MILLVILLE, N.J. — Andy Ourant stretched his lead in the Bertil Roos Race Series point standings with a pair of strong performances in races No. 9 and No. 10 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning course.
Ourant qualified for the Group 2 pole and led flag-to-flag in the first race of the weekend. He followed it up with a runner-up finish to Chris Sanford in race No. 2.
Other weekend winners were Rich White in the first race for Group 1 and Tim Nichols in the second Group 1 race.
Ourant let it be known he meant business during Group 2 qualifying with his lap of 1:19.72 nearly a second faster than the time posted by next quickest Jason Auwarter. Ourant pulled ahead on the first lap and never looked back for his series-best fifth win of the season.
The race behind him was fast and furious, highlighted by the hard charge by Sanford from a seventh-place starting spot. By lap 3, Sanford had moved up to the fourth spot and he passed Gabe Jasper for third place on lap 4. Just two laps later, Sanford moved into the runner-up spot over Auwarter. Sanford kept pressing the issue before retiring on lap 14 with a full-course yellow to remove the car.
Jasper finished second, followed by Ira Nesbitt, Auwarter and Geoff Valentino.
Race No. 2 had the similar markings with Ourant again jumping out to the early lead. Sanford again made a hard charge, up to fifth on the second lap.
Sanford passed Jasper for fourth on lap 4, and then picked up two positions to move into the runner-up spot on lap 5. Only this time, he was able to run down Ourant and make a winning pass on lap 12.
They would finish that way with Sanford first, followed by Ourant. Nesbitt was credited with another third-place run, while Earl Ihrie and Jasper rounded out the top five.
In Group 1, Nichols paced qualifying and he pulled out to an early lead over Adam Colombo in Race No. 1. But, the veteran driver went off course on lap 5, falling all the way back to eighth as Colombo grabbed the lead.
White was patiently waiting for his time to strike, which he did by grabbing the lead on lap 8.
Colombo held on to second place, while Seth Foley improved two positions from his qualifying spot to finish third. Carlos Foxworthy and Vinnie Virga rounded out the top-five, while Nichols ended up sixth.
Nichols grabbed the lead on the opening lap again in Race No. 2 and this time, the winningest driver in series history, stayed on course for his 53rd career win. It gave Nichols wins in races on both NJMP’s Thunderbolt and Lightning courses this season.
Colombo ran second most of the way before a late spin pushed him back to fifth. White made the move to the runner-up spot, while Foxworthy emerged third after a spirited battle with Foley, which saw the two drivers exchange the position three times.
With his five wins this season, Ourant has opened up a 204-164 lead over Sanford in the championship standings. Colombo is third, two points behind Sanford.
The Bertil Roos Race Series takes a brief hiatus before a return to action on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Pocono Raceway’s North Track.
Photos: Mike Woeller of WindShadow Studios