Strong Weekend for Estrela, Canache Leads MX5 PointsThe 2011-2012 Skip Barber presents the Mazda Winter Series Formula Skip Barber and MAZDASPEED Challenge season is halfway over, following the conclusion of Rounds 5 & 6 last week at Homestead Miami Speedway. MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver Danilo Estrela took home the most wins of the weekend, winning both races for Group 3. Master Greg Strelzoff and Rookie Nicholas Latifi each took home their first Skip Barber Racing School wins on the 2.21 mile road course. In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge, Grand Masters Steve Randall, Maurizio Scala and Master Nelson Canache battled all weekend long, with Randall and Scala each earning a race win. Estrela jumps to the championship points lead in the Formula Series and Nelson Canache and Steve Randall are tied for first in the MAZDASPEED Challenge. The Series next heads to Sebring International Raceway February 17-19, 2012.Group 1 Race 1 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, Formula Skip Barber Rookie Nick Neri led the field to the green flag for the first race of the weekend, but Master Craig Duerson quickly jumped to the front of the pack, leading the first two laps of the event. Skip Barber National alumnus Franco Aragones held onto second position for several laps before taking the lead in lap give. 2011 Skip Barber Racing School Summer Series Champion Tristan Nunez returned for some extra seat time and after starting third, worked his way up to the front to lead two laps, and earned a solid third place finish. Throughout the racer, Duerson and Nunez worked together to gain advantage on track, methodically holding positions and working the draft. Latifi did an excellent job holding off Duerson, leading the final two laps of the event and taking home the win with Duerson in second. Group 1 Race 2 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, Formula Skip Barber After winning the previous day’s race, Nicholas Latifi lead the field to the green flag for the second race of Group 1. Franco Aragones, starting in second, jumped to the front in the first lap, only to have Latifi take back the top position a lap later. Newcomer Leonardo Jafet came up from fifth position to grab the lead in lap three. In lap four, Matt McMurry and Jacob Wilson suffered contact, forcing McMurry to retire with car damage. In lap six, Leonardo Jaftet and Nick Neri also had contact. By lap nine, Jake Eidson had climbed to the lead and held his position with a five car lead. Newcomer Mikey Tayor worked his way up from sixth to challenge for the lead. Ultimately, Master Greg Strelzoff took the lead, followed by Jake Eidson and Grand Master Dr. Mike Edwards.Top Master: Craig DuersonPole Position: Nick NeriFastest Lap: Greg Strelzoff (1:33.595 /85.0055 mph) Most Improved: Greg Strelzoff, 5 positionsLaps Led: Craig Duerson 1-2; Tristan Nunez 3; Duerson 4; Franco Aragones 5; Duerson 6-10, Nicholas Latifi 11; Duerson 12; Nunez 13; Latifi 14-15
Top Master: Greg StrelzoffPole Position: Nicholas LatifiFastest Lap: Danilo Estrela (1:33.563 / 85.034 mph) Most Improved: Dr. Mike Edwards, 11 positionsLaps Led: Franco Aragones 1; Nicholas Latifi 2; Nick Neri 3-4; Latifi 5; Neri 6-7; Jake Eidson 8-10; Greg Strelzoff 11; Eidson 12; Strelzoff 13-15
Group 2 Race 1 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, MAZDASPEED Challenge Grand Master Steve Randall lead the MAZDASPEED Challenge to the green flag for both races of the weekend. In Race 1, he led the first few laps, methodically extending his lead over the rest of the field. Nelson Canache, started second and grabbed the lead in lap three, with S. Randall never far behind. Brad Randall joined the battle and stayed close for the majority of the race. It was not too long before Mauricizo Scala joined the fight, passing B. Randall in lap seven for third position. As the field came to a checker, the top four were running in a tight, four car train. In the final turns, S. Randall got a strong run and took home the win, followed by Nelson Canache and Maurizio Scala. Group 2 Race 2 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, MAZDASPEED Challenge As the green flag waved for Race 2, Steve Randall, Nelson Canache and Maurizio Scala went single file through the first turns, slowly breaking away from the rest of the pack. S. Randall and Nelson Canache raced nose to tail for the entirety of the race, trading the top position back and forth it seemed with every lap. Meanwhile, Bryan Hixon and Miquel Potolicchio were battling for fifth as Hixon tried to hold the position. Canache led as the white flag flew, but Grand Master Maurizio Scala took home win, followed by Brad Randall and Grand Master Steve Randall.
Top Master: Greg StrelzoffPole Position: Nick NeriFastest Lap: Greg Strelzoff (1:33.595 /85.0055 mph) Most Improved: Greg Strelzoff, 5 positionsLaps Led: Danilo Estrela 1-2; Jack Mitchell Jr 3; Estrela 4-6; Mitchell 7; Estrela 8; Mitchell 9; Estrela 10-15
Top Master: Greg StrelzoffPole Position: Danilo EstrelaFastest Lap: Jack Mitchell Jr (1:33.693 / 84.916 mph) Most Improved: Jack Mitchell Jr., 13 positionsLaps Led: Danilo Estrela 1-15
Group 3 Race 1 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, Formula Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver Danilo Estrela started the race from pole position, and led the first two laps until Jack Mitchell Jr, came up from third to challenge for the lead. Mitchell and Estrela battled for the top position for the entirety of the race, until Mitchell and Nick Neri had contact, forcing Mitchell and Neri to do a drive through in pitlane for a safety check. In the same lap, Bobby Eberle and Chuck Whitlock had contact, forcing both to pit as well. Ultimately, Estrela finished in first, Jake Eidson second and Leonardo Jafet in third.Group 3 Race 2 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter Series, Formula Skip Barber Danilo Estrela had a strong start, gaining three car lengths by the second turn. In lap three, Nick Neri’s vehicle lost the rear wing and he was forced to retire early. Jake Eidson started second and stayed in the front, fighting for the lead. Jack Mitchell Jr. methodically worked his way up from 15th to the front group by lap six. At the halfway point, Estrela held a five second lead. Starting third, Leonardo Jafet stayed near the front, maintaining position while putting pressure on the leaders. In the end, Estrela led every lap and finished first, earning his second race win of the season. Jack Mitchell Jr. finished second and Leonardo Jafet third.2011-2012 Top 10 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter SeriesFormula Skip Barber Championship Point Standings (two worst finishes dropped)1. 137 pts Danilo Estrela2. 125 Nick Neri - R3. 124 Jake Eidson4. 123 Jack Mitchell Jr.5. 113 Greg Strelzoff - M6. 110 Dr. Mike Edwards - GM7. 105 Leonardo Jafet - R8. 101 Jose Montiel9. 97 David Libby– GM10. 92 Gus Doppes - GM
2011-2012 Top 10 Skip Barber Presents the Mazda Winter SeriesMAZDASPEED Challenge Championship Point Standings (two worst finishes dropped)1. 127 Nelson Canache - R2. 127 Steve Randall - GM3. 121 Maurizio Scala - GM4. 118 Bryan Hixon5. 107 Brad Randall6. 88 Maria Canizales - R7. 62 Doug Tuttle - GM8. 60 Dr. Mike Edwards - GM9. 58 Kieron O'Rourke - GM10. 56 Greg Strelzoff - M2011-2012 Skip Barber presents the Mazda Winter Series / MAZDASPEED Challenge Winter Remaining ScheduleRounds 7 & 8, February 17-19: Sebring International Raceway, CARounds 9 & 10, March 24-25: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, CARounds 11 & 12, April 13-14: Sebring International Raceway, FL
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