Bamford Wins Season Opener
Braselton, GA - Steve Bamford passed John McCusker for the lead, and then battled with him and Brandon Dixon for a number of laps before separating to take his second career F2000 Championship Series victory, with this win coming in an exciting season opener at Road Atlanta. Dixon would go on to finish second followed by McCusker in third.
"It was enjoyable," said Bamford, who started seventh in the No. 07 Rice Race Prep entry. "I need to thank the team, we had a broken differential after qualifying. I wasn't sure we were going to make the race. I was sitting in the car when they were putting the side pods on. We made it to grid at the three minute warning."
Dixon said: "It's the first time we are on the overall podium, we are really making progress. This car is a ton better than it was last year."
The race saw a number of key developments among what turned into a tussle among McCusker's Van Diemen and the Citations of Bamford and Dixon and a heavy battle for the race lead among the three drivers. David Grant was a spectator from fourth place for the majority of the race, briefly challenging McCusker.
With the green flag out at the start, McCusker got the jump on Dixon from the outside of the front row, taking the lead with Dixon falling back to fourth behind Grant's Polestar Spectrum and Beasley's Legacy Autosport Mygale.
"We got a great start and got the lead," said McCusker. "The car developed a push and the track got greasy, I had to tone it down a bit."
That lead lasted three laps as 2015 F2000 Series Champion Beasley found his way to the lead, but McCusker wasn't surrendering as the two drivers battled. Beasley, however, would pit soon after and eventually retired to the paddock with a suspected mechanical issue.
That left McCusker with a narrow lead on Bamford, who closed on him along with Dixon, as a three-car battle started and progressed for a number of laps with just a few tenths over the trio that was running wheel-to-wheel at the high-speed Road Atlanta.
With six laps to go Bamford was able to pull out a safe gap, aided by Dixon's continuing attack on McCusker for second place. As those two completed the podium, Grant finished fourth as multiple-time National Champion Dave Weitzenhof rounded out the top five, explaining that the car had more potential in it once he works out some over-steer issues.
Full results from all sessions are available on www.F1600Series.com, www.F2000Series.com, and www.AtlanticChampionshipSeries.com.