Championship Battle Hot as Series Heads to Summit
New York, NY – With just four races remaining, the battle for the 2009 F2000 championship is as close as it gets, as an action-packed eight races have produced varying results among a huge field. Three-time race winner Chris Miller retains the points lead for JDC MotorSports heading into the weekend after a rough second race at Watkins Glen. Canada’s Remy Audette is a single point behind Miller with another 18 points back to St. Clair’s Matthew Inge. All three have a realistic shot at winning the title going into this weekend's double race event at Summit Point in West Virginia
"Our expectations for Summit Point are to be in contention for the win and hopefully finish on the podium both days,” said Chris Miller. “At this point our lead in the points should be larger but certain things have gone against us and this has only made me more focused and determined. I feel like JDC has given me the best car all year and I am confident we can come away from Summit Point with some good results."
Chris Miller dominated the first race at Watkins Glen just two short weeks ago, taking pole and controlling the pace, adding another two bonus points for fast lap on the way to the victory. A second lap collision between Matthew Inge and Remy Audette put Inge laps down; while Audette held on to eventually finish third, missing most of his front wing due to more contact on the last lap.
Two days later, Inge would answer back, lowering Miller’s track record during qualifying, taking the first pole of his F2000 career. A crazy race produced a surprise winner in Phil Lombardi while contact left Chris Miller with a cut left-rear Hoosier. Miller went on to finish 12th but Inge gained valuable points back with a second place effort.
“Last weekend was tough on the team and our position in the championship,” said Inge, who had the championship lead going into Watkins Glen, and now, sits third. “The main thing we learned is that we have to be out front at the start of the race, being a couple spots back hurt us. At Summit we have to finish ahead of the other guys in contention for the title.”
Audette remained consistent, bringing the #21 Audette Racing Van Diemen home in fourth. While Audette only has one win on the season, coming at Lime Rock, he has taken numerous poles, kept himself out of trouble and has yet to finish outside the top four.
Per F2000 rules, the lowest two results are thrown out on the final points calculation for each competitor. With that rule taken into effect currently, with a third of the season still left to run, Chris Miller boasts a 16 point lead over Matthew Inge in the standings, with another 17 points back to Remy Audette.
A number of drivers can easily play spoiler to Miller, Audette and Inge. American rookie Benjamin Searcy has won two races this year and proved to the field at VIR he is the “rainmaster” of F2000 and then at Lime Rock he simply drove away from everyone in the dry. Fabio Orsolon has been picking up speed all year, seeing two podium finishes at Mosport, and when electrical problems during qualifying at Watkins Glen prevented him from posting a time, he drove his Alegra Motorsports Van Diemen from 31st to seventh in the race. Jonathan Scarallo has been super quick in qualifying all year for Group A Racing but hasn’t seen luck go his way during races.
Tom Fatur retains the Masters Class points lead after a rough weekend at Watkins Glen as contact early in the second race ended his run, while veterans Craig Clawson and Robert Wright are breathing down his neck in the Masters Class championship.
“I was hoping to come away with a lot of points from the Glen but unfortunately the weekend ended poorly. The good news for me is that I still have the lead in the Masters Class and we are heading to the track where a won my first SCCA national event,” commented Fatur.
Fatur will have his hands full as 2008 Masters Class champion Tim Minor makes his first appearance since finishing fourth at VIR.
Minor said: “I have had many years of track time at Summit with multiple wins, including taking the MARS Championship in 1991 and did my first drivers school there in 1988, I think we’ll be up front.”
Alegra Motorsports was busy during the short break between Watkins Glen and Summit Point. Victor Carbone ran the SCCA National at Watkins Glen, becoming the youngest driver ever to compete on the historic road course, finishing second in class. An agreement between the IRL and the track, due to tobacco sponsorship, prevented him from running the F2000 weekend but thanks to a court injunction, was able to participate in the SCCA National. Carbone had his share of media attention with a huge feature story in the Star Gazette, titled, “Teenager finally will race at Glen”.
Summit Point gets underway with twilight testing on Thursday, followed by opening practice sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday both feature qualifying sessions and a 30-minute race. F2000 is the headline event of an all open-wheel weekend at Summit Point.