Summer Series Opener: Anderson and Blackstock Lead Points

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Summer Series Opener: Anderson and Blackstock Lead Points

Lakeville, Conn. (May. 16). It was a beautiful weekend for racing at Virginia International Raceway for the Skip Barber Summer Series Opener. Everyone was excited to be back on track and it showed during the action packed races. Jim Craige set a new track record in the MX-5 cup with a 2:21.142 and Stefan Rzadzinski was a first time winner in Group 4 Race 2. There were plenty of mishaps as well as penalties to go around. All in all, it was an exciting start to what appears to be an even more exciting season.

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The season opener at Virginia International Raceway also marked the one year anniversary for Skip Barber Formula racer Michael Johnson. Johnson, who is paralyzed from the waist down, has made his mark on Skip Barber Racing School, driving his race car with only hand controls, specially built by the Skip Barber Racing School crew. This weekend, Johnson became the first paralyzed racer to start an open wheel race from pole position.

Group 1 Race 1 – Skip Barber Formula Summer Series
Group 1, Race 1 started out clean with Scott Anderson taking an early lead over Michael Johnson. Michael caught up to him on lap 2 going nose to tail in turn five. Gavin Sun had a small spin in turn two then continued. Greg Strelzoff and Franco Aragones got a good jump in the battle for the lead sending Michael Johnson back to fourth. Strelzoff took the lead but not for long as Franco made a pop thus taking the lead coming to lap 4. Meanwhile, Bill Decker had a slight four off, spinning in the grass and stopping at the exit of turn two. He got the car going again to resume the race and making his safety stop the next time by. As lap five came around, Eric Kostamaa and John Giddens held a strong battle for P12. John Giddens went four off and managed to continue in turn twelve, still allowing Eric Kostamaa to pass. Back up front, Franco Aragones led Scott Anderson, Michael Johnson, Shelby Blackstock and Greg Strelzoff. Kenton Koch had strong speed in P6, catching up quickly to the top five. For tenth position, there was more side by side racing on lap eight as Eric Kostamaa battled David Knight. Scott Anderson retook the lead on lap nine followed closely by Shelby Blackstock, sending Franco Aragones to third place while Kenton Koch sliped into the fifth position. Everyone remained single file for lap ten. Eric Kostamaa had a spin in turn three then continued on lap eleven. Gavin Sun also had another spin at turn one, but continued to rejoin the field. Last lap of the race and Franco Aragones went four wheels off causing a big spin where Greg Strelzoff caught his rear sending both cars off course. In all that mishap, Kenton Koch manages to sneak past everyone taking the win followed by Scott Anderson, Shelby Blackstock, Jack Mitchell Jr. and Brian Cook rounding out the top five.

Group 1 Race 2
Group 1, Race 2 was a tough race with many penalties for overdriving during yellows. Shelby Blackstock took the green in P1 followed by a very close Scott Anderson and Jack Mitchell Jr.. Lap one brought Scott Anderson into the lead followed by Jack Mitchell Jr., and Shelby back to P3. In lap two, Shelby reclaimed the lead with Jack Mitchell Jr, sticking to the second position. Scott Anderson powered around Shelby and Jack Mitchell Jr. to re-take the lead, sending Jack Mitchell Jr. back to seventh position on lap three. Shelby and Scott continued their battle on lap four while a very strong looking Franco Aragones taking third place. Lap five brought bad news for Shelby as he was left behind a train consisting of Scott Anderson and Kenton Koch. Shelby passed Kenton on lap six to reclaim second position, looking at first. Kenton Koch went back to third position on lap ten but was still strong enough to pass Scott and Shelby to take the win. However, a small mishap with a yellow in a corner due to a car off course cost Kenton the win giving it to Scott Anderson, followed by Shelby Blackstock, Brian Cook, Kenton Koch and Jack Mitchell Jr. for the top five.

