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2015 Sears Point F3 Summer Series

Race Reports

Race 1 – Sonoma Raceway (April 18, 2015)

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The sun shone as the clock ticked down to the first race of the newly-renamed 2015 Sears Point F3 Summer Series, with a full field of old and new competitors looking to make some early gains for the run to the Sears Point Championship.

 

Qualifying saw former race winner John Jastremski on pole, with experienced new boy Peter Ludwig showing some fantastic pace to line up alongside him at the front of the grid. On the second row, 2014-15 Winter Series champ Brian Frank claimed the inside with John “don’t squeeze” Schauerman outside him.But enough about qualifying—let’s get to the race, where the real action was! Jastremski managed to get a good start, but Ludwig was determined to make an early impression on the series. He got past JJ in the run-through on turn 2 and pushing hard to ensure the resulting gap was sufficient to head off any thoughts of retaliation. The rest of the field streamed nose-to-tail around the winding Sonoma track, but as they braked hard for turn 9, Roy Block got caught out on cooler tires and locked up, taking his #06 car onto the run-off and losing two spots.

Still pushing hard to increase his lead, Ludwig slithered around on the edge of adhesion, but kept his #07 moving away from the pack. The second group of McGuire (who survived a heart-pounding moment on the outside of turn 1 at the start), Wahl, Garrett, Huber, Hayes, and Pogorelov were fighting tooth-and-nail with dust flying and tires smoking all the way around. However Roy Block’s day wasn’t getting any better—he went off on turn 2 of the third lap, and this time all he could do was limp back to the pits and retire from the race with front-end damage.

 

On lap 5, MJ Hayes (#08) made a great pass on Jeff Huber (#11) in the turn 7 hairpin. Huber tried to make amends in turn 9a but fell afoul of an optimistic entry speed and spun. Sadly for Hayes, she was set to throw all her hard work in gaining that place away one lap later with a quick spin in turn 11.

 

Near the front of the field, Brian Frank made a move for second place. He managed to get right inside Jastremski at turn 11. However JJ held tough and got the run out on the outside to keep the position. Still pushing hard, Ludwig had a big moment on the exit of 3a with his wheels in the grass, but he gathered it up without losing much time to his battling pursuers.

 

Frank’s incessant pressure on Jastremski finally paid dividends as JJ spun out in the turn 7 hairpin to allow the Winter Series champion, Schauerman, and Tuttle (#15) through. Another spin, this time in turn 6, slowed Steve Campbell’s progress, while even more excitement was playing out at 9 in what was turning out to be an eventful race.

 

It wasn’t long before Hayes and Huber were together again, with Huber making another optimistic move as he tried to get inside Hayes’ #8 as she came back to the left in the chicane. Some wing-to-wheel action culminated in pit stops for both drivers, ending their hopes of competitive finishes.

 

As hard as he had fought to increase his lead throughout the race, the last couple of laps saw Ludwig’s pace slacken off and, as we know from past experience, Brian “last lap” Frank is never one to give up until the finish (and sometimes after it!). Sure enough, Frank closed the gap significantly towards the end.

 

It’s nice to feel comfortable enough to take it easy at the end of a race, but Ludwig may want to ensure more of a safety margin next time. The gap between first and second ended up being just 0.3 seconds!

What a great race with which to kick off the 2015 Sears Point F3 Summer Series. Loads of drama with very little damage—just how we like it! Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
107 - Peter Ludwig1:36.077
204 - Brian Frank1:36.701
315 - Doug Tuttle1:37.807
405 - John Jastremski1:35.712
516 - John Schauerman1:36.781
619 - Gus Doppes1:39.235
720 - Quentin Wahl1:40.073
823 - Jim McGuire1:39.443
918 - Steve Campbell1:37.784
1009 - Anatoly PogorelovN/A
1108 - MJ Hayes1:42.733
1211 - Jeff Huber1:38.915
1313 - Jim Garrett1:41.246
1406 - Roy Block1:38.135
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Media Packs (Password Access Only) If you purchased a media pack for this race, you should have received a password to access the below galleries. If you have not received a password, or didn’t purchase a media pack but would like to, please contact your Racing Consultant. #09 – Anatoly Pogorelov: Images / Race #20 – Quentin Wahl: Images / Practice and Qualifying / Race #06 – Roy Block: Images / Practice and Qualifying / Race #13 – Jim Garrett: Images / Practice and Qualifying / Race

Race 2 – Sonoma Raceway (April 19, 2015)

Race 2 Header Race 1 and 2 Try Online Race this car/track combo free at simraceway.com. Another day, another race in the battle for the Sears Point Championship crown! Building on his great run to the top of the podium in race 1, Peter Ludwig secured his first pole position of the 14-race season with an impressive series of only three timed laps, leaving the rest of the field to try and chase down his benchmark time.

Brian Frank came closest, but still fell 0.17 seconds shy, meaning he would line up on the outside of row 1. Next up was Doug Tuttle, John Jastremski, and John Schauerman, with Argentine Roy Block’s improved pace seeing him in P6. Another driver showing great progress was Russian driver Anatoly Pogorelov, who lined up in 8th.

 

After all the fireworks from race 1, the drivers seemed to settle down from the start-of-season excitement and, once through turn 1, were all fairly evenly spaced throughout the field. This time, though, Brian Frank was adamant that the gap between him and Ludwig wouldn’t get too big. He stayed close to the leader, keeping his nose in his shadow.

Unfortunately for Race 1 podium visitor Jastremski, he took an early bath as he lost control under braking into turn 11 and backed it into the unforgiving wall. The Aero Paint Ferrari pace car was duly dispatched and it took 3 laps to get the resulting mess cleared up.

