The goal for JDC MotorSports entering the 2009 F2000 Championship Series season was to win races and challenge for the title. After the season-opening doubleheader at Virginia International Raceway over the weekend (April 10-11), the Minnesota-based team has already achieved one of those objectives. American Chris Miller recovered from a race-ending incident in Round One to score his inaugural F2000 Championship Series win in Round Two. Alejandro Munoz, in his first-ever race Formula Ford 2000 event, finished 15th and 18th in the doubleheader.
After a lengthy off-season, the JDC MotorSports duo of Miller and Munoz got their first chance to run alongside their fellow F2000 Championship Series competitors on Thursday morning via testing, followed by afternoon practice sessions. For Miller, the three morning sessions proved frustrating, as he battled gearbox problems, not allowing him to show his true pace. Munoz, having only just driven an F2000 car for the first time recently in private testing, as expected utilized the test sessions to become further acclimated to his No. 96 Black Lion Racing/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports Van Diemen RF01/Zetec and the fast VIR road course.
When the cars rolled back on-course after the lunch for the first official sessions of the 2009 season, Miller was behind the wheel of a back-up car due to the problems he had encountered earlier. Despite the set back, the Edina, MN., driver immediately made his mark, turning the second fastest time in the opening practice session, before advancing to P1 in the second session and setting a new lap record. For Munoz, the practice sessions featured continued learning, regularly challenging for a top-20 spot in the deep field.
With Miller piloting the No. 85 Miller Milling/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports Van Diemen RF06/Zetec car, day two commenced in fine style for JDC Motorsports, as the talented American challenged for the Round One pole position, eventually earning an outside front-row starting position. Munoz meanwhile continued to battle with drivers deeper in the field, eventually qualifying 25th for his inaugural series race.
Unfortunately come race time a few hours later, things did not go as planned. In less than ideal wet conditions, Miller initially took the lead before losing some positions in the difficult conditions and later being struck by another competitor while trying to avoid a spinning a car, ending his race prematurely. For the Mexican-born Munoz, the tricky conditions provided another learning experience, in which he performed well, keeping his nose clean for a well-deserved 15th place finish.
Thanks to hard work by the JDC MotorSports crew, when qualifying for Round Two got underway on Saturday morning, Miller was back behind the wheel and ready to challenge for top honors. The second-year driver promptly did just that, taking the pole position via a superb final lap in the session. Munoz ended the session 23rd overall.
While Miller once again did not enjoy the start he desired when Round Two commenced a few hours later, losing a couple positions, the JDC driver remained focused and part of the lead pack. Quickly working his way back up to second place, the American made the most of slower traffic midway through the race to pass for the lead. Once out front, Miller never looked back, scoring both his and JDC MotorSports first win in the F2000 Championship Series.
“The start was not as planned,” said Miller. “I got drafted by a couple guys at the start, but I was able to get around Minor, and when Remy [Audette] had to check up due to a lapped car, I took advantage. Inge and I had a great race at the end. Now I can’t wait for the next races at Lime Rock.”
Munoz once again showed good racecraft in Round Two, steadily working his way forward, eventually crossing the stripe in 18th place.
"I’m very proud of Chris and the entire JDC MotorSports crew,” stated Team Owner John Church. “He showed all weekend long he had the speed to win, and after the problems in testing and the incident in race one, he deserved to be standing on the top step of the podium on Saturday. I’m also pleased with how Alejandro drove this weekend. He kept his nose clean and showed he knows how to work his way forward in a race. Now we need to build on this at Lime Rock.”
The JDC MotorSports F2000 Championship Series drivers now have a break until May 23-25, when the season resumes with Rounds Three and Four at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.