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Group 1 Skip Barber Formula Summer Series, Virginia International Raceway
Starting Position in Parenthesis

Group 1 Race 1   Group 1 Race 2
1. (7) Kenton Koch   1. (2) Scott Anderson
2. (3) Scott Anderson   2. (3) Shelby Blackstock
3. (14) Shelby Blackstock   3. (5) Brian Cook – GM
4. (6) Jack Mitchell, Jr.   4. (1) Kenton Koch
5. (5) Brian Cook – M   5. (4) Jack Mitchell, Jr.
6. (1) Michael Johnson   6. (12) Franco Aragones
7. (8) Pat Daly – GM   7. (7) David Knight – GM
8. (11) David Knight – GM   8. (10) John Giddens – GM
9. (12) Eric Kostamaa – M   9. (14) Gavin Sun
10. (13) Bob Dans   10. (8) Eric Kostamaa – M
11. (9) John Giddens – GM   11. (9) Bob Dans
12. (16) Austin Petrie   12. (11) Austin Petrie
13. (2) Franco Aragones   13. (13) Greg Strelzoff – M
14. (4) Greg Strelzoff – M   14. (6) Michael Johnson
15. (10) Gavin Sun    
16. (15) Bill Decker – GM    
     

Top Master: Brian Cook
Pole Position: Michael Johnson
Fastest Lap: Kenton Koch (2:09.380 / 92.416 mph)
Most Improved: Shelby Blackstock, 11 positions
Laps Lead:
Scott Anderson 1; Greg Strelzoff 2; Anderson 3; Franco Aragones 4-8; Anderson 9

  Top Master: Brian Cook
Pole Position: Kenton Koch
Fastest Lap: Michael Johnson (2:08.611 / 91.532 mph)
Most Improved: Franco Aragones, 6 positions
Laps Lead: Scott Anderson 1; Shelby Blackstock 2; Anderson 3; Blackstock 4; Anderson 5-10, Kenton Koch 11; Franco Aragones 12

Group 2 Race 1 – MAZDASPEED Challenge
Group 2, Race 1 had a clean, side-by-side start. Jim Craige and Shelby Blackstock took a massive 15 car lead on the rest of the pack. In Lap two, Connor Bloum broke away with his focus on catching the leaders. Elias Sakkal went four off in turn one and Jonathan Joseph four off in turn seventeen, and both cars continued. Aaron Fernandes had a double four off in turn one and continued. Cameron McIntyre also went four off after a spin in turn four. Jim Craige made a pop for the lead in turn ten and managed to take the lead from Shelby Blackstock on lap three. Connor Bloum caught up to the leaders as they battlde for position. Shelby kept his nose all over the back of Jim further allowing Connor to catch up. Meanwhile, on lap five, Jonathan Joseph went four off in turn fifteen and had possible contact with the wall. Lap six came around with a very exciting battle for the lead. Jim Craige had about four car lengths on Shelby but Shelby gained speed in turn ten catching up and closing the gap. He looked to pass and got by at the apex, Jim tucked back inside and they went to single file. Shelby got a couple car lengths with a little wiggle in turn four but did a good job through turn five. With a little help from Jim, they are able to keep Connor at bay for now but Connor wasn’t willing to give up just yet. Lap eight came around to a full course caution due to an incident involving Aaron Fernandes who spun in the esses then made contact with the wall and is down on course. Aaron came out fine, but tire wall repair needed repair, causing the field to be stopped. Checkered flag came out while still under yellow, on lap eleven where a very happy Shelby Blackstock pumped his fists in the air as he crossed the start/finish line. Jim Craige followed the leader, and then Connor Bloum, Chip Howell and Steven Craige rounded out the top five. Jim Craige set a new track record with a 2:21.142.