 

At the restart, Frank piled on the pressure with Ludwig dropping wheels again on the exit of 3a. Meanwhile an entertaining three-way battle for third place was breaking out between Roy Block, Tuttle, and Schauerman. A little further back, Jim McGuire and Jeff Huber fought a race-long skirmish with nothing more than a car length between them the whole time. Campbell and Pogorelov were also waging a mighty fight for sixth, with Campbell coming out on top in the end by just 0.5 seconds. The most interesting encounter near the end of the race was that involving weekend roommates Quentin Wahl and Gus Doppes. Wahl made a brave pass into turn 7, only to see Doppes return the favor on the next lap at exactly the same spot. After that, Wahl got some great runs out of turn 10 to make a succession of moves to the inside of 11, Doppes, however, wised to his game and used just enough road on the inside to thwart the challenges. Although video footage of the battle was reviewed post-race by Race Director Randy Buck, it was decided that no penalties were warranted. So Peter Ludwig was able to fend off Brian Frank to claim his second win of the weekend, with John Schauerman successfully holding onto third place.

 

Some super racing and great progress by a lot of the newer drivers are bearing all the hallmarks of a very competitive Summer Series. With the next races taking place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, everyone is excited to see what the Monterey event will produce on May 30th and 31st.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
107 - Peter Ludwig1:36.755
204 - Brian Frank1:36.925
316 - John Schauerman1:37.520
415 - Doug Tuttle1:37.453
506 - Roy Block1:37.718
618 - Steve Campbell1:38.022
709 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:38.376
819 - Gus Doppes1:38.600
920 - Quentin Wahl1:40.921
1023 - Jim McGuire1:39.002
1111 - Jeff Huber1:39.327
1208 - MJ Hayes1:41.922
1313 - Jim Garrett1:40.450
1405 - John Jastremski1:37.506

 

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Race 3 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (May 30, 2015)

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Our first “away race” of the year saw a return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, an impressive facility that every driver loves the chance to tame. Some strict sound ordinance rules provided an all-nighter for the tech crew to rectify the challenge of keeping these cars on the positive side of the sound rules—but succeed they did. All cars and drivers were ready to go for Race 3 of the championship.

 

Qualifying

The drivers set out for qualifying eager to attack the famous 2.23 mile road course of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with 30 minutes to lay down their best lap. With the Pirelli Slicks able to maintain performance over a long distance, most drivers took advantage of the improved track conditions and lightening fuel load to make several runs at a time. The “Hammer Nutrition Special” of Brian Frank laid down a 1:26.190 to pip Chase Murray for top spot by under 2/10ths, closely followed by last event winner Peter Ludwig claiming the last seat at the post-qualifying press conference table. Schauerman, Block , Shields, McGuire, Pogorelov, Schiller & Garrett filled out the top ten.

 

Race

The green flag dropped and all the cars saw a clean first lap. Peter Ludwig charged to the front from third by the end of lap one while John Schauerman was also on a mission and applied pressure multiple times to Chase Murray in third. After a couple of tries, he put in a great pass on lap 4. On the same lap, 1st place Ludwig was still pushing hard to create a gap over Frank but charged into turn 10 just a bit too hard putting his car four-wheels off and couldn’t manage to save it. The spin put him back to sixth handing the lead to pole sitter Brian Frank. Meanwhile, a battle was brewing for the third spot as Chase Murray fell into the clutches of Roy Block and Bill Shields. All three almost came together as the dogfight headed into the Corkscrew on lap 6 but miraculously they all came through unscathed. Second place Schauerman tried several times to attack Brian Frank’s lead and closed the gap, but was never able to offer a serious challenge as Frank was able to take control. Trying everything he could throughout the race, Roy Block saw a rare opportunity on the unconventional outside of turn 2 and made it stick against Chase Murray for the third spot on lap 11. Meanwhile Walter Kuhn in 11th was feeling the pressure from Ross Jaffe and went wide on the apex of turn two. With half a car in the dirt and trying to get the car back onto the racing surface, the car darted into Jaffe and ended both their races. The remainder of the race finished under yellow flag to clean up the debris.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
109 - Brian Frank1:26.190
208 - John Schauerman1:27.079
320 - Roy Block1:27.523
423 - Chase Murray1:26.337
503 - Bill Shields1:27.852
606 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:28.324
704 - Jim McGuire1:27.917
811 - Jim Garrett1:30.304
905 - Mark Schiller1:28.950
1013 - Steve Campbell1:31.551
1116 - Walter Kuhn1:32.079
1218 - Ross Jaffe1:30.622
1315 - MJ Hayes1:32.783
1414 - Peter Ludwig1:27.079

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Race 4 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (May 31, 2015)

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Qualifying

The Sears Point technical crew once again did a great job fixing the damaged cars from Race 3 and all were present for the qualifying session. Race 4 qualifying saw cooler and cloudier conditions that helped pole man Chase Murray lower the bar from yesterday, being the only one to dip below the 1:26 mark with an impressive 1:25.404. Mark Schiller locked in an impressive front row start in his first ever visit to Laguna Seca, loving the challenge this track offers up. Team “Aero Paints” Jim McGuire claimed 3rd making the off-week from his Continental Challenge team a productive one. Frank, Ludwig, the ever improving Pogorelov, Shields, Schauerman, Block & Walter Kuhn rounded out the “Q3” top-ten group.

 

Race

Race 4 of the Sears Point 2015 F3 Summer Series saw another clean start. Chase Murray got a great jump on the field and held the lead. Mark Schiller, Jim McGuire and Brian Frank were looking very eager to battle for the remaining spots on the podium with multiple charges from each. On lap 3, Anatoly Pogorelov found the limit into turn 4 and was stuck on the outside dirt. The safety car was released to pick up the field while cleaning up the incident. It awaited the leaders in the turn 2 while the double yellow flags flew at the start/finish line. Some disparities in speed caused Brian Frank to lose his left front corner as he ran into the right rear of Mark Schiller. Miraculously Marks car was unharmed, but Frank’s was out on the spot as the tight pack scattered to avoid further harm. Once the track was cleaned, the race was ready to resume. On the restart, all was clean with Chase Murray, Jim McGuire, John Schauerman and Bill Shields in line. Schauerman at this point was up 5 spots from his 8th starting position. The famous battle between Walter Kuhn and Ross Jaffe for fifth was the highlight of the race as they picked up where they left off the day before. Kuhn was doing all he could to hold off Jaffe but Jaffe was not to be denied and got a great run on Kuhn heading out of turn 11 down the main straight, getting right alongside him into turn 2. Side-by-side all the way to the exit, he was able to take the spot. The race would finish in the remaining order as Chase Murray added another trophy to the cabinet and got to sip the milk (it is the month of May after all) in the closing ceremonies.

