The National at Lime Rock Park

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Saturday, May 20, 2006 LIME ROCK, Conn. – Jonathan Goring and Alexander Rossi split the spoils in rounds five and six of the Skip Barber National Presented by RACER. Other than the fact that both winners started seventh on the grid, the pair of races at Lime Rock Park couldn’t have been more different. Race one was an abbreviated affair marked by a 20-minute red flag to recover the rolled-over car of the points leader – Marco Di Leo – while race two was a full and frantic 26 laps that saw race leader Richard Heistand make a fatigue-induced mistake in the 105-mph Downhill corner five laps from the end that put him in the fence.

052006a
Richard Heistand has to learn how to keep a lead, but in the meantime there’s no question he’s fast. In Q2, he was the only driver to go “four-off” in the Uphill…

Di Leo’s topsy-turvy weekend (he salvaged a sixth in race two) combined with some surprise podiums also did a number to the points standings: Rossi and Di Leo swapped positions atop the leader board, Goring leapt to third, and the three of them are now virtually tied, a nominal 20 points – the value for a 12th-place finish – separating the trio. Coming onto the weekend Di Leo had a 61-point cushion.

Di Leo’s troubles started in qualifying for race one, when the tricky damp conditions caught him out and he slid hard into the tires in West Bend on his first flyer. Not only would he start dead last, he sprained his left thumb in the process. Race one started perfectly dry, and following an early caution in the race to yank Peter Husser out of the still boggy turf in turn three, fifth place Mario Adrian Ochoa slid off in turn one (along with third-place Alex Doman and sixth-place Duncan Ende). Ochoa easily rejoined – right in front of Di Leo, now up to 10th. Ochoa’s muddy tires caused him to spin in the very next corner and guess who tangled wheels with him and then found himself doing a slow roll into the bog? Yep, Di Leo. The race was stopped, with Richard Heistand the easy leader from pole, Kyle Lawrence second and Alexander Rossi third.

052006b
Goring was smart and quick and stayed out of trouble — and was rewarded with his second SBN win.

Not long after the re-start it began to rain and everybody’s dry set-up made the cars a handful. When, a few laps later, Heistand briefly fell off the road in the Lefthander, Goring, who had been all over the back of second-place Lawrence after taking third from Rossi, snatched the lead and finished off the race, his second career SBN win. Lawrence got his well driven second, Heistand a disappointing third, followed by Rossi and new kid on the block, Darius Trinka.

052006c
Lawrence’s great weekend meant a giant move on the points sheet: 11th to fifth.

052006g
The R1 V.C.: Kyle Lawrence, Jonathan Goring, Richard Heistand.

Race two had no cautions, no rain and a bunch of great racing. Earlier in the day, by the trinka-est of margins (.011 of a second), Darius had pole over Heistand. Trinka’s lead lasted all of one straightaway as he pushed too hard into the opening corner and slid high, allowing Heistand and Goring by. After Doman got around Di Leo for fifth, the front settled down for a couple laps, about two car lengths separating each position. But A.J. Riley was charging and by lap nine was up to fourth, harassing Trinka. The teenager then pushed himself off the road at the exit of Two (he re-joined 12th) so now the order was Heistand, Goring, Riley, Rossi and Doman.

052006d052006e
Trinka got into One too hot… so Heistand (81) and Lawrence pounce.

And every lap, the five were closer to each other than the lap before. Five laps from the end, everything went cattywampus when Heistand slightly misjudged his turn-in for the Downhill. He banged the apex curb and couldn’t gather it up before skidding off the track. Goring, right on his gearbox, had to check up bigtime and barely missed the spinning Heistand. Goring crossed the nearby line just ahead of Rossi to officially lead the lap, but Rossi didn’t have to lift for the Heistand affair and passed Goring easily down into One. Rossi fended off Goring the final four laps, taking the checker a half-second up. Riley got his excellent P3, Doman fourth and Lawrence, in another fine effort, fifth.

052006h
A.J. Riley (l.) wasn’t even in the top-15 in points coming into Lime Rock. Now he’s 11th. Riley, from Wilton, Conn., meets up with Jonathan Goring, from Norfolk, after their splendid Race Two efforts.