Group 2 Race 2
Group 2, Race 2 was much cleaner than the group that had gone before. Shelby Blackstock took an early lead followed by Jim Craige and Connor Bloum. Lap two brought Shelby and Jim side by side across the start/finish line then Connor split the pair going into turn one. They went side by side again into turn thirteen where Shelby refused give up on the lead position. Jim Craige was all over the back of Connor Bloum for second position. Meanwhile Chip Howell tried to get into the top three battle. Connor popped at the start/finish line during lap three for the move but was not able to make the pass. Chip Howell spun and went four off in turn one then continued during lap four, but was taken out of the top three battle. Connor dropped two tires and and Jim Craige took full advantage. Felix Borodaty went four off coming out of seventeen and slid a good distance down the front straight. Lap five brought a heavy battle between Connor and Jim who were going back and fourth for position. Connor was able to escape Jim on lap six and caught up to Shelby quickly. The top three closed back up on lap seven where Jim Craige had the inside line and took second from Connor Bloum. Connor didn’t give it away freely though and the battle heated back up. Shelby once again took advantage of their battle and checked out on the pack. Lap nine brought a fast Jim Craige who managed to catch up to Shelby and take the lead. Shelby didn’t give up easily though as he remained nose to tail with Jim. Shelby then made a pop, wasn’t quite able to make the move and got passed by an eager Connor Bloum for second. Connor took the lead from Jim on lap ten, keeping Shelby back in the third position. In lap eleven, Connor got a little sideways at the top of the hill and Jim looked to pass but didn’t quite make it. Side by side down into fourteen, Connor dropped a wheel on the inside and made contact with Jim Criage. Checker flag went out and Connor Bloum took the win followed by Shelby Blackstock, Jim Craige, Keith May and Steven Craige. However Connor received a penalty for failure to stop after his four off and contact so he slid back to P3 allowing Shelby to take the win followed by Jim Craige.

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Group 2 MAZDASPEED Challenge, Virginia International Raceway
Starting Position in Parenthesis

Group 2 Race 1   Group 2 Race 2
1. (2) Shelby Blackstock   1. (1) Shelby Blackstock
2. (1) Jim Craige – M 2. (2) Jim Craige – M
3. (3) Connor Bloum 3. (3) Connor Bloum
4. (4) Chip Howell   4. (7) Keith May
5. (7) Steven Craige – GM   5. (5) Steven Craige – GM
6. (6) Alfonso Celis Sr. – GM   6. (6) Alfonso Celis Sr. – GM
7. (5) Keith May 7. (4) Chip Howell
8. (9) Felix Borodaty 8. (11) Cameron McIntyre
9. (8) Tom Baluk – M 9. (8) Felix Borodaty
10. (12) Gunter Heiland – M 10. (9) Tom Baluk – M
11. (11) Cameron McIntyre 11. (14) Aaron Fernandes
12. (13) Elias Sakkal – M 12. (12) Elias Sakkal – M
13. (14) Jonathan Joseph 13. (10) Gunter Heiland – M
14. (10) Aaron Fernandes  
     
Top Master: Steven Craige
Pole Position: Jim Craige
Fastest Lap: Connor Bloum (2:21.429 / 83.237 mph)
Most Improved: Steven Craige and Gunter Heiland, 2 positions each
Laps Lead: Jim Craige 1; Shelby Blackstock 2-3; Craige 4-6; Blackstock 7-9
  Top Master: Jim Craige
Pole Position: Shelby Blackstock
Fastest Lap: Shelby Blackstock (2:20.923 / 83.535 mph)
Most Improved: Keith May, Chip Howell, Cameron Mc Intyre, 3 positions each
Laps Lead: Shelby Blackstock 1-8; Jim Craige 9-10l Connor Bloum 11-12

Group 4 Race 1
Group 4, Race 1 started out with Tom Goodhart going four off in turn one then continued. Alexey Dronov also went four off in turn ten and continued. Lap two came with a pop for the lead by Franco Aragones who took the position sending Shelby to P2 followed by Stefan Rzadzinski. Franco gained about a two car lead over Shelby on lap three. David Merola did a clutch kick spin, went four off and rejoins in turn one. Shelby reclaimed the lead on lap four sending Franco to P2 and Stefan remaining in P3 biding his time. Kenton Koch blazed through the pack to take the second position from Franco and is all over the back of Shelby looking to make a pass for the lead. On lap six, Kenton took the lead going into turn one, followed by a very close Franco Aragones and Shelby Blackstock. Franco retook the lead but dropped a tire on the way to Oak Tree, and managed to keep his car on track. Tristan Nunez snuck up on everyone in the lead pack to P2 while Shelby managed to grab the lead on lap eight. All went single file through turn four in preparation for the esses. The field went side by side into the esses where Tristan took the lead for a brief moment before Shelby reclaimed the position. Not to be put off, Tristan grabbed the lead again on lap nine going into turn fourteen where he remained for the rest of the race. It was a single file line to the checker where Tristan took the win followed by Shelby Blackstock, Franco Aragones, Scott Hargrove and Brian Cook rounding out the top five.