 

With just 2 short weeks until the championship fires up again at home base at Sonoma Raceway, some wounds will be licked and possibly some new entries should make it as exciting as ever. An added challenge of running the NASCAR configuration of the track, which no one has run yet, celebrates the return of the American stock car series’ visit to our west coast track later in June.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
114 - Chase Murray1:25.404
204 - Jim McGuire1:26.170
308 - John Schauerman1:27.765
403 - Bill Shields1:27.569
519 - Ross Jaffe1:29.831
616 - Walter Kuhn1:29.161
705 - Mark Schiller1:26.134
813 - Steve Campbell1:29.866
911 - Jim Garrett1:30.860
1015 - MJ Hayes1:31.268
1120 - Roy Block1:28.188
1209 - Brian Frank1:26.344
1306 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:26.399

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Race 5 – Sonoma Raceway (June 13, 2015)

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Qualifying

It’s June in Sonoma and that can only mean one thing: NASCAR is coming to town! So to follow up last month’s Laguna Seca races, we gave all the drivers another new challenge & uncharted territory: the NASCAR configuration of Sonoma Raceway.

 

Gone is the carousel, but now they must run through the fast 9 and 10 sequence that even the bravest of drivers beg to crack the throttle knowing they are leaving some time on the table. With ½ a mile shaved off the course, the lap times were considerably lowered and showing the agility and grip of the F3s pole man, Peter Ludwig eclipsed the thundering stock cars lap record by over a second with a third the horsepower of those beasts! No surprise with Ludwig up front but a fantastic debut for Italian Matteo Franceschetti just 6/1000 of a second off Peter to line up alongside on row 1.The next 3 were covered by a very tight margin as well with Schauerman, Shields and McGuire all within 3/100 of a second from each other, followed by Nason (another series debutant), Pogorelov, Block & Jastremski filling out the top ten.

 

Race 5

Not only was NASCAR a part of the theme, but this was 24 hours of Le Mans weekend also so the drivers were all lined up and ready to go for race 5 & the 24 minutes of Sonoma Saturday afternoon with bated breath.

 

Some say that Sonoma, especially in the shortened configuration, is a very tough place to pass, but I guess the drivers didn’t get the memo as we had a barnstormer of a race with action all over the place.

 

At the start Matteo was caught napping and Schauerman had a start even Jesus would be proud off, as not only did he sweep by the Italian, but got alongside Ludwig on the run up the hill to turn 2. Peter was not having any of it and the veteran asserted himself back up the front on the run to turn 3. The rest of the pack swept through the very short lap in a tight pack to end lap 1 cleanly.

 

After a couple of laps it was evident the Russian driver Pogorelev was ready to assert himself as a driver to be reckoned with as he made up for a lower-than-expected qualifying spot due to an error and was charging up the pack. In the melee of the early laps McGuire got it wrong on the entry to turn 1 and spun to the outside, right on his heels was Gus Doppes who did a swift move to the outside in avoidance and ended up having to take the long agricultural path to get back in the race. The pace car was dispatched and the field readied for the restart.

 

Ludwig and Schauerman once again gave the field some nice personal space and pulled a gap, but now Pogorelev was putting intense pressure on 3rd man Franceschetti. For about 3 laps in a row they were side by side through turns 12 & 1 which usually ends in tears but the drivers gave each other just enough room. Franschetti showed some deft skills of braking and car control as he dived inside turn 11 to reclaim the spot only for Anatoly to fight hard on the exit to claim it back. Eventually Anatoly got clear enough to thwart a comeback and set off after 2nd place.

 

Once again, the magnets were strong for the McGuire and Doppes show as they were in the thick of it for a second time with Jim’s move to the inside of Gus at turn 11 only for the door to be closing too quickly and McGuire ran into the right side to Doppes. Both cars got going again just in time to avoid a full course yellow but could only limp back to the pits and retire.

 

As the race’s final lap closed in, Pogorelov’s charge ended as he out-braked himself into turn 7 throwing away a certain podium and stalling the car to boot. The pace car headed out again to gather the field as the Russian’s car was restarted but now 1 lap down. Once again Ludwig & Schauerman paced the field, and Franceschetti was back in the podium slot but had Shields, Jastremski & Roy Block breathing down his neck. The Italian made his car as wide as a he could but bent the rule just a little too far on the last lap in the battle to hold off Bill Shields in turn 4 with a double move to block the overtake and received a 20 second penalty post-race that dropped him down the order to 8th, but a mighty impressive run nonetheless.

 

So Ludwig notched up another win to help his championship status nicely, and a smooth, fast quiet run for Schauerman netted 2nd place points. Bill Shields claimed the last podium slot. Some nice Le Mans style French wine was selected for the podium as all took a breather from a fun & eventful Race 5.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
103 - Peter Ludwig1:13.262
205 - John Schauerman1:13.583
313 - Bill Shields1:13.609
406 - John Jastremski1:14.467
519 - Roy Block1:14.422
609 - Jim Garrett1:15.796
707 - Mark Nason1:13.995
804 - Matteo Franceschetti1:13.268
911 - MJ Hayes1:18.109
1023 - Arno Harris1:15.895
1108 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:14.118
1216 - Gus Doppes1:14.726
1315 - Jim McGuire1:13.613

 

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Race 6 – Sonoma Raceway (June 14, 2015)

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Qualifying

Another bright day greeted the drivers for Race 6 qualifying. After a couple of incidents in practice with Jim McGuire taking a wild ride after losing the car out of the very fast turn 10 and a collision between MJ Hayes & Mark Nason when she hit the car of Nason after a spin at turn 4, the Sears Point crew did an amazing job of putting the pieces back together in time that all were present and ready to go.

