The heat was on at Barber Motorsports Park during Round 2 of the Blue Marble Cocktails Radical Cup North America Series and it wasn’t just the humid Southern weather. The competition was fierce in all three classes, as was the racing between the front runners for the outright win. Antoine Comeau continued to be in a class of his own, winning all three races in the 1500 class. Dan McBreen also scored a hat-trick to dominate the 1340 class, while two wins for Will Lin helped move him to the top of the Masters class points table.
Twenty-one cars took to the grid for Races 4, 5 and 6 of the single-make championship which provided a popular modern twist to the HSR Barber Historics event, which featured a range of machinery including vintage Formula Juniors and classic GT cars.
In his maiden event for 2019, Dan McBreen (Splunk / WISKO Racing) immediately made an impact by out qualifying the 1340 class series regulars, as well as a significant portion of the 1500 field. He then became the fourth different winner in the 1340 class, taking victory from Eric Wagner (Eastern / Turn 3 Motorsports) and Chris Souliotis (WISKO Racing).
McBreen backed up his morning win with another convincing victory on Saturday afternoon, with Wagner and Souliotis replicating the result. However, Wagner and Souliotis had out qualified McBreen for the final race of the weekend, and initially it looked as though Souliotis would come out on top until a run through the gravel trap at the hairpin curtailed those plans. And after the mandatory pitstop window had closed it was again McBreen in command of the 1340 class from Wagner and Souliotis.
While not taking any wins, Wagner’s consistency was rewarded. His three second place finishes moved him into the lead of the 1340 class championship (215), ten points clear of Souliotis (205).
Meanwhile Antoine Comeau (Eastern / Turn 3 Motorsports) continued to expand his points lead in the 1500 class and increased his winning streak to six. Comeau wasn’t without challenge though, with Jordan Missig drawing first blood in what was an abbreviated qualifying session after Gerhard Watzinger (CrowdStrike / One Motorsport) made heavy contact with the wall through Turn 13 and Louis Schriber (Shorewood Development Group / Team Stradale) spun coming down the corkscrew on the approach to the Museum corner.
Impressively Watzinger’s One Motorsports team repaired his car in time for him to start the first race. From rear of the grid, Watzinger impressively carved his way up to eleventh outright and eight in class. In his first appearance for the year Todd Snyder (Aesthetic Dental Designs / One Motorsport) also impressed, moving from eleventh to seventh outright and finished fifth in class.
At the front of the 1500 field, Jordan Missig (Team Stradale) fended off Antoine Comeau until they reached the hairpin for the second time, which also allowed Gustavo Rafols (WISKO Racing) to pounce. Missig then had a spin in the first sector, which allowed reigning champion Indy Al Miller (Blue Marble Cocktails / One Motorsport) to commence his advance through the field, which culminated in dispatching Rafols on Lap 11. Missig then clawed his way back into contention and salvaged his race by taking the remaining podium position away from Rafols five laps from the checkered flag. Both men benefitted from the late race yellow to recover a stricken Richard Durocher (WISKO Racing). Indicating just how competitive the 1500 class is this year, reigning 1340 champion Louis Schriber and 1500 championship runner-up Greg Gorski (smokebuddy / One Motorsport) could only manage sixth and seventh respectively.
Like in Race 1, Comeau gapped 1500 field and concentrated on dicing with Will Lin for the outright lead. The to-and-fro battle concluded with Lin cracking with just two corners to go, allowing Comeau to not only clinch his fifth straight win in the series, but overall victory as well.
Behind him, Schriber made an exciting pass on Gorski for seventh as the pair dispatched Dan Schildgen (Moorespeed), while trying to catch sixth placed Snyder. Watzinger progressed through the field, gaining two places to finish fifth in class, while Miller recovered from an opening lap mishap which dropped him to twelfth overall to finish fourth in class. Rafols held down third the entire race, while Missig ran strong in second.
