Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the opening rounds of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda as part of its Grand Prix of Miami weekend. With the Hanford device in use on the Formula Skip Barber racecars, the racing was going to be close on the 2.21-road course that combines a tight infield with half of the oval track. The first race was won by .018sec; the second was even closer.Round 1
Qualifying was a classic example of youth and exuberance defeating old age and treachery as 16-year-old MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver Spencer Pigot bested the sophomore trio of 19-year-old Isaac Lyons, 18-year-old Dennis Trebing and 18-year-old Ashley Freiberg with a 1:30.670sec lap to secure his first Skip Barber National pole.
At the start, the top four qualifiers were joined by Luis Michael Dorrbecker and Felix Serralles to make a six-car drafting pack. Like a NASCAR restrictor plate race, of the countless passes and re-passes for the lead, only the 11 that were recorded at the start/finish line during the 13-lap sprint were captured. Trebing and Pigot swapped the lead for the early part of the race before Serralles took his turn at point. Dorrbecker and Lyons also took their turns at the top as the draft allowed the drivers in the lead pack to circulate from the front to the back and back to the front of the train. Late in the race the lead pack was going five-wide on the approach to Turn 1, each driver trying to set up the other for the run through the infield in order to take advantage of the long period at full throttle once they exited Turn 8 onto the speedway.
The only incident of the race affected the podium and may have longer term ramifications on the points. Felix Serralles set up and passed Luis Michael Dörrbecker going into Turn 1 on lap 14. Dorrbecker stuck his nose in going into Turn 2, and while Serralles left some room on the inside, Dorrbecker thought better of it before trying the same late move in Turn 3. This time, however, Serralles wasn't as generous with the space, they locked wheels, with Dorrbecker's car going up and over the back of Serralles'. Neither driver was injured in the incident, with Serralles driving his damaged car back to the pits and Dorrbecker returning to the paddock after a precautionary visit to the infield medical center.
The incident brought out the checkered flag a lap earlier than anticipated during the time-certain event, and, by Skip Barber Race Series rules, timing and scoring reverted to the last green flag lap for the finishing order. Leading the 13th lap was Dennis Trebing, the second-year driver picking up his first career BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda win. Isaac Lyons came in second with MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver being credited with third.
Freiberg got her second National season off to a strong start with a fourth ahead of rookies Nick Andries, Nicolas Costa and Scott Anderson. Dorrbecker, originally credited with third, was along with Felix Serralles assessed a penalty for the avoidable contact that ended the race early, was credited with eighth ahead of Daniel Lloyd while Kevin Tittle brought his car home in 10th.Round 2
(Relative) old age and treachery had its revenge in qualifying for Round 2 with Race 1 winner Dennis Trebing beating MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver Felix Serralles for pole with a 1:30.632sec lap. At the drop of the green flag, Trebing got the jump, leading into Turn 1.
What ensued was a classic example of the drafting that the Formula Skip Barber racecar is capable of, with the top eight never separated by more than a few tenths of a second. Spencer Pigot led first before surrendering the lead to Nick Andries. Pigot picked up the lead again on lap 7, then Andries a lap later...you get the picture.
Lap after lap, the leader coming out of Turn 8 would be swallowed by the field going through NASCAR 3 and 4. Popping and flaring, the field would come to the stripe each lap five or six wide. With 11 lead changes at the stripe alone over 16 laps. The closeness of the lead pack allowed Danilo Estrela to come from his 14th starting position to the lead on lap 12 before surrendering it himself to Andries.
Estrela reclaimed the lead at the white flag, but misjudged his braking going into the critical Turn 8, dropping him from the lead as the pack screamed onto the superspeedway. Coming out of NASCAR 4 for the final time, the pack once again flared, going five wide across the stripe with Spencer Pigot picking up his first Skip Barber National victory by the slightest of margins –.013sec over Nick Andries, with an out-of-nowhere Nicolas Costa, who was seventh at the start of the last lap, .037sec back of the leader. Danilo Estrela recovered from his braking error on the last lap to grab fourth ahead of Isaac Lyons and Felix Serralles. Ashley Freiberg brought her car home in seventh ahead of pole sitter Dennis Trebing and Mukul Sud while Danny Lloyd rounded out the top 10. The top five in Round 2 was only .078 sec back and the top eight was covered by less than three tenths.