INDIANAPOLIS (October 14, 2002) - American Scott Poirier's persistence and patience paid off Saturday during the wet and soggy Formula Dodge National Championship finale at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut as he defeated Scott Speed by just under eight...
INDIANAPOLIS (October 14, 2002) - American Scott Poirier's persistence and patience paid off Saturday during the wet and soggy Formula Dodge National Championship finale at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut as he defeated Scott Speed by just under eight seconds. National Championship winner Grant Maiman, who captured the title following Round 12 at Carolina Motorsports Park, rounded out the podium in third place with an impressive drive from his 11th place starting position. Gerardo Bonilla and Barber CART Scholarship driver Colin Fleming completed the top five.
The final margin belies the actual closeness of the race between Poirier and Speed. Speed, starting from the pole, actually led the first 24 laps. Poirier stayed close the entire race and actually made several vain attempts to pass Speed in Turn One. Then, as the pair began the 25th and final lap, Speed went wide exiting Turn One and become a victim to the extremely wet grass. Poirier took advantage and slipped by Speed to take the lead. By the time Speed regained his momentum, Poirier was long past and on his way to the checkered flag.
"Scott [Speed] and I were able to pull away from the rest of the field early on," commented Poirier. "While I was faster than him in some spots, I was never able to make a move to get by him. I wasn't going to make any silly moves but I did want to make sure I was in his mirrors the whole time. Then, after we took the white flag, he got wide in Turn One and got off the track and into the grass. With it being so wet, it was easy to get by him as he struggled to get back on the track. I couldn't believe it but I kept my composure and brought the car home to the victory."
"This is a great way to end the season," continued the 19-year old from Deerfield Beach, Florida. "While I wish we could have won the championship, this definitely builds momentum for the scholarship shootout in December."
Following Maiman in the final National Championship point standings were Poirier, Speed, Ward Imrie, Burt Frisselle, Fleming, Al Unser, Robbie Montinola, Craig Baltzer and Charlie Kimball. Maiman, by virtue of his National Championship will receive $100,000 credit toward his 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series campaign while positions 2-10 in points will travel to the Barber CART Scholarship shootout at Sebring International Raceway, December 19-20, in south-central Florida. At stake for the drivers will be an additional $310,000 in 2003 Barber Dodge credit, including $100,000 credit for the shootout winner.