 

Peter Ludwig approached his qualifying run as usual and sat out the first 10 minutes waiting for a clear track as everyone else trundled out of pit lane to make their mark on the grid. This time the wait and see approach did not work for Peter as a late yellow flag scuppered his “hot” lap and he had to make way for the on-form John Jastremski who put forth the best lap of the weekend with a 13.259. Ludwig lined up alongside the pole sitter with Schauerman, Pogorelov, Nason, Shields, Doppes, McGuire, Block and an ever improving Hayes in 10th, with a great recovery from the practice incident and a sore wrist.

 

Race 6

The race started with everyone behaving themselves, but Ludwig was in no mind to stay in second as he instantly applied pressure to Jastremski.

 

On lap 3 Roy Block made a great move with a diving pass inside turn 11 on Mark Nason. All eyes were then on the lead as Jastremski had Peter burrowed under his rear wing through the “S’s” and ran that momentum forward to claim the inside line and the lead in 11. Lap 8 saw a chink in Ludwig’s armor as he fumbled out of 11 allowing Jastremski and the hard-charging Schauerman to fly by on the left side. Ludwig immediately got back in the game and chased the leaders down.

 

Unfortunately for Roy Block, his ECU packed up and he eventually had to retire from the race, but took home a very competitive weekend to build from for the rest of the year. Jastremski began to fight an ever-loosening rear end as he strode to master the art of left foot braking and became a cropper in turn 7 allowing Ludwig and Schauerman to fight it out the rest of the way. This elevated Pogorelov to 3rd who was in turn fighting off Bill Shields.

 

Up front it was nose to tail and as much as Ludwig had the faster pace he just could not figure out a way past Schauerman. Great runs through turn 10 were greeted with a defensive, but fair, line by Schauerman. Perhaps an alternate line could have served Ludwig better for a run out of 11 as Pogorelov showed to great success in race 5. But it was not to be and as the white flag waved it seemed Ludwig had run out of ideas and backed off the pace not knowing Pogorelov was coming like a freight train and had his sights an another place.

 

Into Turn 11 Pogorelov used the late braking inside line he had learned from his battles the day before and still managed a great run out powering past Ludwig to claim 2nd place by a nose with a furious punch in the air! As the saying goes: don’t lift off the gas untill the fat lady waves the flag (or something like that). So Schauerman claimed the win with the fiery Russian in 2nd and Ludwig in 3rd.

With that win, John holds top spot in the championship with Ludwig, Block, Pogorelov, Garrett , Hayes, McGuire, Frank, Shields & Jastremski filling out the top ten.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
105 - John Schauerman1:13.658
223 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:13.926
303 - Peter Ludwig1:13.507
413 - Bill Shields1:14.022
507 - Mark Nason1:13.986
615 - Gus Doppes1:14.181
706 - John Jastremski1:13.259
811 - MJ Hayes1:15.684
904 - Joe Gardner1:17.102
1019 - Roy Block1:14.850
1109 - Jim Garrett1:15.902

 

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Race 7 – Sonoma Raceway (August 22, 2015)

 

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Qualifying

Sonoma Raceway in August means the IndyCar Finale is just around the corner, so Race 7 of the Sears Point F3 summer series chose to emulate its big cousin and run the same configuration adding a new challenge for our racers as they had to tackle the IndyCar car version of Turn 11. The corner was created to add a little more run-off safety for the Indy drivers and force drivers to have a significantly tighter, and therefore slower, entry. With a visually difficult approach it opens up quickly on the exit, so it’s a great place to go for old “up and under.” On the pole once again, driving a back-up car due to an incident in practice, was Peter Ludwig who laid down his lap early in the session and held station in pit lane ready to head out again should anyone knock him off the top of the list. No one did, but just by the smallest of margins as Chase Murray came within 2/1000ths of a second from claiming pole. Next up was Anatoly Pogorelov who pipped Brian Frank in the closing moments of the session. The top 10 filled out with Schauerman, Block, Shields, Franceschetti, Schiller & Arno Harris.

Race 7

A well-formed grid saw the field at quite a slow pace as they took the green with quick trigger man Schauerman blasting past the second row on the inside to claim 3rd place up the hill to turn 2. Everyone settled in nose-to-tail with Ludwig already putting a safe gap to 2nd place Murray. Sadly, it was to be a short race for Ludwig as his car came to a grinding halt in turn 7 with electrical gremlins necessitating an early use of the pace car. The car was able to eventually re-fire but Peter chose to save his energies for Sunday and retire after going 3 laps down. Top 4 on the restart was Murray and Brian Frank who had reclaimed his place from now P3 Schauerman, with a nice pass under braking at turn 9, and Anatoly Porgorelov. On the restart Anatoly made a big move on the outside and eventually grabbed 3rd spot from Schauerman. This didn’t last long, however, as he spun coming out of turn 6 on lap 8 and ended up mowing the lawn for quite a while up the hill of the turn 6 embankment before getting back on track and heading back to the pits for a thorough check from the Sears Point tech team. One lap later Roy Block, who had clawed his way to 4th place, lost it in the turn 7 hairpin and fell to 8th place only to charge back and make a great move in turn 9 on the last lap to take 7th from Bob Irwin. No big challenges for winner Chase Murray as he claimed top spot with a mighty 15 second margin. The rest of the field were evenly spaced without too much drama or chance of any last lap heroics as Brian Frank cam e in 2nd followed by, Schauerman, Shileds, Franceschetti, Schiller and Roy Block.

