Watkins Glen Wednesday Notebook
Watkins Glen, NY – As the paddock was busying being built ahead of afternoon practice for the F2000 Championship Series on Thursday, all eyes were focused on the 100th race milestone for the Series, along with some new faces, returning drivers, and much more.
Testing for HP-Tech
Newcomer Santino Ferrucci has already logged miles in his No. 10 HP-Tech Van Diemen, testing both in Florida with 2012 Series Champion Robert La Rocca onhand to provide coaching, and at Monticello in New York just this week.
Ferrucci is signed up for the rest of the year with HP-Tech, and said the Van Diemen was significantly faster and had more grip than the Skip Barber cars he is used to.
The 15-year-old brings a huge karting resume to the grid and is driving the same car that won both Watkins Glen races in 2012.
Watkins Glen: Temptation and Turmoil
Series events at Watkins Glen have always been hugely popular – pairing an ideal geographical location with one of the best natural road courses in the world.
With a blockbuster car count expected, a mid-summer weekend, and a big crowd with the Grand-Am Six-Hours, action on track could be fierce.
Moreover, drivers and cars are ready for some decent track time after it rained literally all weekend at Lime Rock in May.
Racers that dealt with the weather at Lime Rock Park and logged rain laps may be able to capitalize as scattered showers are in the forecast at the Glen.
Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock
What do these tracks have in common with this weekend? History – as former Series Champions Cole Morgan and Victor Carbone checked in.
Carbone pointed to Mid-Ohio in 2009 as being his best weekend. He didn’t win a race that weekend in his rookie season, but put in his best performance of the year to close the 2009 season, setting up his Championship run in 2010. Carbone said he proved to himself at Mid-Ohio that he could run at the front. Case closed.
As for Morgan…
“Lime Rock race two in 2007 was the best for me,” said Morgan. “Going in, we had worked out all these mathematical scenarios on what we had to do to win the title, so the pressure was on. Up until that point, we just had this gunslinger attitude to drive as fast as possible the whole time, checkers or wreckers, because it really was our only chance to become champions.
“ Race two was the only time we had even talked strategy and managing the race and all that. We were starting P1 so I remember just leaving the trailer after talking with Rob and Matt and we all kind of agreed to just take off and not look back. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? So race two, Matt McDonough was having a pretty bad weekend and that really opened the door for us in the points.
“I don't remember if I was nervous, or just amped to begin the race, but probably a lot of both. I was just praying nobody would do something stupid and take us out and ruin the whole year. Luckily the start was fairly trouble free, Matt got a good run and tried the outside, but that was Lime Rock before the repave, so it had like a one car groove and ruts and it was a tough turn to do anything on the outside.
“The whole track had a lot more character before they repaved it. It was like going back in time and running on a Grand Prix track from the 60's. I loved it. So the race had a few cautions, which helped keep the field bunched up and traffic wasn't really a factor.
“I think the last green flag run to the checkered was 7 or 8 laps, but I protected the inside into one on the restart and just built a gap on Mike Andersen and Matt M. I remember coming to the white flag I just kept saying, ‘Keep it between the lines.’
“That was probably a 56 second lap. I came through the downhill at like 3/4 throttle and I remember getting on the radio with Matt Satchell and Rob St. Clair and we were all just screaming and cursing and laughing.