For the second week of the Skip Barber Racing Series, the drivers headed to Road America.  As many know, the classic American road course has hosted top line sports car racing since the days of the USRRC, Can-Am and F5000 and, more recently the Champ Car World Series, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the American Le Mans Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  Less well known, is the fact that Tim Flock won a race in what would (eventually) become the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Road America in 1956 . . .

As with any race car – be it a sports car, Indy car or stock car – Road America’s combination of high speed straights and low speed corners can be tricky in the Skippy. The track tests a car’s brakes and handling, but it also tests the patience of the driver. It is easy to get the draft of another car, but it’s hard to find a great overtaking spot. Attempting pass in a corner like The Kink would be suicidal. However, the first and fifth turns and Canada Corner can be good places to make a move.

No matter the race car, the first turn at Road America can be quite the show.

This 3044 strength of field race was ready to get underway. On pole was Finland’s Mikko Nässi with a time of 2:32.337, nearly a second faster than second place sim-racer Alexandru Raileanu. Starting third was Rudi Reinkort alongside Karri Keskinen.  The first turn was taken cleanly, except for Raileanu who braked too late and spun into the grass, but managed to get back on track safely. On the beginning of the second lap, Dominic Brennan spun in the first corner. He didn’t seem quite happy about it, as he left the track when he could have continued the race. During the same lap, Duane Bezinger tried to pass Kyle Crump coming into Turn Five. His car began to slide in mid-corner and he suddenly over-corrected right into Crump. Crump moved on but Bezinger got his car towed back to the pits before doing the same.

Also on Lap Two, the Kink claimed its first victim when eighth placed Endre Papp clipped the grass at the exit of the corner. Although he almost managed a great save, he was given a little nudge by the following car of Pierre Boudron, lost control and spun into the wall. Boudron made it past safely but the driver behind him, Eduardo Nogueira, also clipped the grass and spun while trying to avoid Papp. That chain reaction did not end there. Raileanu didn’t slow down in time to avoid a slow Nogueira. The two made contact and had to repair their damage.

For the rest of the race, the second to fifth place drivers had an intense battle, overtaking each other at nearly every corner . . . to the delight of Nässi who was pulling away by at least a second per lap.  In the end, Nässi came home the winner with a 14.91 seconds gap back to runner-up Reinkort, with Keskinen, Nenad Matijevic and Mike McCormick completing the top five.

As for the points standings, following Road America Curtis Fung leads the overall championship with 373 points, followed by Nässi (367), Jörn Jens (354), Aleksanteri Huovinen (353) and Luccas Zacca (352).

Week Three sees the drivers heading to Suzuka International Racing Circuit, a track that demands precision in the Esses along with a dose of courage for the famous — and dangerous — 130R. Tune in next week for more on the Skip Barber Race Series.

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