Ferrari completed the first day of racing action Saturday as part of Ferrari Racing Days at Daytona International Speedway. With Coppa Shell categories running in the afternoon hours, and Trofeo Pirelli running into the evening under the lights at the World Center of Racing, the thousands of spectators in attendance delighted in a day full of on-track action and fierce competition.
Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) converted his pole position into his first win of the season. The battle between him and Manny Franco (Ferrari of Westlake) spanned much of the race with Franco spending much of the first half working to pass his fellow Trofeo Pirelli competitor but Clarke defending successfully. The Daytona circuit’s slow corners offered plenty of opportunity but Clarke masterfully protected the inside line successfully. That is until Franco had too much speed coming into the first corner and was able to push Clarke into braking too deep and running wide.
Franco successfully executed the undercut from there and proceeded to build a gap until the race was also disrupted by a safety car period. Upon the restart, it seemed clear that Franco would be able to secure the win, but Clarke stayed close and Franco eventually made a mistake on the final lap, spinning in turn 6 and letting Clarke through. Franco recovered but fell off the podium allowing Matt Kurzejewski (Ferrari of Westlake) to take second and Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) to round out the top three. In the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island) led the way, besting pole-sitter Samantha Tan (Ferrari of Tampa Bay) to his first win of the season. Tan barely held off the hard charging Benoit Bergeron (Ferrari of Quebec) and the two finished with only seven-hundredths of a second separating them.
Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) took his first win in Ferrari Challenge competition after a tremendous battle with polesitter Brian Kaminskey (Ferrari of Long Island). A late race caution period set the stage for the scrap as Kaminskey seemed to always have the pace in-hand when it mattered most in the earlier stages of the race. After getting off clean, Petramalo made his move on the final lap in the second horseshoe corner. By the time the two cars crossed the checkered flag, only two tenths of a second separated them. Nevertheless, the result was great for Kaminskey’s championship ambitions as he gained on this two nearest competitors.
Kirk Baerwaldt (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) took the final step on the podium, just beating out Brent Holden (Ferrari of Newport Beach) by 0.2s. In the Coppa Shell Am category Paul Kiebler (Ferrari of Central New Jersey) took the win and also jumped to the head of the Coppa Shell Am championship as his nearest competitor Todd Johnson (Ferrari of Rancho Mirage) finished well down the order. He was joined on the podium by Dan Cornish (Ferrari of Austin) and Anthony Davis (Continental Autosport) who were also locked in a tight battle, finishing with only two tenths of a second between the two, but an incident under yellow earned Davis a penalty and promoted Lisa Clark to the final step.
The drivers of the Ferrari Challenge series will be back bright and early Sunday with qualifying beginning at 9:35 a.m. (all times ET) and continuing through to 10:35. Racing action will resume with the Trofeo Pirelli category at 1:00 p.m. and concluding with Coppa Shell which will receive its checkered flag at 2:15. The XX Program will also be on track for the final time tomorrow with one 25-minute session beginning at 9:05 a.m. and a second to round out the day at 11:30 a.m. Live streams for each of these on-track sessions can be found at live.ferrari.com.