Beasley Leads F2000 Field into Pittsburgh
Salem, NH – Off five straight wins, Sam Beasley comes charging into the new 2.8-mile, 18-turn Pittsburgh International Race Complex for rounds nine and 10 of the F2000 Championship Series season looking to further extend his points lead. The Series is coming off two strong weekends at VIR and Mid-Ohio, with no lack of drama at the front of the field.
Beasley’s story of five consecutive wins has not been one of boring races – he drove from last to first in Virginia, and survived a number of incidents at Mid-Ohio among the lead pack. Smart but aggressive driving has made it his Championship to lose with six races left.
Perhaps most scary for the rest of the field is the fact that Beasley and his Legacy Autosport team swept both races at Pittsburgh last year on the shorter 1.2 mile course, which is incorporated into the track’s new configuration.
Following Beasley’s Championship lead are two more American hopefuls, Austin McCusker and Eric Filgueiras, who sit second and third, respectively, in the standings and are separated by just six points. Both drivers have weaved their way to podiums throughout the season, but continue to seek their first F2000 victories.
One more American is coming off his best finish and first laps led of the season, as Trent Walko scored a second place at Mid-Ohio. Walko is from the Pittsburgh area, and has marked top five finishes in the last four races, and is basically a product of the Pittsburgh venue, growing up karting there.
Mid-Ohio dealt perhaps the biggest blow to David Grant, who was enjoying a one-win consistent season, stalking Beasley in most races. A Thursday night testing crash sidelined him for the weekend, but Grant is expected to be back in strong form in the No. 29 Polestar entry.
Steve Bamford has been at the top of the Masters Class field for 2015 thus far, and fourth in points on a single victory. An uncharacteristic weekend at Mid-Ohio hurt Bamford, with the veteran collecting just 21 points in two races.
It was all or nothing for Sam Chastain at Mid-Ohio. After two years of strong performances in the F1600 Series, Chastain fought for a podium and his first F2000 trophy with a third place drive in race one. On Sunday, a better starting position gave Chastain a look at the race lead at the start, with his day ending in turn one after contact with John LaRue.
Another driver looking for another trophy to add to his collection is Quinlan Lall. The 15-year-old wheeled his Momentum Motorsports entry to fourth on Sunday at Mid-Ohio, just three days after being on the other end of the Thursday evening incident also involving Grant, leaving his car in pieces.
What looks to be a very exciting track will deliver some of the most track time of the season to the F2000 paddock, with lengthy testing sessions on Thursday followed by Friday’s dual official free practice sessions. Saturday and Sunday unfold with morning qualifying sessions and afternoon races.