Lee Finishes Ninth on Sunday In Formula BMW Action At Grand Prix of Denver DENVER, Aug. 13 - Everyone knew the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship would come down to the season finale Sept. 1-3 at Mosport International Raceway. After Sunday's...
Lee Finishes Ninth on Sunday In Formula BMW Action At Grand Prix of Denver
DENVER, Aug. 13 - Everyone knew the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship would come down to the season finale Sept. 1-3 at Mosport International Raceway. After Sunday's race on the streets around the Pepsi Center at the Grand Prix of Denver, Matt Lee is still second in the point standings, gaining two points over leader Robert Wickens at the Denver doubleheader.
Trying his best to follow up his dominating victory in the first half of the doubleheader on Saturday with another victory in the nightcap on Sunday, Lee brushed the wall in turn seven on lap five while he was leading Sunday's 23-lap race. The contact bent the suspension on his Team Autotecnica No. 44 but the 16-year-old rising star from Syosset, N.Y. didn't spin and soldiered on to finish ninth.
He started on the pole for this race, establishing a new track record to boot. All in all it was an excellent weekend for Lee, who led every single session here at Denver except for Sunday's race, and set two new track records on the temporary 1.657-mile, nine-turn street course.
Wickens finished third behind winner Reed Stevens and runner-up Ryan Phinny on Sunday. Unofficially Wickens will go to the season finale at Mosport with an 18-point advantage over Lee, 134 to 116, with 42 points up for grabs at the 2.5-mile road course just north of Bowmanville, Ontario on Labor Day weekend. Others still in the running for the title are Reed Stevens, who is in third with 107 points, and Simona de Silvestro in fourth with 97 points.
"It's all going to go down to Mosport," Lee concurred. "When I touched the wall I bent both rear lower A-arms. It wouldn't turn left very well after that; it was a handful.
"No one else was involved and I didn't spin," he continued. "The car was a little different today due to a little different set-up we tried, and I just banged the wall. I was doing 100 percent of what the car could do, but after the A-arms were bent I couldn't keep my position."
Mosport is Wicken's home track and Lee has never been there before, but he'll depend on his team for some help there. Team Autotecnica is headquartered in Toronto and its driver coach, Christian Boudon, also has a lot of experience at Mosport. Sizing up new tracks quickly and performing well under pressure are also two of Lee's many strengths as a driver.
Lee's Team Autotecnica teammate, Robert Thorne of Sherman, Conn., started ninth in Sunday's race but ran into some problems and finished 17th. He will go into the season finale fifth in the Rookie of the Year point standings.
The races in Denver supported a Champ Car World Series headliner. The races at Mosport will support an American Le Mans Series race.
Both Lee and Thorne's Autotecnica cars are sponsored in part by Bumper to Bumper, Autoparts Warehouse, the Francis A. Lee Company, Matt-Con Services Corp. and Integrated Structures. Both drivers are also looking for additional marketing partners to join their program.
More information, including Saturday's race report, is available on the Internet at twintooth.com and formulabmwusa.com.
-credit: restart communications