Anderson Closing in on National Championship
September 6, 2011
Fort Collins, Colo., September 16 – Scott Anderson had a quiet weekend at Autobahn Country Club; picking up two more podium finishes and extending his lead in the championship standings. One more quiet weekend like this and the Fort Collins, Colo. driver will clinch the 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in three weeks at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
Rain and cold temperatures led to the cancellation of the anticipated single-car qualifying that proved so popular at the previous Race Weekend. In a 30-minute session that saw drivers struggling for grip on the wet and bumpy Autobahn South Circuit, Anderson put in the fourth quickest lap with a 2:00.521; good enough for fourth on the grid for Saturday’s race.
“Qualifying was going my way until the very end”, noted Anderson before the start of Saturday’s race. “Phil (driver coach Phil Lombardi) was on the radio telling me that I had a significant gap over second place. Not taking advantage of the improving conditions in the last five minutes of the session is what ultimately cost me a shot at the pole position. By the time I figured out what I needed to do the session was over.”
[caption id="attachment_246" align="alignnone" width="448" caption="Anderson gets ready for qualifying"]
Anderson lined up alongside Franco Aragones on the grid and at the start made quick work of the young Mexican. As he built up a lead over Aragones and later championship contender Brandon Newey, the lead duo of Ordonez and JJRD teammate Trent Hindman took off into the distance, leaving Anderson to count down the laps; the solitude of the track occasionally interrupted by conversation from his driver coach, Phil Lombardi.
“It was an uneventful race. I quickly lost contact with the leaders but I was able to keep fourth place behind me and experiment a bit with different lines and braking points to see if I could extract more speed out of the car. The car didn’t have anything left to give so we ultimately requested a change.”
Resigned to third place, Anderson and the rest of the field received a small gift in the form of a mechanical failure on Sebastian Ordonez’s car two laps from the finish. Ordonez, who up to this point had been dominating the weekend, pulled off the track in Turn 11, handing the win to Trent Hindman and gifting a second place to Anderson with Newey a distant third
“I didn’t see what happened to Ordonez; I just saw the local yellow and his car sitting next to the guard rail. This is probably the most anticlimactic second place finish I’ve had so far, but either way second place is worth 32 very important points.”
Round 14 Whoever coined the phrase “pea soup fog” must have spent some time in Joliet, Illinois, as the entire area was socked in with a dense fog for qualifying Saturday morning. After consulting with series test drivers Kris Wilson and R.B. Stiewing, officials decided that the improving track conditions would give drivers qualifying later in a single car qualifying session an unfair advantage, so a group qualifying session was called. Anderson qualified fifth in the field of seven, with a 1:35.717 that was nine-tenths behind his pole winning teammate Trent Hindman.
For the first time all weekend conditions on Sunday morning were such that the cars were switched over to slicks for the race, which made the cars about three seconds per lap quicker than on the treads. Sunday morning also brought a car change for Anderson, as the lack of pace in the 59 car he had been driving up to that point was showing in the other race groups and was confirmed by the Skip Barber testers. Anderson’s first laps behind the wheel of the 40 car was in the pre-race warm up, giving him but two laps to feel out his new ride.
The race up front was a one-man show as Ordonez drove away from the field to take the second win of the morning by a driver named “Sebastian” (after Sebastian Vettel took his RedBull Renault to victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza) by five and a half seconds over Trent Hindman. Things were a bit more interesting for Anderson, as he battled with Shelby Blackstock for third position.
“In the past Shelby has been one to line up and chase down the leaders, but today he must have been more interested in racing, so we raced. While I think we might have caught Trent for second place if we worked together, I didn't mind having a good battle with Shelby, which made today’s race far more entertaining than yesterday’s.”
Anderson and Blackstock traded third place for most of the race before contact late in the running left Blackstock with a bent front wing and Anderson with a relatively comfortable .728 sec. gap at the finish for his second podium of the weekend
With third and second place finishes at Autobahn Country Club, Scott Anderson will take a 10-point lead over second place driver Trent Hindman into the season finale in three weeks at Lime Rock Park. Skip Barber National drivers earn points in 14 of the 16 races toward the championship; dropping their two lowest finishes. With the drops Anderson’s lead over Hindman grows to 15 points. With seven drivers expected to compete in the finale, the difference between a win and last place is 11 points, making Anderson the favorite to claim the 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. Still, Anderson is looking for a strong finish to cap off what has been a successful season.
“It is easy to get caught up in calculating these different ‘what-if’ scenarios with the points. My plan is to do what I’ve done all season; race for the wins. It would be nice to end the season with a win, and if I can do that, the championship will take care of itself."
Top 5 - 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, after Round 14 of 16
- Scott Anderson, 438 points
- Trent Hindman, -10
- Brandon Newey, -19
- Sebastian Ordonez, -58
- Shelby Blackstock, -71
Next up Scott Anderson will look to wrap up the 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda championship the weekend of October 6-8 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. 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.
[caption id="attachment_253" align="alignnone" width="448" caption="Scott talks shop with is dad, Jim Anderson."]