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
104 - Chase Murray1:33.509
205 - Brian Frank1:34.053
307 - John Schauerman1:34.149
414 - Bill Shields1:35.637
513 - Matteo Franceschetti1:35.680
619 - Mark Schiller1:36.784
715 - Roy Block1:35.006
823 - Bob Irwin1:39.138
909 - Arno Harris1:37.665
1003 - Joe Gardner1:41.659
1111 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:33.985
1220 - Peter Ludwig1:33.507

 

Race Video

 

Race 8 – Sonoma Raceway (August 23, 2015)

 

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Qualifying

Day 2 of the race weekend saw another pole from hot shoe Peter Ludwig, but this time not only did he still have Chase Murray in hot pursuit just 8/100ths this time, but also Anatoly Pogorelov & Brian Frank were hot on his heels. The top four was covered by just 3/10th of a second! Roy Block made a great run to 5th with championship leader John Schauerman up next in 6th.

Race 8

After the early retirement from the last race, Ludwig was in no mood to hang around and got a great start to lead Murray who had to check up when Ludwig firmly claimed his position on track giving Pogorelov a chance for a run at Murray for 2nd place. He went the long way around on the outside of turn 2, side-by-side until Murray finally claimed the spot on the run down to the turn 3 “esses.” Brian Frank soon got with the program and started pressuring Anatoly, one slip by the oversteery Russian enabled Brian to out-brake him into the turn 7 hairpin and claim the spot. Things settled down at the front, but a torrid fight was engaged for 7th between Bill Shields and Mark Nason with Shields finally sneaking by on Lap 6. By lap 9 Pogorelov had regrouped and made a fantastic pass building speed through the daunting “esses” and pouncing to the inside of the braking zone to the 9a chicane. Further back in the pack, Marissa “MJ” Hayes had been steadily building up speed through the day and kept that momentum as she closed in on Swede Alex Coigny to dive down the inside of turn 7, but Alex wouldn’t be shaken off and returned the favor with a move from way, way back which could have gone all wrong had MJ not seen the fast closing #19. Luckily, she moved out of the way to avoid an early exit for both. After a quick spin, Frank had fallen back in the order but was now on a charge and was all over Schauerman like a cheap suit. He made a move in turn 9 but couldn’t hold the line and took to the dirt, giving the place back to Schauerman on the run to turn 11 to avoid controversy in the stewards room and the wrath of race director Randy Buck afterward. Schauerman played a cunning game of cover my road but couldn’t sustain the constant pressure and Frank was by in turn 7. Luckily for Anatoly he had made enough of a gap to cover another spin out of turn 6 without relinquishing the last podium spot. One more battle came down to the last lap as MJ Hayes slipped by Coigny to take a well-deserved 10th place. So another win for Peter Ludwig with Murray just a couple of seconds back at the flag, Porgorlev kept it on the road to 3rd followed by Frank, Schauerman, Block, Shields, Nason, Gardner & last lap hero MJ Hayes.

Schauerman still holds top spot in the championship but Ludwig and Pogorelov are closing in, and now just 1 race weekend away from being able to start dropping poor finishes it is sure to heat up as wine country cools down.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
106 - Peter Ludwig1:33.629
204 - Chase Murray1:33.705
311 - Anatoly Pogorelov1:33.837
405 - Brian Frank1:34.177
507 - John Schauerman1:34.763
615 - Roy Block1:34.685
714 - Bill Shields 1:35.081
813 - Mark Nason1:36.230
923 - Joe Gardner1:37.098
1009 - MJ Hayes1:42.217
1119 - Alex Coigny1:40.595

 

Race Video

Race 9 – Sonoma Raceway (September 17, 2015)

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Qualifying

Harking back to just a couple of years ago when Sonoma Raceway was part of the FIA World Touring Car Championship races 9 & 10 would take on the challenge of that layout for rounds 9 & 10 of the championship. This would use the longest version of turn 7 that each driver gave a big thumbs up to, perhaps seeking a rest from the precision sensitive hairpin 7 that is so often used. That being said a tremendous job by Peter Ludwig who once again fell afoul of airline hi-jinx and missed the 2 practices leading up to qualifying but was still able to pip Hammer Nutrition’s Brian Frank to pole by just under 2/10ths. Bill Shields had a great qualifying effort to line up 3rd with Argentinian hot shoe Roy Block filling out the second row. Doppes, Jastremski & Coigny claimed 5th, 6th & 7th respectively followed by series debutant Matt Keegan with a nice turn of speed to line up 8th. Unfortunately Steve Campbell had an incident in practice that took him out for the weekend reducing the grid by one for the day.

Race 9

While Peter Ludwig may have played his best game of run off and hide the battling behind him was intense to say the least! The highlight reel could have just been focused on Roy Block and Bill Shields as these two drivers made this race one you couldn’t sit down for. First off Roy made a great start to slot into 3rd while Shields was caught napping by the ever opportunistic John Jastremski claiming 4th on the run up to turn 2, but as we will find out through the weekend Bill Shields will never be shy to counter attack quickly and hung it all out in on the outside rear of Jastremski exiting the mighty turn 6 to get in position to reclaim 4th on the entry to turn 7. Then he set his sights on Block. Nose to tail they battled lap after lap, then what seemed like a done deal as he claimed the inside line for turn 11 was not to be as Roy toughed it out on the outside line to just eek out the advantage coming to the turn 12 kink, advantage Block. A couple of laps later and Bill, who seemed to always get a great run out of turn 7 and through the esses, used that speed to slide inside on the right in the braking zone for the turn 9 chicane, Roy re-buttled that straight away as he got back by 2 turns later into Turn 11. The closing laps were intense indeed and on the last lap Roy made his sleek F3 machine as wide as a combine harvester staving off an outside move at turn 9 from Shields to gratifyingly claim the last podium spot.

