La Rocca Completes Jersey Sweep

July 1, 2012
Robert La Rocca: seven wins in eight races. (photo: Valet)

Millville, NJ – Robert La Rocca completed his third race weekend sweep of four F2000 Championship Series weekends in 2012, winning both races at New Jersey Motorsports Park, leading from pole on Sunday morning to take his seventh victory of the year in just eight races. La Rocca was briefly challenged on both the start and a restart but aggressively defended his lead by taking an inside line into turn one. Wyatt Gooden and Niki Coello rounded off the podium.

“The HP-Tech team gave me a great car again,” said La Rocca, driving the No. 10 HP-Tech Van Diemen for the Ft. Lauderdale-based team, and extends his Championship lead even more with two poles, two fast laps and two race wins at the Thunderbolt circuit. “There are three weekends left so I’m not really thinking about the Championship yet.”

Nevertheless, with a runaway points lead and his closest rivals failing to win races, and battling through DNFs, La Rocca has turned the 2012 F2000 Championship into his to lose at this point with six races to go. Remaining events are Mid-Ohio, Summit Point and Watkins Glen.

Gooden was second in another podium run for Quantum Racing Services in the No. 6 Van Diemen.

“It’s a good way to end the weekend,” commented Gooden, who raced here in the VW TDI Cup a few years ago, and added that he hugged his TDI Cup car upon arriving to the track as the facility uses the fleet of VWs for various schools.  “I’m still chasing setup in these cars, learning how to drive them.”

Completing the podium was Coello in the No. 81 RFR, who briefly looked to take the lead on the start of the race and was less than happy with La Rocca’s driving tactics.

“The car was a mess after yesterday,” noted Coello, who ripped off a front wing on Saturday. “I need to thank my crew for putting the car back together in the heat. On the start, I could have taken out the entire field. Robert blocked me all the way to the pit wall and I had to get out of it, and that let Wyatt past.”

That of course, started with Coello inheriting third place on the start as Tim Minor went off the track on one of the two pace laps while scrubbing in new rear tires.

Coello noted on the podium that with the early race he was taking his family to Hershey Park.

Minor recovered, however, to win the Masters Class with an eighth place finish for Ski Motorsports in the No. 88 Citation chassis.

Following the podium with another good run on Sunday was rookie Kevin Kopp, who finished third for the WISKO squad on Saturday. Zach Craigo rounded out the top five, after a career best fourth place run on Saturday for Front Range Motorsports.

Tim Paul followed in sixth place, with F2000 new comer Paul Aslpach seventh for WISKO. Minor was eighth, Chris Livengood ninth in the RFR chassis for John Walko Racing and Jamaica’s Collin Daley completed the top ten for Group A Racing.

An opening lap incident produced a lengthy caution period and sidelined a number of cars.

The F2000 Championship Series continues at Mid-Ohio with rounds nine and ten, July 26-29.

Race Results

Pos No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Gap Avg. Speed Best Tm Best Spd 1 10 Robert LaRocca 13 26:02.664 - - 67.385 1:19.203 102.269 2 6 Wyatt Gooden 13 26:04.268 +1.604 +1.604 67.316 1:20.309 100.860 3 81 Niki Coello 13 26:07.078 +4.414 +2.810 67.195 1:20.501 100.620 4 66 Kevin Kopp 13 26:07.158 +4.494 +0.080 67.192 1:20.302 100.869 5 18 Zach Craigo 13 26:11.493 +8.829 +4.335 67.006 1:21.197 99.757 6 06 Tim Paul 13 26:12.165 +9.501 +0.672 66.978 1:21.709 99.132 7 39 Paul Alspach 13 26:13.985 +11.321 +1.820 66.900 1:21.482 99.408 8 88 Tim Minor/M 13 26:14.889 +12.225 +0.904 66.862 1:20.986 100.017 9 37 Chris Livengood 13 26:17.296 +14.632 +2.407 66.760 1:21.263 99.676 10 13 Collin Daley 13 26:18.323 +15.659 +1.027 66.716 1:22.087 98.676 11 5 Nick Palacio 13 26:18.353 +15.689 +0.030 66.715 1:22.390 98.313 12 90 Robert Wright/M 13 26:32.654 +29.990 +14.301 66.116 1:24.280 96.108 13 19 John Brumder/M 13 26:33.162 +30.498 +0.508 66.095 1:23.998 96.431 14 47 Chris Monteleone 13 26:36.322 +33.658 +3.160 65.964 1:24.522 95.833 15 46 Doug Rocco 13 27:07.020 +1:04.356 +30.698 64.720 1:25.087 95.197 16 99 Jason Rabe 10 22:12.987 3 Laps 3 Laps 60.766 1:23.590 96.902 DNF 61 Tom Drake/M 2 3:37.304 11 Laps 8 Laps 74.550 1:33.568 86.568 DNF 4 Dennis McCarthy 2 3:38.269 +0.965 +0.965 74.220 1:34.715 85.520 DNF 9 Jose Montiel 1 2:02.125 12 Laps 1 Lap 66.325 1:59.047 68.040 DNF 67 Dave Weitzenhof/M 1 2:02.558 +0.433 +0.433 66.091 1:58.697 68.241 DNF 25 Jeff McCusker/M 1 2:02.824 +0.699 +0.266 65.948 1:58.502 68.353