In his advance, Indy Al Miller set down a time good enough to be second fastest in class, and fourth on the grid for the final race. Impressively Todd Snyder also outqualified young-guns Rafols and Missig.
Miller tailed Comeau for the opening laps, with Rafols also in pursuit after a stellar start. Then after a brief full course caution chaos ensued on Laps 4 and 5 chaos. Schriber was involved in an incident in the second to last corner with Terry Olson and Jim Booth, and then going through Turn 2 Indy Al Miller was sent into a spin after being accidently tagged by Judd Miller. While most of the drivers managed to avoid Miller including Watzinger who somehow skated by on the grass, Missig wasn’t so lucky and slammed into the front of the #500 Blue Marble machine. Amazingly, even with significant crash damage, both drivers continued.
With the class order now Comeau, Rafols and Watzinger the pit window opened. Unlike VIR, none of the drivers were caught short in their mandatory pitstops. And with those stops complete, Comeau was now also in the outright lead, and he took the checker from Rafols and Gerhard Watzinger, whose podium place was a welcome reward after his qualifying crash. Schriber came home in fourth, with Snyder in fifth, while Missig had another ‘comeback kid’ moment, recovering to take sixth.
After six races, Missig (246) is now locked in a three-point battle with Rafols (243) for second place in the 1500 championship, as the pair eye to somehow reign in Comeau’s expansive lead in the points (317).
The top of the Masters class championship table, meanwhile, is now tighter than ever after the Barber event.
Seemingly energized by his Race 3 win at VIR, Will Lin (Cameron Racing / Radical Northwest) made the most of the shortened qualifying session to put his SR8 on pole. He then led every lap of the first race at Barber, fending off the hard-charging 1500 of Antoine Comeau. Jim Booth (McDonald’s / WISKO Racing) initially looked set for second, but a gremlin in the fuel pump saw him tumble down to third and allowed Judd Miller (Miller Time Racing / Moorespeed) to capitalize. Terry Olson finished fourth, and series debutant Conrad Park rounded out the top five in class.
With five 1500s separating Booth from Lin and Miller on Saturday afternoon’s grid, Booth was clearly focused on making the best start possible, but he blew it by jumping the start and having to relinquish the places he’d made up. Driving flawlessly lap after lap Lin for the longest time looked as though he’d go two for two. That was until he come unstuck on the second to last corner while being pressured by Comeau, who had decided he wanted the outright win. Stuck in the gravel, Lin had not only lost the overall lead, but more critically the Masters class win, which went to a surprised Judd Miller. Terry Olson and Jim Booth completed the podium, while Lin was classified fourth, and Scott Wagner (WISKO Racing) finished fifth.
Lin again started from pole in Race 3, and therefore was ahead of the lap 3 and 4 melees, which ended Jim Booth’s race and relegated Terry Olson to third place. Judd Miller survived the contact with Indy Al Miller’s 1500 to finish second in class, while this time Will Lin decided discretion indeed was the better part of valor and relinquished the outright lead to Antoine Comeau to ensure he secured his second Masters class win of the weekend.
Lin’s win and Booth’s demise in Race 6 put the pair on equal championship points, but Lin’s bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race has put him into the lead of the Masters class championship by the smallest of margins (239 to Booth’s 238). And now only ten points behind, Miller (228) and Olson (228) sit tied, but well in striking distance.
The Barber event also featured plenty of off-track action, with drivers, friends and family enjoying catered breakfast and lunch in the Blue Marble hospitality tent, a private guided tour of the amazing Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, a Saturday night Blue Marble cocktail party as well as group dinners at local restaurants.
The series now gears up to star alongside the NTT IndyCar Series at Road America for the REV Group Grand Prix, June 20-23. The four-day event includes a Promotor Test Day on Thursday and will see the Blue Marble Cocktails Radical Cup series take to Elkhart Lake’s famous circuit more times than IndyCar. Current interest indicates the event could attract the largest group of Radicals to ever assemble in North America. Entries and fuel orders are due May 29.RADICAL CUP NORTH AMERICA