So Ludwig took another win by quite a margin as 2nd place Frank had to shake off a temporary power loss mid race that nearly had him in the clutches of the 3rd place battle. Jastremski had a lonely drive in the end to 5th followed by Doppes, Coigny, Gardner, Keegan (doing a nice job on his debut) and John Adams filling out the top ten.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
115 - Peter Ludwig1:38.231
219 - Brian Frank1:38.404
305 - Roy Block1:41.116
420 - Bill Shields1:39.758
514 - John Jastremski1:41.969
604 - Gus Doppes1:41.711
706 - Alex Coigny1:43.506
807 - Joe Gardner1:45.489
909 - Matt Keegan1:44.253
1023 - John Adams1:49.247
1111 - Roy Strandberg1:47.913
1203 - Jim Garrett1:38.915

Race Video

 

Race 10 – Sonoma Raceway (September 18, 2015)

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Qualifying

Another day and another pole for Peter Ludwig this time by over 1 sec from Brian Frank, Bill Shields once more gaining the inside of row 2 this time joined by John Jastremski. Coigny lined up 5th followed by Doppes, Block, Keegan, Garret and Gardner filling out the top ten. MJ Hayes took on the vacant Campbell seat and lined up in 11th place finding her pace around the new WTCC layout.

Race 10

A clean start saw Ludwig solidify that pole position with a confident run up the hill to turn 2 and slot into the lead with Brian Frank in tow. Jastremski meanwhile made a great move on Shields on the outside to claim 3rd but this only lasted till turn 7 where Shields got a great run out of 6 & out-braked his fellow 2nd row starter to get his position back. Sadly Bill had to take an early shower as and engine issue put paid to a great drive and he would go no further than lap 3. One of the best battles of the day was Gus Doppes and Alex Coigny fighting tooth and nail every lap, Doppes trying all his experience to find a way past with Roy Block in close proximity ready to pounce at the slightest mistake by either one. Coigny was able to withstand the race long pressure from Doppes however and came through with a career best and well deserved 4th place. A late race pace car bunched the field up for a 2 lap dash to the flag which enabled newcomer Matt Keegan to get alongside Joe Gardner coming out of the last corner and carrying that momentum to a fist pumping 7th place by a nose over Joe’s number 7 machine. MJ hayes was right behind them in 9th with John Addams a distant 10th due to a short stop in the pits to reaffix a loose engine cover. The crew did a great job to get him out ahead of the pace car but john just wasn’t able to catch the field in time for the re-start.

So Peter Ludwig strolled to another win and put a nice little cushion of points together to help his championship run aspirations. Frank came home another unchallenged 2nd place with Jastremski keeping all else at bay to take the last step on the podium.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
115 - Peter Ludwig1:38.951
213 - Brian Frank1:40.056
314 - John Jastremski1:42.332
406 - Alex Coigny1:42.349
504 - Gus Doppes1:42.467
619 - Roy Block1:43.289
709 - Matt Keegan1:43.747
807 - Joe Gardner1:44.982
922 - MJ Hayes1:45.086
1023 - John Adams1:45.260
1103 - Jim Garrett1:47.913
1211 - Roy Strandberg1:46.260
1320 - Bill Shields1:40.704

Race Video

 

Race 11 – Sonoma Raceway (October 10, 2015)

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For the first time this season the racers would see 2 different versions of the Sonoma raceway track over one weekend. Race 11 kicked it all off with a rarely used layout combining the hairpin at turn 7 (used by the Indycars) & the fast 9 & 10 combination (used by NASCAR). This fast combination really sees the Sears Point Lola F3’s make maximum use of the downforce as well as the grip from the Pirelli Slick tires to keep the drivers focused on precision and endurance as these constant G-loads can wear you down over the 3 day program.

Qualifying

Less-than-ideal conditions kept most off the track for practice 1, so with just 1 session under their belts, qualifying ended up with a pretty familiar look with Ludwig & Frank taking the front row. Bill Shields just piped John Scahuerman for 3rd by 2 1/100ths followed by John Jastremski, Jim McGuire, Roy Block & MJ Hayes. In 11th place, series debutante Howard Skalar struggled with pace a little against the extremely competitive field of drivers but kept his head down to try and close the gap.

Race 11

Bright and sunny conditions saw Peter Ludwig bring the field slowly toward the starter, but couldn’t gain any advantage as Brian Frank got the jump on the poleman at the drop of the green. Charging up the outside of turn 1, he claimed top spot as they fell into line at the turn 2 right hander, closely followed behind them by Schauerman in 3rd, Shields, McGuire and Jastremski. On lap 2 a feisty Joe Gardner saw him piling on the pressure to Gus “Butterfinger” Doppes and slipped by inside turn 11 showing some great new skills after a racecraft focused test day a couple of weeks back. Jastremski got a great run on Jim McGuire on lap 3 out of turn six to put himself to the inside and claim 5th spot under braking into the hairpin. After dispatching with Doppes, Gardner had set his sights on the tail of #18 MJ Hayes who was showing a great turn of speed this weekend. He tried a move to the inside of 7 but MJ wasn’t having any of it and held strong. They both were in turn closing down on Roy Block for 7th.

 

Bill Shields was turning up the heat on Schauerman mid-race for the last step on the podium. Some great to and fro from these two kept it very tense. Not to forget the battle for the lead as no more than a blanket could cover Frank and Ludwig who was trying to figure out the right play as he fought with aero wash when following too close to the #5. Joe Gardner’s charge went unrewarded as he spun at turn 7, giving Hayes breathing space to be able to concentrate on Roy Block ahead. Coming up to a back marker nearly gave Ludwig the chance he needed as he was able to latch onto the tail of Brian and get inside at turn 7, but he couldn’t hold the line and Frank was able to claim the position back on exit. Turn 7 eventually claimed two more scalps as Hayes lost it on the exit on lap 11 and on the penultimate lap Brian Frank followed suite handing the victory to championship leader Peter Ludwig! Brian got going quickly to still hold 2nd at the flag with John Schauerman eeking out 3rd place by just 0.18 seconds from Bill Shields. So Ludwig notched up another win to a very impressive season tally but not in his usual “lead from the front” style to hold a nearly insurmountable points score leading into race 12.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
113 - Peter Ludwig1:30.422
205 - Brian Frank1:30.850
306 - John Schauerman1:32.017
415 - Bill Shields1:31.947
509 - John Jastremski1:32.638
611 - Jim McGuire1:33.225
714 - Roy Block1:34.135
807 - Gus Doppes1:35.008
918 - MJ Hayes1:34.322
1020 - Joe Gardner1:34.618
1119 - Howard Sklar1:38.054

 

Race Video

Race 12 – Sonoma Raceway (October 11, 2015)


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Race 12 saw the oldest layout of Sonoma raceway in use, also known as “Classic,” that gives drivers the largest radius version of turn 7, adding more speed through the “S’s”, which gives even the most seasoned of professional drivers a moment of thought.

