Gridsport.net Grand Prix of Road Atlanta proved to be a great Event !
Posted by bb on 8/3/2018
From Pawleys Island,Sc. Aug.1st,2018- The Gridsport.net Grand Prix of Road Atlanta proved to be an incredibly exciting weekend of racing. The Southernformulacar.com championship is a season long points battle
for the Formula F1600 and the Formula 2000 cars. The championships focus is on cutting cost and rewarding drivers for their efforts with different products from various sponsors of the series. Each driver is allowed 1 set of tires per weekend which are marked before qualifying. SCCA rules are used and the series runs on SCCA regional weekends.
The weekend was filled with points championship implications in both classes. F2000 leader Jim Belay came into the event with a small margin over Skip Weld but left trailing Marc Stern. Belay ran great during the test day on Friday and couldn't be happier after the progress they made tuning the car. He went into Saturday qualifying looking to post a great time and all the Sudden the motor started running poorly and he was forced to retire from the weekend with blown engine. Likewise in the F1600 class Hartley McDonald (2nd place in F1600)retired before race one with engine problems. He was able to rent a car for race 2 from Jack Veldon Motorsports and started from the back in race 2 and managed a solid finish to keep the margin within reach between himself and John Schimenti the points leader.
This sort of luck is just part of racing. Sometimes it seems like you are on top of the world and then you get the rug pulled out from under you. The f1600 racing was an action packed . John Benson took the pole position for race one but had some issues making the grid in time for the race and was forced to start from the back. He did his best to fight is way to the front but was caught up in an late race incident which ended his day and damaged the car which actually ended his weekend. The battle at the front was quite intense between veteran Runoffs champ John Robinson II and Derek Ketchie. The two drivers ran nose to tail the entire race with Ketchie making the pass on the final lap for a triumphant win. If anyone deserved the win it was certainly this guy because it was the first weekend he had driven the car since a big accident last year at Indianapolis which heavily damaged the car. Derek blew off the rust in no time and showed he has what it takes to beat one of the best taking a huge win. Jonathan Lee took home a solid 3rd place finish which is also quite an achievement since this was only the 5th time he had driven a race car. I believe we have only seen the beginning of this young Ladd as he gets quicker each time in the car. Donald Baggett showed us that he has a wealth of knowledge of Road Atlanta bringing home an impressive 4th place and Doug Stewart rounded out the top 5 as he struggled to get comfortable in his DB1 Swift race car which he barely fits inside. Stewart was certainly determined to pull off 5th spot as he knew the points were really valuable as only one race remains at Roebling road Raceway. John Schimenti protected his points lead by grabbing 6th spot .
The first F2000 race of the weekend was also won by a first time racer to the series Fetcher Wulff in his Wulff Motorsports entry. Fletcher really dominated the race as Marc Stern and John Herscher had a tremendous battle for 2nd place. The two traded positions several times and with a few laps from the end each driver had damaged their front wing assemblies so they struggled to maintain speed but Marc Stern managed to secure 2nd place as Herscher held on to his shock cover with his hand and drove the car at same time and ended up 3rd. The two drivers actually matched fast laps with the leader but I don't think anyone was going to beat Fletcher this weekend because he was just untouchable as he glided to victory. Bill Herscher ended up in 4th spot and Patrick Kinsella rounded out top 5.
Race two for the f2000 group was very similar as Fletcher Wulff grabbed the lead from the start and never looked back. It wasn't quite as easy for Fletcher this time as John Herscher applied pressure throughout
the race and Marc Stern momentarily ran in 2nd spot but soon relinquished the position back to Herscher as he fought an ill handling car the rest of the race. Stern couldn't afford to make any big mistakes as he took over the points lead at the end of the race with his 3rd place finish. John Herscher's 2nd place was quite impressive after making a trip to Home depot following the 1st race as he had to buy fiberglass kit and repair one of his front wings after it rubbed on the ground which took off the entire section of the wing. He made the repair in time and finished a valiant 2nd spot and collected enough points to possibly defend his 2017 title at the last event . There will be double points available at the one final race at the SAARC invitational championship so it will be quite interesting to see who wins the title in both classes.
The 2nd race for the f1600 group was another fantastic race. This time Robinson had made some changes to the car and ran a flag to flag victory. The battle for 2nd place was really the race to watch as Jonathan Lee held 2nd spot for a good deal of the race. His mirrors were filled with race 1 winner Derek Ketchie the entire race and the two even swapped positions a couple times. Lee got back into 2nd place for several laps but Ketchie having one of the fastest cars on the track made the pass with one lap to go and grabbed the 2nd position on the podium and Lee ended up in 3rd spot. It was a great race for sure and ketchie had run out of time to have any chance of reeling in Robinson for another win. Chris Smith won a dramatic battle with Doug Stewart for 4th spot and Stewart again managed to finish ahead of Schimenti in 5th to gain a few more points in the championship.
The full results and points break down will be posted soon as possible on http://www.southernformulacar.com/ the site is still being finished but will be completed in the next few days. We encourage everyone to get qualified to run this final race so we end the year with the biggest fields of the season. We are certainly pleased with the great participation levels that we are seeing and 2019 looks to be a great year for the championship.
The current point leaders are John Schimenti In Formula 1600 championship and Marc Stern in F2000 championship. look for full points scenarios to be posted very soon.
We also look forward to the final event at Roebling Road Raceway in October which will award double points. The series will also continue the hospitality set up which we offer free lunch and drawing for all kinds of different prizes at our final event as the restructuring of the series continues to evolve. We would also like to thank are most recent sponsor http://www.gridsport.net/ Please try and support our sponsor by going to their website and buying products. Please mention that you run in the southern Formula car series when you purchase products. The number of drivers is really starting to grow and it appears next year that many new people will be moving south to join the series. I certainly see the growth moving in a positive direction and as this happens it makes it much easier to bring in sponsors. I also see the talent level getting much better as well, if we could get all the people that have participated this season to final race it would be nearly 50 drivers.
The following people can contact Brad Baytos to claim their Gridport.net prizes from Road Atlanta. let me know size and color of whatever item you have won. Tires had to be purchased through Primus parts or Appalachian tires to claim prize - email or call your size and color to [email protected] or 727-804-7417
Sparco Driving suit winners
John robinson II
Sparco glove winners
If you have any questions about either championship please feel free to contact me at : 727-804-7417 or [email protected]
Regards, Brad Baytos
Primus Racing Parts
8171 Ocean Hwy Unit D
Pawleys Island, SC. 29585
Cell & Text 727-804-7417
Office Phone 843-314-3893
race series website : gpfourinfo.com