Catching up with Jonathan Scarallo

October 20, 2009

Following his rookie season in F2000 after dominating the Bertil Roos Series, Group A Racing’s Jonathan Scarallo ended up 15th in the final points standings, a far cry from the pace the #22 showed all year. The year started off for Scarallo on dry tires in heavy rain at VIR, ending his race early, as the team battled a sick racecar. Numerous on track incidents ended races early, but Scarallo showed flashes of speed throughout the season that made him a talking point in the F2000 paddock

“Lime Rock and Watkins Glen were the high points of the season,” commented Scarallo. “Lime Rock was good because of the disaster at VIR, the car got rebuilt in just a few weeks and we went to Lime Rock and ran in the top five all weekend, which is where we thought we belonged. It boosted the team’s confidence and mine too.

“Watkins Glen was notable obviously due to the huge event and being there with the Indy Cars, but despite two crashes in the races, we qualified fourth, which was huge.”

Scarallo admits that with the high points, there were some dark clouds over his rookie season: “Some events were definability a bit rough on us. Watkins Glen was tough with the race crashes, but everywhere we went were generally a threat to be in the top five. To be taken out in crashes that were rarely my fault was heartbreaking. The key to moving on is putting it behind you, taking the good from it and thinking about 2010.”

F2000 fans will remember Scarallo’s incident with Matt McDonough at Watkins Glen that ended the race under a red flag. McDonough made contact with Remy Audette, spinning and blocking the track, Scarallo, inches behind, had nowhere to go, ending a strong run in front of a packed house at Watkins Glen.

2010 – A New Plan

“This biggest thing I have to do as a driver next year is to consistently finish races,” Scarallo said. “Even if a crash is not your fault you can avoid it nine times out of ten. I need to start finishing, and then we can think about winning. The team is good enough, I’m good enough, and I’m suddenly going to be a sophomore driver in the series.”

“We’re planning to be back in the series next year with a three or four car team,” said Scarallo, speaking of Group A Racing, which is owned by the Scarallo family.

“We’ve been talking to numerous up and coming drivers, and let me say, the USF1 connection to the series has raised a lot of eyebrows. Everyone we’ve talked to knows about it and is interested in the series, especially due to the budget difference between F2000 and Star Mazda. It makes a lot of sense.

“I think this year we showed we can give someone a great opportunity in the series with a realistic budget. Our two cars were generally in the top ten all year and the series is continuing to provide a great opportunity for drivers to learn and grow.”

Keeping Busy

Since the checkered flag flew on the F2000 Championship Series two months ago at Mid-Ohio, Scarallo had been among the busiest of the contingent of F2000 drivers. He has strapped into Group A Racing’s World Challenge-spec Pontiac GTO and has won two Bertil Roos Races.

“The GTO test a terrific experience,” explained Scarallo. “The different between the two cars was so over exaggerated to me. When I started driving it, it spun the wheels easily, didn’t rotate like an F2000 car, and the braking zones were much longer. But at the end of the day a race car is a race car and you drive it at the limit. Believe it or not, I learned some things that will transfer over to the F2000 cars.”

After dominating the 2008 Bertil Roos Series enroute to a championship, Scarallo returned to the series in September, competing in a double race weekend at Pocono and returning to old form, won both races.

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