Skies Open, McDonough Wins at the Glen
Watkins Glen, NY - The skies opened in dramatic fashion mid-way through the F2000 Championship Series race, turning Watkins Glen International into an ice-rink and allowing 2006 F2000 Champion Matt McDonough to score victory in a lap that took over three minutes and 20 seconds in a race of survival to the checkered flag. Jayson Clunie finished second and Robert Wright slammed the inside pit wall trying to steal the win in a side-ways drag race to the checkered flag, and settled for third.
McDonough, driving the No. 69 Radon Sport entry, won the Glenn Phillips Memorial Classic, a race run in memory of the team founder of GTP Motorsports. McDonough and GTP won the first F2000 Championship in 2006. McDonough last drove in F2000 in 2013 and most recently competed in a 24-hour slot car race. It is the first win for the Radon chassis.
"I had a great start and moved up through the field," said McDonough. "It was dicey the first few laps at the front and I was able to stay on the back of the lead pack and hang out. Then the rain came. I said on the radio I wasn't sure about staying out, I was going to give it one more lap. The first turn was simply mayhem. I braked early, I could see cars spinning in the mist, I had no brakes.
"I did a 360 on the race track, I went into the turn one runoff and I was straight, I took the brakes off and bump-started the car. I passed four or five cars that stalled," continued McDonough. "I drove back on the track, in the distance I saw Tim Paul hit the wall in turn 2 and figured if I made it past him I'd be in the lead. It was dry down the back straight the lap before, but by now the whole track was wet. I'm excited to win the first Glenn Phillips Memorial race. He was a big part of my racing career and I really believe he had a hand in today's chain of events."
The last lap will be noted in F2000 history, as the field was working a full course caution when the skies opened. With mostly all cars on dry tires, the green flag came out, and almost the entire field had an off-course excursion in the run to the checkered flag, with the race ending before its time limit to adverse track conditions.
In the lead at the restart was points leader Steve Bamford, who took the race leader earlier with an aggressive move on the outside of turn one on lap one, taking over from pole position winner Dave Weitzenhof.
Davy D'addario would finish fourth with Bamford in fifth after going off on the last lap of the race. John McCusker and Dave Weitzenhof followed, with Bob Reid, who changed to rain tires during caution in eighth and Jenna Grillo in ninth for K-Hill Motorsports.
Contenders David Grant and Tim Paul were 10th and 11th at the checkered flag, respectively, both restarting in the top five but going off on the final circuit of Watkins Glen in heavy rain.