When sign-ups for the Jim Russell Winter Series by Simraceway opened up and were sold out in 3 days we knew this was going to be an exciting “off season” and so it was to be in more ways than one. A new influx of drivers were met by the northern California “storm of the decade” in the week leading up to the race weekend, making it a bit more difficult to become acquainted to the Simraceway F3 Lola. The tech team was kept busy fixing a couple of missteps by the rookies but all cars were present, shiny and accounted for on the morning of race 1. Unfortunately the weather was still having fun and after a lengthy delay because of fog the weekend finally got under way.
So lining up at the sharp end of the grid were first time pole man John Jastremski alongside 2014 summer series champion Chase Murray, row 2 saw Brian Frank in P3 with the new kid Pat Daly in P4. On the warm up lap Daly threw that all away however with a spin and stall at turn 7 and had to start the race from the back.
Green flag drops and the field storms up the hill to turn 2 they stay side by side through to turn 4 but better minds prevailed and all fell into line for the remainder of lap 1 with all wheels attached! JJ and Chase made a quick getaway and started to stretch away from the field, Frank looking initially comfortable in P3 chased by Wahl, Schauerman , Shirley , Tuttle, McGuire et al.
Lap 3 saw “Mr. Excitement” Gus Doppes doing his best John Deere impersonation as he took to the Mud (formerly grass) in 9a falling to the back. Meanwhile Jastremski was well aware of the chasing Texan and made sure he kept to the middle on the approach to the best passing area in turn 7, this however kept Murray with an advantage of exit speed through the “esses” and down to turn 9 but this being a much more difficult place to pass Chase just couldn’t get that extra 2 feet he needed to make sure the pass was a clean one. Roy Block started a charge and moved up 2 places in quick succession in a thrilling mid pack battle with McGuire, Daly & Shields.
Further up front we saw some chinks in Brian Frank’s armor as a couple of lock ups and some loss of time allowed Quentin Wahl to start a charge to fight for that last podium slot. Lap 11 brought on our only retirements of the day as Erickson Shirley & Doug Tuttle came together at turn 7, a punctured tire and a couple of bent tie-rods saw the #14 & #19 call it a day. Wahl was also able to get by Frank for P3, but once by Brian never gave up and chased him all the way to the flag. Chase & JJ also continued their battle and a couple of side by side moments in turn 9 saw the crowd agasp. But Jastremski was always able to just keep his car in the right place to keep Chase from completing his attack. The most tense moment of the race however happened right at start finish between Roy Block and the charging Pat Daly, this was quite a tussle with Roy Block never one to give up a fight easily. Daly got a great run out of turn 11 and got alongside #23, Roy was caught unawares and the two cars banged wheels as Roy moved back to the right to set up for turn 1. Both made it through bar a couple of scuffs and battled on to the finish with Pat finally getting by on the penultimate lap, penalties were assessed however due to the No- Touch rule for the series and ended up with 9th and 10 place finished respectively. Hats off also to Ross Jaffe who won the hard charger award to come from waaay back to finish in 6th place.
So a fine local Anchor Steam Christmas Ale was presented on the podium to the top 3 as the Simraceway tech team started their night prep for Race 2 on Sunday
|Driver||Qualifying Lap Time||Finishing Position|
|16 - John Jastremski||1.39.810||1|
|7 - Chase Murray||1.40.059||2|
|8 - Quentin Wahl||1.42.553||3|
|12 - Brian Frank||1.41.380||4|
|3 - John Schauerman||1.42.342||5|
|18 - Ross Jaffe||1.43.900||6|
|4 - Jim McGuire||1.43.467||7|
|15 - William Shields||1.46.006||8|
|6 - Pat Daly||1.41.624||9|
|23 - Roy Block||1.44.004||10|
|9 - Gus Doppes||1.49.055||11|
|5 - Roy Strandberg||1.47.788||12|
|14 - Erickson Shirley||1.42.444||13|
|19 - Doug Tuttle||1.43.590||14|