Bamford Completes Weekend Sweep at VIR
Alton, VA - It was his third win in a row and second weekend sweep of 2016 as Steve Bamford took the lead from the outside of the front row at the drop of the green, delivering the victory with a show of pace in round eight of the 2016 F2000 Championship Series season at VIR. From pole, John LaRue finished second in the No. 17 car for the second straight day and Brandon Dixon completed the podium, making it a trio of Citation chassis powered by Ford Zetec engines.
With the sun poking out ahead of predicted heavy rain showers, the race start time was moved up by one hour to account for incoming weather, and the 15-lap event unfolded quite differently than Saturday, with Bamford's No. 07 from Rice Race Prep building a lead over LaRue in the early stages of the race. A day prior, LaRue spent the better part of 15 laps four tenths of a second from Bamford's rear wing before a wish-bone failure.
This time, LaRue closed in at the half-way point of the race from 1.5 seconds back, slowly reeling in Bamford with a Series of fast laps. But similar to Saturday, LaRue pushed Bamford's pace but could not find a way past, finishing second as the two leaders traded best laps at the very end of the all-green-flag race with a margin of victory reported at .445 seconds.
"John is a tough racer as I said yesterday. He kept coming and I was able to keep a little gap but it was getting closer than I wanted," said Bamford, who continues to build a solid Championship lead in pursuit of the 2016 title, and has been the best F2000 driver in the country recently. "The last lap I was trying to hit all my apexes and not mess up."
LaRue will look to take the top step of the podium in three weeks time when the Series visits Mid-Ohio, a home track for him, and a place where he won in F2000 in 2014 and has dominated past Series weekends at the road course.
"We had a bit of a bobble on the start and it put us down enough," said LaRue. "No complaints here, it was a nice weekend."
Finishing third for the second straight day, Brandon Dixon marked a nice come back weekend after mechanical problems sidelined the No. 5 at Watkins Glen in May.
"We're still fighting some kind of engine issue, the oil pressure was getting lower than I wanted so I shut it off (coming to the checkered)," said Dixon.
After a DNF result on Saturday, Dave Weitzenhof looked like he was set for a rebound with a fourth place run, but was forced to pit road with an issue with two laps remaining. That promoted Bob Reid to his second straight fourth place result for the R-Sport team.
Full results are available on www.F1600Series.com, www.F2000Series.com, and www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.
Formula Race Promotions next resumes from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 1-3.