Four good days of racing in the Finger Lakes region of New York produced the third winner in Series history, Bill Valet, and the first repeat winner in Series history , Tim Kautz, who charged from 11th to the top step of the podium on Sunday. Kautz leads the 2011 standings over Valet (-21), John Robinson (-40), Jim Goughary ( -78) and Caitlin Johnston (-84).
For rounds five and six of the 2011 Championship at Mid-Ohio, Series partner Honda Performance Development (HPD) will be out in force.
HPD will be catering lunch for the entire paddock (including F2000) on Friday and Saturday, as well as hosting a sponsorship seminar during the weekend. The HPD hospitality suite will be open all day Friday and Saturday as well, offering drinks, a place to sit down, and more.
Those interested in attending the sponsorship seminar that did not sign up at Watkins Glen should contact the Series immediately to reserve their space.
SOS Children’s Villages
Watkins Glen also marked the start of the SOS Children’s Villages Watkins Glen Cup. Points are accumulated per the Series points at all four races at Watkins Glen. Tim Kautz leads by just four points over Valet, with John Robinson and Colin Thompson tied for third, 29 points back, with another point back to Series new-comer Forrest Hull in fifth.
Hull was Sunday’s CellMark Paper Hard Charger.
Seventeen-year-old Colin Thompson was looking good for a win on Sunday, coming off his first podium run on Saturday, before a spin while fighting for the lead (in order to avoid Valet) sent him down the order.
I grew from immature mistake making at VIR to long term wheel to wheel battles for the lead. Saturday's race was a tough battle to the front and I certainly had to work for a finish of third,” said Thompson, driving a Swift/Honda.
“On race day two, I was able to put myself in a better position to win the race by qualifying second. The start of the race was a mess and I fell back to sixth at the entrance to the bus stop. However, I kept my head in it, and picked one car off at a time until I was back in second with a five second gap over anyone else.
“The leader and I walked away until he broke lose at the exit of the bus stop causing me to spin to avoid him. He got away lucky by spinning around perfectly to keep momentum up and maintain the lead while I stopped facing oncoming traffic,” continued Thompson.
“I got the car pointed in the right direction and rejoined the race. Unfortunately, at this point I was about three seconds behind ninth place with about four laps to go, therefore putting me out of the running to win it. I did not give up with this set back. I knew that I needed two solid finishes for points so I fought my way back up to finish in sixth.”
While Valet’s Saturday victory was started from the front of the field, as he led from pole, Sunday’s second-place finish did not come as easily.
A crash in qualifying left the #83 Swift/Ford looking like it was not going to make the race on a weekend that saw tight turn around times between sessions.
Luckily, Valet was hosting a bachelor party at the track, with most attendees having been involved in Formula SAE.
“I came walking out of medical and found everyone already divided up and working on the car. Both corners were already off the car as was the body work,” Valet explained.
“Three guys from Lehigh got the mess of a tail back together and fitting pretty darn well. Meanwhile, others went searching for exhaust and the remaining guys worked with my crew to put the suspension back together. We had to bleed brakes too; I can't tell you the amount of thrashing that went on in the short amount of time.
“We got the car on scales just to make sure it wasn't completely deranged and sent it off to false grid with five minutes to go. We all rallied together and worked as a pretty well oiled machine considering the circumstances!”
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