastian Ordonez, Thomas McGregor and Trent Hindman led a pack of nineteen cars into turn 7 with special motivation as soon to be Skip Barber National series winner Spencer Pigot decided to jump in and start from the back.

Many did themselves in early as Kevin Tittle, Dr. Mike, Brandon Newey and Sebastian Ordonez all had four-offs requiring safety checks. By lap 2 Spencer had gone from P19 to P6 as Jesus Rios battled with Thomas McGregor and Trent Hindman for the lead. By lap 6 Pigot was around both McGregor and Hindman for P2 as he set his sites on Rios.

Lap 10 was pivotal as Spencer passed Jesus for the lead and Hindman got around McGregor for P3 as the Pigot, Rios, Hindman, McGregor train then held to the checker. However, both Rios and McGregor were penalized a stop and go time penalty for passing under a double yellow flag when Greg DiMaggio beached himself. Paul Arnold, the first master/grand master, was hanging right in there with the fast kids in P5.

Mid-pack, Steven Green was having a solid run as Sebastian Ordonez and Brandon Newey failed to catch him as they fought their way back after four-offs. Doug Harrison and Jim Booth first briefly held off Ordonez and Newey and then chased each other before Harrison had a spin at turn 8 that required a safety check.

After checker and penalties Spencer Pigot was the winner with Trent Hindman P2 4.5 seconds behind. After his penalty, Jesus Rios was P3 with Paul Arnold P4. Steven Green P5 gets the strong silent type award as Sebastian Ordonez P6 and Brandon Newey P7 made the most of their recovery. Thomas McGregor P8 dropped four spots after his penalty with Jim Booth P9 having a solid run and Dr. Mike recovering from his four-off in P10.

Group 2 Race 2 Formula Skip Barber
A very damp track also re-defined this race as drivers wrestled with changing conditions that produced many spins and 4-offs while searching for grip.

Jesus Rios, Thomas McGregor and Paul Arnold were all spinners who recovered without going 4-off in the early going. This put Spencer Pigot and Trent Hindman at the front while Arnold and Rios scrambled to catch up. Brandon Newey went 4-off at turn 8 dropping him back to P16 after his safety check but he set fastest lap of the race while climbing back through the field.

Mid-race settled into Pigot leading with Hindman P2 Arnold P3 Rios P4 and McGregor doing battle with Dr. Mike for P5. Jim Booth was in P6 until Logan Downing caught him on lap 9.

Doug Harrison had a special relationship with turn 8 as he had a brief four-off there on lap two and returned to challenge it again later in the race doing a beautiful pirouette double-Danny over the crest of the hill in which he did not go four-off, downshifted while spinning and continued down the hill without missing a beat to the largest ovation by crowd and corner workers heard all weekend. Can’t wait to see the in-car banquet video!

Meanwhile the leaders dealing with lapped traffic allowed Jesus Rios to catch and pass both Arnold and Hindman while challenging Spencer Pigot for the lead. On lap 14 Rios stuck his nose inside Pigot into turn 8 and lost grip hitting Pigot and spinning both of them. Pigot was the victim on this one as Rios was able to recover first and benefit from his overly aggressive move.

Paul Arnold became the hero of every master and grand master as he took the outright lead from Trent Hindman and hold him off to the finish line. Lets hear it for treachery over youth!

At the stripe it was Paul Arnold the winner with Trent Hindman P2 just two tenths back followed by Jesus Rios P3 and Spencer Pigot P4. Dr. Mike Edwards had a solid P5 run with fast lapper Brandon Newey P6 climbing back admirably from his early off . Thomas McGregor P7 was challenged by the changing conditions and Kevin Tittle P8 did a good job after an early spin in the carousel. Sebastian Ordonez P9 returned from a four-off and wing damage and Jim Booth had a clean P10 run in the admittedly challenging conditions.

Group 3 Race 1 MX-5 Cup
This race is renamed the Tyler Wolfson Cup as Tyler owned this one from start to finish while also setting fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately John Snyder hit Bruce Robson on the opening lap resetting both of them to the back while Brian Freiberg did his best at keeping Wolfson honest the entire race.

