Ferrari Challenge drivers reveled in their return to the famed Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the first day of racing action taking place under a typically beautiful and hot July day in Indianapolis.
After taking advantage of practice sessions throughout the day on Friday, Saturday was for qualifying and racing as drivers turned their first laps in competition for the weekend. The Indianapolis circuit is now well known to most drivers of the series, having been on the calendar for the previous two seasons, but nevertheless the technical and tire-abusing nature of the circuit certainly offers a unique challenge.
Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) made the winning move early in the Trofeo Pirelli, cutting past pole-sitter Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) before driving away from the field, winning by just over six-seconds by the checkered flag.
In a highly entertaining race, drivers throughout the Trofeo Pirelli and Trofeo Pirelli AM category made strong but clean passes on each other as some drivers proved more able than others to manage the Pirelli tires to give pace throughout the 30-minute contest.
The biggest victim of the tire degradation turned out to be pole-sitter Clarke, who saw his tire degradation leave him susceptible to those behind. Ultimately he would go on to finish third, two seconds behind Massimo Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) who claimed second.
In the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) took an important win for his championship aspirations, leading the rest of the category by over 11 seconds by the end of the race.
The head of the Trofeo Pirelli AM category was the crux of the action for much of the race as drivers looked to assert themselves in what has turned out to be a very competitive category this season. While Coleman took the win, it was championship leader Dave Musial Jr. (Ferrari of Lake Forest) who took the second spot while Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island) rounded out the top three.
After an intense opening sequence that saw numerous battles for position up and down the 33-car field, Charles Whittall (Ferrari of Central Florida) ultimately took the victory, surging from third on the grid and leading home pole-sitter Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) and Justin Rothberg (Ferrari of Palm Beach) who finished second and third respectively.
After a clean, but competitive start, the race looked to be settling down slightly as the clock ticked off eight minutes before second-place runner Kirk Baerwaldt (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) was tipped unceremoniously into a spin at the entry to turn four, beaching the car and bringing out the first safety car period.
After a few minutes under caution while the car was rescued, the field resumed green-flag running, but for only just a few minutes as accidents throughout the field brought out the safety car once more which unfortunately would continue to lead the field until the end of the 30-munute contest.
In the Coppa Shell AM category, Frank Szczesniak (Ferrari of Tampa Bay) led home the category with Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) and Rey Acosta (The Collection) rounding out the podium in second and third respectively.