Weir, Morton, Schriber, Anzaldi take wins, and father/son D’Ambrose squad take podiums.
Team Stradale made the annual trip to Road America for the Blue Marble Radical Cup North America race weekend. Once again in conjunction with the NTT IndyCar Series REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR, the crowds were large, and the competition tougher than ever.
Fielding a total of six drivers, and assisting many other Autobahn Country Club members, our drivers ranged from experienced drivers like John Rante and Andrew Marks, along with past champs like Chris Kemp, and Louis Schriber III. Newcomers were the ones to shake things up, with Christian Weir, and Alex Morton being the newest to the series.
Races were to be spaced out over three days, with one round each for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Drama began on Thursday though as Kemp had a braking issue into the very fast Canada Corner. A nose-in impact with the wall produced enough damage that it rendered Kemp out for the weekend. Thankfully, Radical’s safety standards proved their worth, and Kemp emerged unscathed
Soon thereafter, qualifying produced its own dramas. Schriber had an engine issue during qualifying that had him scramble for a fix. That fix ended up being “easily” sorted with the simple task of swapping in a different engine. After exhaustive work by his team, Schriber was able to set the Platinum class pole position with just two laps into the session.
As the grid formed for race 1, Schriber’s bad luck continued. Unrelated to the engine change, his car suffered a fueling issue, and that kept him from taking the green flag. It wouldn’t be the last we hear of this pole award winner.
Friday proved to be a great day for 14 year old Christian Weir. Immeidately at pace, Weir earned the Motul Pole Award during qualifying. The race would prove to be a bit tougher, as he was out-gunned at the start of race 1. However, but the half way point, other drivers were starting to push their car too hard, and Weir’s consistent pace allowed him to close in on Zac Ping, and eventually go for an incredible overtake on the last lap. Lost momentum would put Ping down to 3rd, being overtaken once more by Mike D’Ambrose Jr.
“The win by Weir makes him the youngest winning driver in Radical Cup North America’s history.”
Problems at the back of the field would end up affecting the leaders of the race. A back marker driver had a mechanical driveline issue for a number of laps, but attempted to stay out and circulate the track. That attempt to finish the race came to an end when he went off in T14 and became trapped in the gravel. This brought out a local yellow, and the accordion effect of slowing for the yellow then speeding up the front straight caught out Morton, and he relinquished 4th place.
1st – Indy Al Miller
2nd – Judd Miller
3rd – Jim Booth
1st – Gustavo Rafols
2nd – Gregg Gorski
3rd – Noah Ping
1st – Christian Weir
2nd – Mike D’Ambrose Jr
3rd – Zac Ping
Race 2 – yellows and re-starts
In Platinum Class, Schriber immediately got his elbows out. Due to missing race 1, he was relegated to the back of the class, and had to fight his way through. Mind you, in the process, he’d be fighting for position with multiple past champions, not only of Radical Cup, but IMSA drivers, too. But, at the checkered flag, Louie had done it, and even checked out from 2nd place Indy Al Miller.
After coming so close to a podium finish so far this season, Morton managed to take advantage of other driver’s mistakes in race 2. Gustavo Rafols and Gregg Gorski are two fierce competitors in PRO1500, but the two of them would have a coming together in the later stages of the race. Gorski spun off, and wouldn’t recover, but Rafols kept his track position. On the podium, it was Rafols, Morton and Nate Smith. But a post-race penalty for Rafols stripped him of his win, giving the trophy to Morton.
In PRO 1340, Weir had pole position based on lap times from race 1, but Ping still managed to get the jump at the start, and led every lap there after. That was until the last lap when Ping had a fuel issue, which allowed Weir to take the win. Ping still had a podium finish, as he placed second, with proud father Mike D’Ambrose able to grab a podium finish, just as his son did the day prior.
1st – Louie Schriber III
2nd – Indy Al Miller
3rd – Scott Wagner
1st – Alex Morton
2nd – Nate Smith
3rd – Palmer Miller
1st – Christian Weir
2nd – Zac Ping
3rd – Mike D’Ambrose
Race 3 – rain, and a big shakeup in the order
At the time of writing, race three on Sunday is still clouded with a bit of controversy. This race is the one featuring the mandatory pit stop, and further complicated with impending rain. The race started well for most drivers, and at about the half-way mark, many drivers came into the pits for rain tires and their mandatory stop. Those who stayed out were gathered up by a full-course caution from a car going off track. Then a second full course caution immediately followed, and that caution remained for the conclusion of the race.
Mike Anzaldi managed to gather all of the other competitors bad luck, and turn it into a win for himself in 1340.
Many front-running teams were relegated far back – as much as a lap down. It just happened to be a combination of bad luck with timing the pit stops, then the successive full-course cautions.
1st – Indy Al Miller
2nd – John/Clint Field
3rd – Jim Booth
1st – Greg Gorski
2nd – Alain Derzie
3rd – Nate Smith
1st – Mike Anzaldi
2nd – Jeff Ping
3rd – Thomas Palladino
Team Stradale’s next race will be with Radical Cup North America once more. This next round will be held at Circuit of the Americas on July 16 – 18.