RIKERT WINS WILD QUALIFYING RACE TO TAKE NORTEL NETWORKS F2000 POLE

HAMPTON, Ga. (July 16) - Steve Rikert, of Rhinebeck, N.Y., led every lap of a wild 24-lap qualifying race, and will start on the pole for Saturday's Nortel Networks Dash at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Round Seven of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision. England's Dan Wheldon and Mexican Rolando Quintanilla will start second and third. Rikert started first in the No. 4 Richard Morgan Racing Van Diemen Ford and led every lap of the sprint event, but never by more than 0.100-second over Wheldon's No. 5 Primus Racing Van Diemen Ford. The win gave Rikert his first career U.S. F2000 pole. "I pretty much dictated my own race," said Rikert. "Daniel (Wheldon) is a racer and wanted to be side-by-side, but I just held my line at the bottom of the track. I'm very happy to get my first pole." Wheldon, who leads the point standings, started third, but went to second at the start, where he stayed for the remainder of the sprint. "I'm a little but disappointed," said Wheldon. "I would rather have been first or third because it puts you on the inside-which is better. But it's good to be on the front row. I just wanted to be in a good position for the race tomorrow." Quintanilla made a strong move to third on the final lap in the No. 40 Tecate/Quaker State/Transportes Quintanilla Van Diemen Ford, and literally pushed Rikert over the line, but still finished behind Wheldon. The effort gave Quintanilla his best start since the season-opener at Phoenix, where he was second. "I was trying to bull my way in there on the last lap," said Quintanilla. "It was just go or don't. If everyone has patience tomorrow like tonight, the race will go just fine." Completing the top-five were T.J. Bell, of Sparks, Nev., and Marc-Antoine Camirand, of Canada. The race featured a thrilling finish. On the final lap, the top-10 approached the finish line within 0.2-second of one another and nearly six wide. Jonathan Bottoms, Bobby Oergel, Larry Foyt and Tommy Constantine-running sixth through 10th, got together just before the finish and slid across the line to finish ninth through 12th. None of the drivers were injured and all four cars will be repaired for the feature race.

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Starting grid for Saturday's 34-lap, 52.36-mile Nortel Networks Dash, Round seven of the U.S.F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parenthesis, driver, hometown, class, car, fastest time and speed in miles-per-hour. Positions were determined in a 24-lap race, not by fastest lap. 1. (4), Steve Rikert, Rhinebeck, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.689, 147.098. 2. (5), Dan Wheldon (R), England, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.712, 147.008. 3. (40), Rolando Quintanilla, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.628, 147.337. 4. (23), T.J. Bell, Sparks, Nev., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.701, 147.051. 5. (96), Marc-Antoine Camirand, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.706, 147.032. 6. (35), Arnold Brinkmann (R), Miami, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.366, 148.370. 7. (77), Harold Primat (R), New York, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.184, 149.096. 8. (8), Alejandro Garcia, Venezuela, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:36.872, 150.358. 9. (3), Jonathan Bottoms, Buffalo, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.580, 147.525. 10. (19), Bobby Oergel, Fresno, Calif., F2A, Mygale Ford, 0:37.691, 147.090. 11. (16), Tommy Constantine (R), Scottsdale, Ariz., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 0:37.409, 148.199. 12. (14), Larry Foyt, Houston, Texas, F2A, Tatuus Ford, 0:37.533, 147.71. 13. (45), Michael Curtiss, Alexandria, Va., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.021, 149.752. 14. (99), Tom Wood, Calgary, Alberta, Can., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 0:37.343, 148.461. 15. (7), Daniel Muniz (R), San Jose, Costa Rica, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.390, 148.274. 16. (13), Mark Dismore (R), Greenfield, Ind., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:36.968, 149.967. 17. (66), Larry Oberto, Seattle, Wash., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:37.428, 148.124. 18. (87), David Bleke, Whiteland, Ind., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 0:39.082, 141.855. 19. (27), Scott Dick, Cincinnati, Ohio, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0:38.806, 142.864. 20. (29), Kyle Burts (R), Tomball, Texas, F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 0:40.423, 137.149. 21. (25), Lance Spragins, Wichita Falls, Texas, F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 0:40.059, 138.395. 22. (70), Galen Puccini (R), Simi Valley, Calif., F2A, Carbir Ford, 0:38.089, 145.553. 23. (22), Larry Vatri, Canal Winchester, Ohio, F2B, Swift Ford, 0:37.210, 148.992.