Mid-Ohio Saturday Notebook
Lexington, OH - News and notes from around the paddock at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday.
Gawry Building on VIR Effort
Connor Gawry made his F2000 debut at Mid-Ohio in 2014 and made his 2016 debut last month at VIR.
“Mid-Ohio in 2014 was my first F2000 series race and my first time at the track,” Gawry recalled. “It was a steep learning curve for me and my team to understand what the car needed and where on the track we needed improvement since Mid-Ohio is a very technical track. Our expectation this weekend and every weekend is to keep improving and that will lead to better results for the KB Trailers team.”
After 13 years racing in karts, Gawry has made the move up to F2000 and intends to see out the season in pro level competition.
“My uncle (Joe Goetz) who works on my car and also on my driving has raced at Mid-Ohio in the late 90's and is giving me all the advice he can to help me,” Gawry continued. “He also ran in the inaugural season in F2000 so it kind of neat to follow that path.
“VIR was a bit challenging but it was also very helpful as we found some issues with the car that we corrected and by the end of the weekend I was running the best times I ever had there. That momentum should help us at Mid-Ohio.”
RFR for Austin McCusker
The Dotworks Racing squad has prepared a RFR for returning driver Austin McCusker, who will field the No. 01 against teammate and brother John, in the No. 1 Van Diemen.
“I think a win or a podium is the goal coming into the race weekend. Our pace last year was good and I think that is an advantage for myself,” said McCusker.
Ethier Up to Speed
Alex Ethier, driving the No. 96 Momentum Van Diemen, marks his second-ever pro weekend at Mid-Ohio after a rookie effort at a challenging Watkins Glen event in May.
“I'm just hoping to keep it clean this weekend and see where that gets me. Momentum Motorsports and I are really starting to understand how we both work, and I'm sure they'll give me a perfect car to deal with this challenging track,” said Ethier.
“My biggest challenge is wrapping my head around all the down force; it's so alien to anything one drives on the road, and I'm being careful to not ask my car for too much too soon. I'm hoping I can start to close the gap to the front this weekend.”
Weitzenhof Looks To Pointy End of Grid
A pole position run for seven-time SCCA National Champion Dave Weitzenhof at Watkins Glen in May came as no surprise, as the Masters Class driver of the No. 67 targets more success at his home track this weekend at Mid-Ohio.
“This will be a very competitive field. We are aiming for the pointy end. This weekend will be an excellent reference point,” said Weitzenhof. “Other than the known quality of the field, we are still working on getting the dampers to perform as we want them. We're getting close, but there is more to come.”
Allaer Makes 2016 Debut
Florida-based driver and SCCA National Champion Rob Allaer makes his first start of the 2016 F2000 Championship Series season this weekend with LTD Motorsports, but the driver is no stranger to Formula Continental, having won the Runoffs and dipping in and out of pro competition.
“I always try to make sure I am better than I was last time. Usually that means a better lap time than the previous time I was there, but of course, conditions and things out of your control can affect that,” Allaer said, recalling: “Last time I qualified second and my master switch flipped to off as we rolled onto pit lane (for the race).”
Allaer is also looking forward to the field of drivers assembled.
“Look at that lineup,” he said, “are you kidding? John Larue is a legend and no one knows Mid Ohio better. Steve Bamford is leading in points for a reason. You have Tim Paul showing up, always battling for wins when he is there. Not to mention the rock star of our group in Dave Weitzenhof. No one on our entry list has more national championships. You also the McCuskers, Brandon Dixon, and a bunch of other superior drivers. Anyone should be happy with a top ten finish.”
Keys to victory will be based on a variety of factors, Allaer explained.
“I honestly think it takes a flawless drive and a whole lot of luck to win a race in the F2000 Series,” he said. “Lucky for me, I have a great car, a terrific team with LTD Motorsports, awesome sponsors like Martini, Coors Light and Molson, and of course, the endless support of my family. Ultimately I am blessed to racing F2000 and whatever happens I know I am lucky to be among all these awesome drivers.”
John McCusker Confident in Dotworks Lineup
John McCusker is back in an F2000 car after missing VIR, and Dotworks Racing has also brought in brother Austin McCusker in a second entry. The latter McCusker competed in F2000 in 2015 and has since raced in another category.
“After Watkins Glen, I am very confident with the car and the team’s effort,” said J. McCusker. “Last year at Mid-Ohio my pace was very good, had my motor not let go there may have been some notable results. If everything goes according to plan we should be right at the front of the pack.”
McCusker pointed to LaRue as perhaps the guy to beat at Mid-Ohio.
“One of the challenges this weekend will be keeping up with Citations and Mid-Ohio veteran John Larue, however I will not be the only one racing at the Dotworks camp this weekend and teamwork will up the anti,” McCusker continued. “I am excited to be racing with my brother; it will be nice to have the team in full effect once again. Racing and qualifying will be a group effort, and the entries seem to have risen for this weekend making it more exciting.”