As the hot sun of Sonoma in June baked the track, the Hammer Nutrition station was kept busy as each driver knew it was going to be a long hot race 5 of the Simraceway F3 series. With some of the main protagonists unavailable Chase Murray had it all his own way in qualifying , but all eyes were on the battle for the other positions as lap by lap grid positions swapped back and forth , and in a last lap charge Doug Tuttle secured the other illustrious front row spot.
With the field packed up tight the ever fast starting Tim Adolphson moved into 3rd in the run up to turn 2 then used that aggression to late brake Tuttle for 2nd near the end of lap 1 in the chicane. Meanwhile first time starter Mark Schiller settled down in 4th with Steve Campbell close on his heels. Those 4 were running in close proximity for the first ½ of the race till a late move in turn 9 by Campbell ended up with a trip to the grass and thwarted Schillers momentum enough to allow Adolphson and Tuttle to break free. Further back we had Jim McGuire making a welcome return to the series, Erickson Shirley & ever improving Robin MacGregor in 8th place.
As predicted from qualifying form Chase Murray steadily drew away from the field while the battle for the podium raged. Adolphson had to run lap after lap with intense pressure from the tenacious Tuttle as the gap never stretched to more than a couple of car lengths. Tuttle was gaining in the first half of the track but Tim would make sure his car was positioned perfectly to not allow Doug by. Constantly you would see Tuttle try the inside and outside on the run to the best spot for passing at Sonoma Raceway the hairpin turn 7 but he could never get enough of a run to get ahead before the esses. This intense battling allowed Mark Schiller to regain some time and he started to close as the race neared the end. Also back down the order Erickson Shirley picked up some great pace and closed on the fading Jim McGuire to steal 6th place away with a few laps to go. As the white flag flew you knew Tuttle had to do something different to get by Adolphson and different it was with a wicked move on the outside of 7 as Tim kept that defensive line on the right, but it wasn’t over then as Adolphson didn’t want to let that spot go without a fight back and made a brave late braking move into the turn 9 chicane, unfortunately he couldn’t keep control of the rear and spun on the corner entry allowing debut boy Mark Schiller to fill the last spot on the podium on his first try. So Chase Murray notched up another impressive win unaware of the brilliant racing that went on behind him, as the season wears on the grid is tightening up so everyone is looking forward to what will happen next.
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Practice & Qualifying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VpyS0_DCjg