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A weekend of adversity and triumph for Scott Anderson

July 12, 2011

Fort Collins, Colo. – “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...”

-“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda point leader Scott Anderson fought off a series of setbacks during the weekend to pick up his series leading third victory of the year and defend his championship lead this past weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Round 7
Anderson’s weekend at Road America got off to an ominous start, as he ran only five laps during the Friday morning Practice, ending up ninth on the time charts. The Fort Collin, Colo. driver improved to fifth in Qualifying later in the day, but was uncharacteristically a full second behind pole sitter Brandon Newey.

Early in the race, Anderson ran with the pack. Ahead of him, Thomas McGregor, drafting behind Trent Hindman, made contact with the back of Hindman’s car, knocking off his car’s nose piece. The fiberglass part flew back into the field, striking Anderson on the top of his helmet with enough force to break off an air vent and gouge the finish.

“I saw the nose piece kick up into the air”, said Anderson after the race. “At first I didn’t think it was going to hit me, but then I heard and felt a ‘THUNK’ on my head. It startled me and it took me a couple corners to get my concentration back. We were heading toward Canada corner at the time; not a good part of the track to drive distracted.”

Anderson continued in the pack, running with the lead group until he made contact with McGregor’s car, damaging his front wing. He soldiered on and finished the race in seventh while second-in-points Brandon Newey picked up his second win of the season, followed by Thomas McGregor and Trent Hindman. After a video review of the race, McGregor was assessed a time penalty for blocking, dropping him to tenth in the official results and promoting everyone, including Anderson, up one position. Still, Anderson was disappointed in his car’s performance. “The #10 didn’t respond well to the draft. I could pull up to the car in front of me, but when I moved out to pass the car would just stop. It also started running hot so I would have to stick my nose out in places I normally wouldn’t have in order to get cooler air to the radiators.” Anderson’s fortunes in the Regional race were no better. After qualifying third and battling Michael Johnson for the lead late in the race, he was knocked out of the race and credited with a 13th place finish.

Round 8
In preparation for the NASCAR Nationwide Series to race at the facility, Road America installed paved runoff areas on the outside of Turns 1, 5, 12 and 14, along with more aggressive curbing in those areas. Fearing suspension damage to its cars, Skip Barber Race Series officials declared those areas “out of bounds” with black flags being issued to anyone who drove into the forbidden zone.

The rule would catch Anderson out during Saturday morning’s qualifying session for Round 8. After running wide in Turn 1, he was shown the black flag, which he observed a lap later, losing contact with the main pack. After returning to the track and running a couple laps alone, Anderson ducked back into the pits to wait for the main pack, which he rejoined, but too late in the session to help. The end result was one fast lap of 2:32.167 sec., nearly two seconds behind pole sitter Sebastian Ordonez.

To add insult to injury, the engine in the #10 car he was driving all weekend was overheated during the event, forcing a last minute change to the #98 Formula Skip Barber race car just prior to rolling off for the pre-race warm up. Despite having exactly one lap to get familiar with his new mount, Anderson quickly worked his way through the field from seventh and by the end of the first lap he was racing with Brandon Newey, Trent Hindman and Zac Silver for the lead. A pitched battle ensued, with the lead changing hands several times per lap. Coming onto the front straightaway for the final time, Newey and Silver went left and right of Anderson respectively, and in a three-way photo finish, Anderson claimed his third win of the season by .021 sec. over Brandon Newey and .046 over Zac Silver.

Before he could celebrate his comeback victory, Anderson jumped back into a car to run his second Regional race of the weekend. In a near repeat of his performance in the National race, he quickly moved up from 12th at the start to a distant second behind a quick Michael Johnson. A pair of full course cautions midway through the race bunched up the field behind the pace car and when racing resumed Anderson and Johnson went at it for the win. At the finish it was Johnson edging out Anderson to take the victory, his second of the weekend, by the slimmest of margins; .016 sec.

Anderson’s win in Round 8 helped him escape Road America with the points lead, albeit now by only two points over Brandon Newey. While Anderson is a man of few words who prefers to let his driving speak for him, Phil Lombardi, his driver coach (and no slouch behind the wheel of a race car himself) is more ebullient with his evaluation of Anderson’s progress so far this season.

“Scott has proven again and again that he is already a championship driver. To come back from poor finishes at Sebring to win at VIR and then to come back from everything that happened to him at Road America to win on Sunday is truly championship caliber material.”

“He has the most wins this season and has started on the front row in five of eight races. He is clearly the fastest driver in the field; everyone knows it and cues off of everything he does at the track.”

Top Five - 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, after Round 8 of 16

  1. Scott Anderson, 246 points
  2. Brandon Newey, -2
  3. Trent Hindman, -12
  4. Thomas McGregor, -29
  5. Danilo Estrela, -40

Next up
Scott Anderson and the drivers of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda head south to Braselton, Ga. and another classic road course, Road Atlanta, where they will headline a weekend with the Skip Barber Summer Race Series (stand alone Skip Barber National Race Weekends are not time certain). Follow the action with live timing and scoring on your iPhone with Race Monitor, available at the iPhone App Store. You can also follow the action semi-live on www.twitter.com/SkipBarberNatl or www.twitter.com/altemus_prime.


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