Anderson sweeps Skip Barber National weekend at Road Atlanta
July 27, 2011
About the only thing hotter than the temperatures at Road Atlanta this past weekend was Scott Anderson. BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda point leader scored a pole and a pair of wins, missing out on the clean sweep of the weekend by .500 sec. in Friday morning’s qualifying for Round 10.
Anderson and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver (and Jonatan Jorge Racing Development teammate) Trent Hindman worked together in the opening laps of Thursday afternoon’s qualifying session; each taking turns in front of their own two-car pack and at the top of the time sheet. Hindman’s run at pole was thwarted by brake issues later traced to a leaking master cylinder. Meanwhile Sebastian Ordonez, running with the larger pack, grabbed the point late in the session with a 1:35.251. In the closing moments of the session, two packs became one and with seconds remaining, the pack, now including Anderson, crossed the start/finish line for one last shot at the pole. Working the draft as he has all season, Anderson put in a flyer and 1:34.876 seconds later he had the pole, the bonus point, and $500 from California Scents.
“Trent and I have both had our challenges during qualifying this season so we decided to work together and see if one of us could claim pole”, said Anderson after the session. “The plan was working until Trent lost a master cylinder. Fortunately toward the end of the session I caught up with the pack and got in one last fast lap to take the pole.”
At the start, Anderson led before being swallowed up by the field on Lap 2. Ordonez and Hindman took turns in the lead as Anderson worked his way back to the lead on lap 5. Danilo Estrela took his turn at the front of the snarling, drafting, banging pack, as did second-in-points Brandon Newey. Coming through the Turn 10 complex at the end of the back straight on Lap 15, the pack spit out a pair as Estrela and Thomas McGregor made contact, sending Estrela into the wall and McGregor into the pits with rear suspension damage. Neither driver was injured but both were out of the race. The incident also created a gap between the trio of Anderson, Newey and Ordonez and the rest of the pack for the final lap of the race. At the finish it was Anderson holding off Newey by .081 sec., with Ordonez immediately behind in third.
If Round 9 resembled a shoot-out, Round 10 had the look and feel of a stage of the Tour de France. Qualifying, on the other hand, could have best been described as a chess match in oven mitts. Anderson and Hindman again attempted to work together, but the field, now wise to the tactic, did what it could to prevent the duo from executing their plan. The result was a session of cars trawling down the back straight at reduced speeds; each driver holding his arm in the air, attempting to get someone, anyone to take the lead. When the session was checkered, Anderson was second quick with a 1:34.994; half a second behind California Scents Pole Winner Sebastian Ordonez while drafting partner Hindman qualified third.
At the start of the stage race, Anderson and Hindman got around pole sitter Ordonez and established a two car breakaway; each driver taking his turn in the draft and out front, while stretching out a 15 car-length lead over the main pack or peloton.
As with most cycling stages, drivers fell out (Estrela dropped out with damage while Ordonez retired with mechanical issues) as the pack, led by Newey, McGregor and Shelby Blackstock, organized itself and eventually caught up to the breakaway, with Brandon Newey taking the lead at the penultimate lap.
At the finish it was Anderson taking his third win in a row and fifth of the season by a clear half-second over Trent Hindman, with Shelby Blackstock charging from last on the grid to third. Newey, second in points and leading at the white flag, was shuffled back in the final run through the Turn 10 complex and came across the line in fifth.
With the two wins and the pole position, Scott Anderson opens up a 15-point lead in the provisional (before drops) standings. Still, driver coach Phil Lombardi isn’t ready for Anderson to think big picture just yet.
“Scott has done a great job this season. What we are doing is working right now, so there is no reason to change our strategy. We just need to take think one race at a time and let the points take care of themselves.”
Is there a point in the season where Anderson will change his focus from race wins to defending his points lead?
“Sure”, quips Lombardi. “During the final race at Lime Rock Park… maybe.”
Top 5 – 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, after Round 10 of 16
- Scott Anderson, 317 points
- Brandon Newey, -15
- Trent Hindman, -23
- Thomas McGregor, -48
- Sebastian Ordonez, -57
The drivers of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda return to Lime Rock Park the weekend of August 11-13 for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2011 season. Follow the action live on your smart phone with Race Monitor, available at your phone’s app store, or semi-live at www.twitter.com by following either @SkipBarberNatl or @altemus_prime.