Theobold, Roberts Get First Wins at Laguna
Thursday, December 02, 2004 All we gotta say is this: More of you Eastern, Midwest and Southern guys and gals should try racing at Laguna. It’s good stuff! You don’t really want to tell the grandkids you never raced there, do you?
It finished under yellow, but Sprague Theobald scored his first Race Series win, over Tom Roberts and Wayne ”The Weapon” Williams. Theo and Roberts had a great dice and swapped the lead a bunch of times. ”The Weapon” was in it the whole way, too, until lapped traffic at the end got the better of him. Tom Davidov and Augusto Sasso rounded out the top five. Additional excitement was provided by Sarena Traver; her brilliant ”aggressive conservatism” saw her go from 13th on the grid to sixth at the end. Duncan ”The Beginning of the” Ende had a great race going too, having lifted himself from the back of the grid to fourth very early on, but he stuffed it in T4 on the penultimate lap, bringing out the FCY that ended the race.
Everything’s better when wet! (Thanks, Steve Miller) Heinz-Harald Frentzen gets his requisite ”Gatorade Dump” after winning his first Skippy race. (Wait! It was actually Sprague Theobold. Great helmet job, Mr. T.!)
Sunday was Tom Roberts’ turn, as he started from pole and then, like being shot from a cannon, just walked away to lead every lap and take his first win. Theobald had his hands so full in fending off Jonathan Miller and Ende early on that he couldn’t make a real charge. Williams was brilliant in coming from way back (14th), putting a big exclamation mark on his race by taking second place from Theobald on the last lap! Miller got fourth, Ende fifth and Murray Marden a fine sixth. Newbie Paul Schnobrich was a terrific seventh (again; he had done that on Saturday, too).
The runner-up in the 2004 Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER, Gerardo Bonilla, was making a one-off, guest appearance and not surprisingly, got the pole for Saturday’s race. But, to keep it interesting, he decided to start at the back of the pack. So our top five was: Doug Boyer, Tim Traver, Justin Moon (younger bro’ of Benny, another leading light in the National), Darin Marcus and Dave House…
At the green (second time by, first one was waved off), Boyer pulled out on the field. Traver slotted into P2 with Mini-Moon right behind. Bonilla and Miller, both starting in the last row, timed it perfectly for a great start! By lap two they were up to fifth and sixth. Unfortunately for Jonathan Miller, by the end of lap four he was on pit road with mechanical problems. By this point Bonilla had caught Traver and Moon, but couldn’t get by. Behind these three, Dave House and Douglas Melvin were having a good tussle for P5. They were quickly joined by Darin Marcus making it a three-car battle. Back up front, Boyer has checked out on the battle for P2. At the halfway mark Bonilla’s pit crew gave him the signal to use the push-to-pass button and he takes Moon and three laps later, Traver for P2. Doug Melvin was fourth, House fifth and Curt Berg sixth.
Totally different race: Bonilla had unintentionally gone off in T2 during qualifying, so he had to start in the way-back again. Boyer decided to bow out so that he could focus on the Regional Shoot-out race. The top five on the grid: Tim Traver on pole followed by Moon, Marcus, Melvin and Berg….
Drop of the green, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. First, Marcus ”corkscrews” himself into the back of Moon, both cars are done. Tom Roberts goes off and hits something, ending his day. This is all before the end of lap one! Traver crosses the line first and with a huge gap. Over the years some may say that he was already in Stanley territory. Either way, lap two and Traver, running solo, goes off in turn six and gets to the wall. He limps it in, but his day is done. This hands the lead to Melvin, but unfortunately for only one lap as Gerardo ”the Ringer” Bonilla blazes through what is left of the pack and takes the lead from Melvin. This opens the door for Berg and he too gets by Melvin. Which is how the top three finish. Mid-pack gives the fans a run for their money as Jonathan Frost, Emil Sildos and John Peterson duke it out. Dave House and Dom Bastien were the only other cars to make it to the checker.
Rick Roso & Todd Snyder