Group 4 Race 2
Group 4, Race 2 started out cleanly through turns one and two. Lap two brought the field nose to tail and Franco Aragones went four off in turn one then continued. Kenton Koch took the lead on lap three followed by Tristan Nunez and Shelby Blackstock. Lap nine brought some excitement as they went single file through turn six. Scott Hargrove got a good run out of turn six for fourth position. Shelby Blackstock, the leader, dropped a couple wheels off course, but kept going. Rookie Stefan Rzadzinski took advantage and made a pass for the lead bringing Kenton Koch with him to second place. Kenton went side by side with Stefan looking to make a move for the lead and took it. Stefan reclaimed the lead on lap eleven. The top three went three wide through Oak Tree and made it through with no contact. Shelby Blackstock spun and Tristan Nunez went four off to avoid. The checker flag came out for Stefan Rzadzinski followed by Kenton Koch, Scott Hargrove, Shelby Blackstock and Franco Aragones. However, Scott Hargrove and Shelby Blackstock got penalized for failure to pit for a safety check.

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Group 4 Skip Barber Formula Southern Series, Virginia International Raceway
Starting Position in Parenthesis

Group 4 Race 1   Group 4 Race 2
1. (12) Tristan Nunez   1. (8) Stefan Rzadzinski
2. (1) Shelby Blackstock   2. (7) Kenton Koch
3. (3) Franco Aragones   3. (3) Franco Aragones
4. (11) Scott Hargrove   4. (4) Scott Hargrove
5. (14) Brian Cook – M   5. (5) Brian Cook – M
6. (15) Andrew Hobbs   6. (1) Tristan Nunez
7. (13) Kenton Koch   7. (2) Shelby Blackstock
8. (2) Stefan Rzadzinski   8. (9) Bryan Hixon
9. (6) Bryan Hixon   9. (11) Alfonso Celis Jr
10. (4) Alexey Dronov   10. (10) Alexey Dronov
11. (5) Alfonso Celis Jr   11. (6) Andrew Hobbs
12. (9) Bryan Yates   12. (15) David Merola – GM
13. (7) Tom Goodhart – GM   13. (12) Bryan Yates – GM
14. (10) Bobby Eberle – M   14. (14) Bobby Eberle – M
15. (16) Bill Decker – GM   15. (13) Tom Goodhart – GM
16. (8) David Merola – GM    
     
Top Master: Brian Cook
Pole Position: Shelby Blackstock
Fastest Lap: Tristan Nunez (2:07.835 / 92.087 mph)
Most Improved: Tristan Nunez, 11 positions
Laps Lead: Shelby Blackstock 1; Franco Aragones 2-3; Blackstock 4; Kenton Koch 5; Tristan Nunez 6; Blackstock 7-9; Nunez 10-12

  Top Master: Brian Cook
Pole Position: Tristan Nunez
Fastest Lap: Franco Aragones (2:07.599 / 92.258 mph)
Most Improved: Stefan Rzadzinski, 7 positions
Laps Lead: Tristan Nunez 1; Shelby Blackstock 2; Nunez 3; Koch 4; Nunez 5-7; Koch 8; Blackstock 9; Stefan Rzadzinski 10-12

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2011 Top 10 Skip Barber Formula Summer Series
Championship Point Standings

1. 67 pts Scott Anderson
2. 63 Kenton Koch
3. 60 Tristan Nunez
4. 60 Scott Hargrove
5. 60 Franco Aragones
6. 58 Stefan Rzadinski – R
7. 58 Brian Cook – M
8. 56 Shelby Blackstock
9. 56 Jack Mitchell Jr.
10. 48 David Knight – GM

2011 Top 10 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Winter
Summer Series Championship Point Standings

1. 70 pts Shelby Blackstock
2. 64 Jim Craige – M
3. 60 Connor Bloum – R
4. 52 Chip Howell – R
5. 52 Steven Craige – GM
6. 52 Keith May – R
7. 50 Alfonso Celis Sr. – GM, R
8. 45 Felix Borodaty – GM, R
9. 45 Tom Baluk – M
10. 43 Cameron McIntyre

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