One of the best battles of the race was between Jim Craige and Tyler Cooke for P3 who went back and forth five times before Cooke had contact with Craige and was penalized.

At the finish, Tyler Wolfson walked away from Brian Freiberg P2 by a 6.7 second margin and fastest lap of the race with Brian’s fastest lap just a few hundredths slower. Sneaky fast flying Steve Randall P3 took the final podium step with Jim Craige P4 and Tyler Cooke P5 after their great battle and unfortunate contact. John Snyder P6 fought back from his early contact followed by Brad Randall P7, DJ Randall P8, Bruce Robson P9 and final flying Randall Rod rounding out the top 10.

Group 3 Race 2 MX-5 Cup
Tyler Wolfson decided to treat this as a memorial and give everyone else a chance in race two by tossing himself off in the carousel on lap one and resetting to the back of the field after his safety check. Brian Freiberg took the point in a big way as a Donnybrook ensued among Jim Craige, Tyler Cooke and John Snyder for positions two through four during the middle of the race.

Meanwhile all four flying Randalls and Bruce Robson were running in formation doing their best to slow the progress of Tyler Wolfson who merely treated them as moving chicanes as he not only carved his way back to the front but set a new MX-5 track record in the process making mince meat of the field.

In his battle for P2 with Tyler Cooke on lap 12 Jim Craige slid off at turn 3 and had to report to the pits. Tyler Wolfson set his track record while closing on Snyder and Cooke.

Brian Freiberg kept his head down to the finish line winning by just over five seconds on Tyler Wolfson P2 who came all the way back from last to nip Tyler Cooke P3 by seven tenths of a second. Cooke finished ahead of first master John Snyder P4 by 7 tenths as well.

The lights battle had flying Steve Randall P5 ahead of DJ Randall P6 who was able to fend off a late charge from Jim Craige P7 after his safety check. P8 and P9 were also in the Randall clan with Rod and Brad taking those spots and Bruce Robson coming back from his four-off in turn 8 to complete the top ten.

Group 4 Race 1 Formula Skip Barber
With twenty in this group and the top fifteen qualifiers less than two seconds apart… What could possibly go wrong? Good things came to those who kept it on track, avoided contact and observed the rules during this take no prisoners brawl.

Ashley Freiberg was pole sitter with Christian Szymczack, who hadn’t been in a Skippy car for several years remarkably claiming P2 starting position right out of the box.

The green flag brought early chaos as Thomas McGregor’s car lost power (possible vapor lock) in the carousel. Cars scattered in all directions and Thomas was tagged by Rafe Baskin from behind putting both of them out of the race. Luigi Biangardi had a four-off while Sebastian Ordonez and Brandon Newey also got together and had to report for safety checks. At the end of the pack, Chris Brassard was most progressive seeing green ahead of most to leap from 19th to 9th in the first half lap. The pace car emerged to reform the race pack and give the track crew time to clear cars and debris.

At the restart Ashley, led with Christian hounding her until lap four when he was able to take the lead. Jesus Rios turned up on lap 11 to take P2 from Ashley who immediately took it back and began hounding Christian again. Franco Aragonez rose from P6 to challenge Jesus Rios for P3.

As the laps wound down Ashley Freiberg was confounded several times by Christian Szymczack who made double blocking moves to thwart her progress. Though he did cross the finish line ahead of her he also crossed the line of racing etiquette and was called for blocking and given a time penalty that gave Freiberg the win.

Though not quite as strong as Freiberg and Szymczack, Franco Aragonez did admirably drive around Jesus Rios and was ultimately rewarded with P2 after Szymczack’s time penalty. Jesus Rios held on to claim P4 and the fastest lap of the race while Luigi Biangardi recovered from his early four-off to drive around Brassard and Daly to claim P5. Bravo Luigi!

First master/grand master Pat Daly worked his way up from P13 to P6. Chris Brassard P7 held off Sebastian Ordonez P8 by a tenth of a second as Ordonez pushed to recover from his contact related safety check. Brandon Newey P9 (Sebas’s contact buddy) was right behind Sebastian and smiling Paul Subject P10 had a clean run holding off Marcus Foertsch by a tenth at the line.

