F2000 Set for Inaugural Thompson Visit
Salem, NH – Rounds 11 and 12 of 14 for the F2000 Championship Series at the recently re-opened Thompson Speedway road course this weekend could prove to be the environment Tim Minor needs to lock up the 2014 title. The defending Champion enjoys a healthy points lead over Skylar Robinson, Thomas McGregor and Sam Beasley, and a solid two-race performance could clinch the Championship prior to Watkins Glen in October.
By his own account, Pittsburgh was a points weekend, according to Minor, who was uncharacteristically not at the front of the field and saw his worst qualifying performance in nearly two full F2000 seasons. The No. 88 Ski Motorsports team chased car issues, while the smart Masters Class veteran brought the car home safely in both races.
Minor last failed to finish a race at Summit Point – all the way back in 2012 – making him the most consistent driver in the field.
The Pittsburgh race event in early August saw the emergence of Sam Beasley, who swept the weekend in the No. 44 Polestar Van Diemen, taking his first two victories in F2000. The 20-year-old was fast on Pittsburgh’s short tricky track, and Thompson offers more of the same.
Skylar Robinson hasn’t found the top step of the podium since round one in April at Road Atlanta. The No. 6 qualified on pole at Pittsburgh in the rain, but Robinson’s rookie learning curve saw him lose the lead on the start, salvaging a pair of second place trophies. Robinson sits second in the points, and will need to have a monstrous points scoring weekend at Thompson, combined with Minor seeing some issues, to take the fight to the October season finale.
The points gap between Minor and Robinson is 97, with the 110 total points up for grabs at Thompson.
After a duel in Pittsburgh, the Spectrums of David Grant (Polestar) and Thomas McGregor (Exclusive Autosport) both continue their respective chassis development programs. While Grant still seeks his first F2000 victory, and is the 2012 Atlantic champion, McGregor cruised to a victory at VIR in June and hopes to get back on the top step of the podium in Connecticut.
Thompson Speedway’s road course was re-opened for 2014, and Labor Day weekend will mark its first pro race. The road course had sat unused for decades while the track operated a successful oval operation, and now looks to expand to new markets with its road course – which runs briefly onto the apron of the oval facility.
Allowing drivers and teams plenty of time to learn the track, F2000 – along with the F1600 and Atlantic Championships, will offer a full program test-day on Thursday, August 28. Friday will see F2000 get two 30-minute practice sessions before Saturday morning qualifying and an afternoon race (round 11). Sunday’s schedule calls for required morning quiet time, with both qualifying and a race in the afternoon.