052006f
The very young Rossi continues to impress — and now the 14-year-old is the points leader.

Next up is Road America, July 1 – 2, where Rossi and Di Leo have never been – but it’s the track where last year Goring got his first Skip Barber National win…May 19, 2006, Round 5 of 14, Skip Barber National Presented by RACER
Lime Rock Park, 7-turn, 1.53-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses1. (7) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 16 laps, 64.028 average mph
2. (3) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 16 laps
3. (1) Richard Heistand, Orlando, Fla., 16
4. (4) Alexander Rossi, Nevada City, Calif., 16
5. (9) Darius Trinka, Lithuania, 16
6. (8) Jason Fennessey, Andover, Mass., 16
7. (10) Chris Castagna, S. Boston, Mass., 16
8. (12) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 16
9. (13) Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 16
10. (6) Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., 16
11. (15) Cory Turner, Bakersfield, Calif., 15
12. (11) Peter Husser, Salinas, Calif., 11 (spin and continue)
13. (14) Timmy Megenbier, Melrose Park, Ill., 9 (spin)
14. (5) Alex Doman, Conifer, Colo., 6 (accident)
15. (2) Mario Adrian Ochoa, Mexico, 6 (accident)
16. (16) Marco Di Leo, Markham, Ont. Can., 6 (accident)

Race length: 16 laps of 1.53-mile, 7-turn road course for 24.48 miles
Time of race: 23 minutes, 05.398 seconds
Conditions: Dry-to-damp-to-wet
Winner’s average speed: 64.028 mph
Margin of victory: 5.327 seconds
Lap leaders: Heistand, 1 – 9; Goring, 10 – 16
Caution laps: One caution period for 3 laps (laps 2 – 4); one red flag for 18 minutes after lap 6
Fastest race lap: Heistand, 0:59.659, lap 6
Fastest qualifier: Heistand, 1:00.025 / 92.362 mph (wet-to-damp-to-drying)

May 19, 2006, Round 6 of 14, Skip Barber National Presented by RACER
Lime Rock Park, 7-turn, 1.53-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (7) Alexander Rossi, Nevada City, Calif., 26 laps, 94.715 average mph
2. (3) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 26 laps
3. (6) A.J. Riley, Wilton, Conn., 26
4. (5) Alex Doman, Conifer, Colo., 26
5. (9) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 26
6. (4) Marco Di Leo, Markham, Ont. Can., 26
7. (8) Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., 26
8. (12) Timmy Megenbier, Melrose Park, Ill., 26
9. (1) Darius Trinka, Lithuania, 26
10. (10) Chris Castagna, S. Boston, Mass., 26
11. (16) Cory Turner, Bakersfield, Calif., 26
12. (14) Mario Adrian Ochoa, Mexico, 26
13. (11) Peter Husser, Salinas, Calif., 26
14. (15) Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 25
15. (2) Richard Heistand, Orlando, Fla., 21 (accident)
16. (13) Jason Fennessey, Andover, Mass., 17 (accident)

Race length: 26 laps of 1.53-mile, 7-turn road course for 39.78 miles
Time of race: 25 minutes, 21.866 seconds
Conditions: Dry
Winner’s average speed: 94.715 mph
Margin of victory: 0.669 seconds
Lap leaders: Heistand, 1 – 21; Goring, 22; Rossi, 23 – 26
Caution laps: None
Fastest race lap: Lawrence, :57.781, lap 22
Fastest qualifier: Trinka, :57.585/96.275 mph

SBN points standings, top 15 drivers, after 6 of 14 rounds:

1. Alexander Rossi, 295
2. Marco Di Leo, 281
3. Jonathan Goring, 275
4. Alex Doman, 214
5. Kyle Lawrence, 208
6. Mario Adrian Ochoa, 192
7. Richard Heistand, 190
8. Justin Moon, 175
9. Jason Fennessey, 145
10. Duncan Ende, 136
11. A.J. Riley, 124
12. Kyle Wiegand, 114
13. Chris Wehrheim, 112
14. Jonathan Gore, 96
15. Darius Trinka, 76

Next: Rounds 7 & 8, Road America, July 1 – 2

Rick Roso, words & pix

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