Group 4 Race 2 Formula Skip Barber
Race two had less drama but was by no means drama free as Shelbilly Blackstock reset himself to the back of the field with a four-off in the carousel on lap one. Ashley Freiberg assumed the lead when Sebastian Ordonez challenged her on lap 3 into turn one. Sebastian carried more than he needed to track-out and went four-off as Ashley uncharacteristically followed him off as well. This gave Christian the lead and Jesus someone to challenge, and he did. Jesus took the lead from Christian on lap 7 before promptly throwing himself off in turn 11 and giving it right back to Christian.

This left Luigi Biangardi chasing Christian with Brandon Newey moving up on Luigi’s rear wing. Dr. Mike was on a mission from God to be both most progressive from P17 and first master/grand master. Sebastian Ordonez was also on a mission to recover from his early off.

At the checkered flag Christian Szymczack redeemed himself from his race one faux pas to win race 2 outright, while Brandon Newey P2 got around Luigi Biangardi P3 by 9 tenths of a second. Dr. Mike achieved his mission and secured first master/grand master in P4 holding off Sebastian Ordonez P5 who secured fastest lap of the race. Pat Daly neither advanced nor declined in P6, Ashley Freiberg recovered from her safety check to P7. Jim Booth P8 moved up from P13 getting past Chris Brassard P9 with two laps to go and Marcus Foertsch P10 was nine tenths of a second behind Brassard at the line.

Group 5 Race 1 MX-5 Cup
The race began with Phil Mather leading and Jim Craige on his tail. It took Jim four laps to get by Phil who then hung all over Jim like a cheap suit. John Snyder was the pesky little brother looking for admission to the party setting fastest laps in the early going but never quite catching up to the big kids. The best back and forth battle was between Ward Herst and Mathew DiLeo for P4. These two hounded each other for that position the entire race.

In the end Jim Craige held off Phil Mather P2 by two seconds as pesky John Snyder, to use the technical term, “dun blowed up” going into turn 3 on the last lap. This made Ward Herst’s lap 13 pass on Mathew DiLeo even more important as it elevated Herst P3 to the final podium spot and moved DiLeo up to P4. Then three quarters of the Randall clan took over, as Steve Randall P5 was thirty seconds ahead of DJ Randall P6 who was 1.6 seconds up on Brad Randall P7. Tom Baluk was P8, John Snyder P9 and the final Randall Rod P10 who retired two laps from the finish.

Group 5 Race 2 MX-5 Cup
Phil Mather would not be denied this time and neither would John Snyder who was starting P9.

At the green flag Mather took the lead and Mathew DiLeo slotted into P2 with (big surprise) Ward Herst in P3 and Jim Craige in P4. Once again DiLeo and Herst battled fiercely for P2 until lap 9 when John Snyder passed them both to do what he had wanted to do the previous day before his engine expired. Snyder turned the fastest lap of the race carving through the field while trying to catch Mather.

At the finish line Mather prevailed by 1.3 seconds with Snyder P2 fully five seconds over Ward Herst P3 who was nine seconds up on Mathew DiLeo P4. Jim Craige P5 was just half a second in back of DiLeo and Dr. Mike Edwards P6 had worked feverishly after jumping in at the back of the field. Steve Randall P7 was less than three tenths behind Dr. Mike with DJ Randall P8, Rod Randall P9, Tom Baluk P10 and the last flying Randall Brad closing out the field.

The Pork In The Sky Memorial
This event was conceived of by Dr. Stephen Hawking and required a Cray YMP vector computer to plan and execute. Every car, both open wheel and MX-5 in the Skippy fleet was gassed up and run dry in two separate heats as legends and myths of racing past and present assumed driving duties with partners in some but not all cases.

The final results will never be fully known or understood but some suggestions of results are available on the MyLaps web site. There are hopes to recreate this event in a future time space continuum at another SBRS location.

Next up: The Lime Rock Park Finale
The summer series, like baseball, is mostly done now and prepares for its final act as Lime Rock Park opens its friendly confines with temperatures dropping and the leaves turning crimson and gold. The final races will be run and points tallied for announcement at the banquet on Saturday October 9th. Be there or be decidedly square.

The Stig’s New York Cousin

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