 

Qualifying

An eventful qualifying to say the least as Peter Ludwig ended up nosing his car hard into the outside of turn 2 early on halting the session. Even though a spare car was dispatched, his times were null & void as per the regulations. So a new polesitter would be had for the 2nd race of the weekend. Most would have put their money on Race 11 front runner Brian Frank, but a technical problem put an end to a proper run and although a great effort by the Sears Point crew to get him another car, a late 2 lap run would only garner 3rd spot. This brought Bill “the heat” Shields to score his first pole of the season by more than ½ a second over sparring partner John Schauerman, followed by Frank, Jastremski with Hayes & Gardner holding strong positions on row 3.

 

Race 12

With Ludwig having to start at the back and Frank on row two, this looked to be a very interesting beginning. At the drop of the green, Shields was flattered by a napping Schauerman to gain an easy lead into turn 1, with Frank pouncing on 2nd immediately. Ludwig saw a parting of the waves as only Moses had ever seen and bolted through the gap to gain 5th spot as they fanned out 4 wide through turn 1. Block was dropping wheels off the pavement and losing significant positions in the ensuing recovery. Later on the lap Brian Frank made what could be argued the pass of the weekend as he took a leap of faith on cold tires and flatfooted turn 10 for the first time to perfectly time the exit speed and get inside of Shields on the run to 11 and claim top spot for the 2nd race in succession. Opportunity knocked and Frank took the door off! Lap 2 saw the march of Peter Ludwig continue as he picked off 4th then 3rd place all on the same lap demoting Schauerman then Jastremski to 4th & 5th respectively. They were joined by a hard charging Joe Gardner who was still building on his form from yesterday. Schauerman got by JJ on lap 4 in a great move in turn 4, Joe then kept the pressure on that saw Jastremski spinning out of contention at turn 2 on lap 8. Meanwhile the battle at the front was raging as Frank had to drive with perfection as Shields and Ludwig were breathing down his neck every step of the way, Shields really closing up under braking in 11 but not being able to get a good run out of 10 to make that a passing option. Block had now recovered to catch Hayes and, although thwarted by the old over/under at turn 11, finally made the pass stick and set out after Doppes. Ludwig seemed to have the pace of the 2 in front as he hung back and took runs at the other 2 leaders, although hard to confirm as Bill had to contend being in an F3 sandwich all race. Peter nearly made a pass stick on lap 11 as he got inside Shields but it didn’t come off as Bill got the jump on the exit. So as much as the positions up front never changed after the first lap, the intensity of the battle left the front 3 mentally & physically spent as the checker flew, which was a very big relief for race winner Brian Frank of course. A great win for the Hammer Nutrition Guru, as well as great drive for Bill Shields and recovery drive from Ludwig. Schauerman finished a lonely 4th followed by Gardner and the energetic candy purveyor Gus Doppes in 6th.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
103 - Brian Frank1:33.725
215 - Bill Shields1:32.219
311 - Peter Ludwig1:31.749
406 - John Schauerman1:32.921
520 - Joe Gardner1:35.032
607 - Gus Doppes1:35.561
714 - Roy Block1:35.592
818 - MJ Hayes1:35.028
909 - John Jastremski1:34.145
1019 - Howard Sklar1:39.703

Race Video

 

Race 13 – Sonoma Raceway (November 9, 2015)

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Well, you never know how the weather will behave in November, and as luck would have it the first rain of the season greeted the racers for the penultimate race of the 2015 season. When the first rain comes it that makes for a very slippery track and even the most experienced drivers found the surface challenging. Nearly everyone took a turn at replicating a spinning top as they tip-toed around a wet and soggy Sonoma Raceway trying to make some sense of the best way to prepare for qualifying.

 

Qualifying

As the day went on, the weather started to cooperate, changing on a minute by minute basis so the course that greeted the racers for qualifying would have to be learned and re-learned every lap. Unfortunately for Brian Frank, who was on pole at the time, the standing water caught up with him as he went to make a pass in turn 10 and clouted the wall leading to an extensive stoppage in play after just a few minutes into the session. Once the incident had been cleared, there only remained enough time for a good old fashioned 1 lap dash with wet weather maestro John Jastremski laying down an impressive lap to claim pole by a handsome margin. Most drivers made use of the drier conditions to set their best time at the end, and although Brian Frank’s previous time was still good enough for the front row, his cause of the red flag led to a back row start alongside Champion-in-waiting Peter Ludwig who had a technical problem and wasn’t able to set a time.

