Jim Russell F3 Winter Series by Simraceway, Race 6 Report–February 22nd, 2015
Round 6—the final race of the Jim Russell F3 Winter Series by Simraceway—saw Kevin Woods claim his second pole position on the trot.With fellow front-runner Chase Murray unable to attend the second race of the weekend, top Championship contender Brian Frank got to see an open track ahead for the green flag in P2.
The battle for third on the grid was very close. Third spot was changing hands every lap with six different drivers in the frame. Ultimately Pat Daly put together a great session and threw down a 1:27.272 on lap 9 of qualifying—his fastest of the weekend. John Schauerman finished fourth with a time of 1:27.449, while Gus Doppes (1:27.661) would start fifth, Bill Sheilds (1:27.788) sixth, Jim McGuire (1:27.816) seventh and Doug Tuttle (1:28.229) in eighth.
As the field took the green flag, Kevin Woods got a solid start and cleanly held the lead into turn 2. From a fourth-place start, John Schauerman made a side-by-side move on Pat Daly going into the second corner, but he had to back out on the exit. Doug Tuttle was also looking good, moving up two spots in the first couple of laps.
On lap 8, the battle for third started to heat up with Schauerman closing on Daly, followed by Gus Doppes in lockstep. Stung by this pressure from behind, Pat Daly found some extra speed and even managed to close on Brian Frank in second place a couple of times. However the pass never materialised and as Daly dropped a wheel exiting turn three, he narrowly avoided being collected in the gravel. Daly returned to the track in seventh place.
By lap 11, Gus Doppes could taste that podium spot as he closed on John Schauerman. Doppes got a good run on Shauerman out of turn 11 and was able to get level with him in turn 1 of lap 12. Schauerman was not going to give it up easily, though, and with the pair side-by-side into turn 2, a drag race developed as turn 3 approached! Doppes was ultimately able to edge it out on the exit and pull away.
The excitement wasn’t yet over for Schauerman, however, as Bill Sheilds tried hard to relieve him of fourth position on the last turn of the final lap. Schauerman would prevail by just two-tenths at the line. Further down the field, another great battle was unfolding, this time between Steve Campbell in 8th and Jim McGuire in 9th. A last-turn pass attempt saw them go into the final straight neck-and-neck, with Campbell claiming the spot.
Woods took the checkered flag in first place, ensuring he completed the perfect sweep on the final weekend with two poles and two wins. Brian Frank held on for second while Gus Doppes’s consumate performance was rewarded with the final podium place. Tuttle came in after the Schauerman/Shields battle—up two spots in sixth—while Pat Daly, Steve Campbell, Jim McGuire and Roy Strandburg completed the top ten.
Jim Russell F3 Winter Series by Simraceway, Race 6—Top Ten Finishers:
In the end it was a measure of consistency and speed , as always seems to be the case that enabled Brian Frank to claim the championship title (or maybe it was that transatlantic flight sitting next to F1 Champ Lewis Hamilton, always good for the Mojo) So congratulations Brian on some great driving that always seemed to make the highlight reels race after race. John Schaurman had a great weekend to finish 2nd with 2014 summer series Champ Chase Murray ruing a couple of errors over the short season to end up in 3rd. The series now takes a short break before the Summer Series kicks off in April back at home base in Sonoma. The growing series is going from strength to strength so look for even bigger fields and tighter racing in the coming months.
Jim Russell F3 Winter Series by Simraceway
Final Championship Standings