 

Race 13

So the field came around turn 11 on a nearly dry track, but there was just enough standing water to negate a move to slicks which would make tire management over the 25 minute race a crucial skill that could create some huge benefits by race end. John Jastremski saw no reason to hang around and put the hammer down at the earliest opportunity, catching nearly the whole field napping. I say nearly as Peter Ludwig was more than ready and had a full head of steam to make his way all the way up to 4th running the outside up the hill into turn 2! In Fact, Peter already had a podium spot before the first lap was over. Brian Frank also made a great start, but suffered a mechanical issue that put an end to his race early. Unfortunately, as in qualifying, we were delayed in the proceedings early on as Quentin Wahl got it wrong on the entry to turn 2 and nosed in hard to the wall. The rain soaked grass made it difficult to get the car out and the session was stopped, only able to get back underway with another dash to the finish with 5 minutes left. Even with that, the field stretched out quite a lot as the drivers interpreted the conditions in varying degrees of aggression. The fight was well and truly on at the front as Jastremski fought hard to hold the lead but couldn’t keep Ludwig at bay, so a familiar sight for 2015 saw Ludwig leading the way. After a brief loss of pace that saw John Schauerman get a glimpse of P2, Jastremski pulled up his socks and charged again closing in on Ludwig, but no real serious challenge was able to be mounted and Peter Ludwig claimed another laureled Pirelli hat for his trouble, securing the 2015 championship in the finest style there is with a win.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
105 - Peter LudwigN/A
215 - John jastremski1:57.643
319 - John Schauerman2:10.588
406 - Gus Doppes2:09.174
504 - Alex Coigny2:17.721
622 - Joe Gardner2:18.616
713 - Quentin Wahl2:06.438
818 - Brian Frank2:02.540

 

Race 14 – Sonoma Raceway (November 10, 2015)

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The rain was gone, the sun was shining and the track was dry. So all was good for the racers as they got ready to finish off the 2015 Sears Point Summer Series.

 

Qualifying

With a more consistent track, the grid was tighter than the rain soaked Race 13 qualifying, but the result at the front was similar as John Jastremski claimed a 2 for 2 with another pole position, this time though by just 3/10th s as he saw off fellow front row starter, Hammer Nutrition’s Brank Frank. On row 2 came Jim McGuire making one of his best runs of the year, (could it be that new James Hunt livered helmet we ask?) alongside John Schauerman with the welcome return of Steve Campbell and Alex Coigny filling row 3.

 

Race 14

Once again Jastremski was not timid at the drop of the green and shot out of a cannon again to firmly secure the lead from Brian Frank. Quickly the drivers paired off as Jastremski-Frank, McGuire-Schauerman & Campbell-Coigny fought each other hard over the opening laps. Frank really applying the pressure to Jastremski into turn 11 as he forced JJ to drive in protection mode with Brian swinging wide lap after lap to try and get the up and under on exit. Jastremski however drove hard, but fair, to not give Frank the room to make that happen. Lap 4 also saw Schauerman getting feisty as he tried to get McGuire to make a mistake, but Jim was not having any of it this day. Lap 5 saw a scary accident as Marissa Hayes seemed to get just enough tire on the still damp curb to lose control and spear into the right side wall at the exit of turn 10, then caroming back across the track and into the outside wall as well. The FIA safety standards of the Lola F3’s really did their job as she was able to walk away with just some bruising on her leg. Not much was left untouched on the car, so a real testament to the carbon tub and advanced standards these modern cars have. Needless to say the race was stopped and a lengthy delay led to a now familiar theme to the weekend of a sprint to the finish, and quite a finish it was! Two big battles made for an exciting run to the checker with Jastremski & Frank up front and the 3-way bout for 5th with Coigny, Campbell & Doppes. With just 2 laps to go, Frank finally was able to find room and muscled his way to the inside on the exit of 11 only for Jastremski to power out with more speed and get alongside past start finish and up the hill to turn 2. Side-by-side they ran, but Frank held tough and was able to gather just enough speed to get ahead before they got to the turn 3, 3a section (not a place to go side by side). With held breath released, it was now time to look back to 5th as Coigny, Campbell & Doppes ran 3 wide heading out of 6 and down to one of the best passing areas on the track , Turn 7 (using what they call the bootleg version this weekend). 3 went in but only 2 came out as Coigny tried to hold on but ended up losing it allowing Campbell & Doppes through to finish in that order.

So Frank notched up another win by just a second over Jastremski while the battle for 3rd now raged to the finish line with Jim McGuire earning 3rd spot by a scant ½ second from John Schauerman, followed by Campbell, Doppes, Gardner and the recovering Coigny to 8th.

 

Results

Finishing Position Driver Qualifying Lap Time
114 - Brian Frank1:37.293
205 - John Jastremski1:37.001
320 - Jim McGuire1:38.252
419 - John Schauerman1:38.643
509 - Steve Campbell1:39.749
606 - Gus Doppes1:40.802
722 - Joe Gardner1:40.965
804 - Alex Coigny1:40.026
918 - MJ Hayes1:40.936

Final 2015 Sears Point F3 Summer Series Standings

(best of 10 races)

 

PositionDriverTotal Points
1Peter Ludwig584
2Brian Frank558
3John Schauerman526
4Bill Shields471
5John Jastremski467
6Roy Block447
7Gus Doppes428
8MJ Hayes395
9Joe Gardner371
10Anatoly Pogorelov343
10Jim Garrett309
12Jim McGuire308
13Chase Murray223
14Alex Coigny215
15Steve Campbell163
16Mark Nason129
17Mark Schiller125
18Quentin Wahl124
19Doug Tuttle100
20Matteo Franceschetti87
21Ross Jaffe83
22Matt Keegan82
23Walter Kuhn81
24Arno Harris79
25John Adams78
26Howard Sklar77
27 (Tied)Jeff Huber
Roy Strandberg
75
29Bob Irwin41
RaceDateLocationConfiguration
Race 1April 18thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline
Race 2April 19thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline
Race 3May 30thLaguna Seca ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline
Race 4May 31stLaguna Seca ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline
Race 5June 13thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma-Chute
Race 6June 14thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma-Chute
Race 7August 22ndSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaIndy2012
Race 8

August 23rdSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaIndy2012
Race 9

September 17thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaIndy2012
Race 10
September 18thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaIndy2012
Race 11October 10thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaClassic
Race 12October 11thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonomaClassic
Race 13November 9thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline
Race 14November 10thSonomaRaceway ResizedSonoma_long2_web_tracksOutline