Phoenix, Arizona - March 19, 2000 - Eighteen-year-old USF2000 rookie Billy Asaro was brilliant today at Phoenix International Raceway as he charged to sixth place after starting from the back of the 26-car field in today's season opener. Asaro ...
Phoenix, Arizona - March 19, 2000 - Eighteen-year-old USF2000 rookie Billy Asaro was brilliant today at Phoenix International Raceway as he charged to sixth place after starting from the back of the 26-car field in today's season opener. Asaro showed great resilience in rebounding from yesterday's qualifying disappointment when his car broke before getting onto the track.
In a race that was slowed by four caution periods that ate up precious racing laps, Asaro steadily worked his way through the field with confidence and authority. He showed incredible control as he drove his Forsythe/Indeck car on the limit throughout the 50-lap race and passed as many as three cars in one corner.
The charge from the rear becomes even more incredible when it is taken into account that Asaro nearly missed the start. Following the morning warm-up session, the Primus Racing Team which fields Asaro's car, elected to change many of the front-end suspension components. The work was finished just in time for Asaro to arrive on the grid and take the start. As if he wasn't under enough stress, he now had to figure out a new suspension set up under race conditions.
"I'm really happy I was able to move up so far today," Asaro said. "The weekend had been sliding downhill and I'm glad it ended with a nice upturn. It was unfortunate that some of the cautions lasted so long because we were using up laps that I could have used to pass people."
Another episode in Asaro's eventful weekend came around the midpoint of the race when a stray halfshaft (one of two shafts that drives the rear wheels) punctured the left side of his cockpit. Another car had lost the shaft which was kicked into the air when the car ahead of Asaro ran over it.
"I saw it coming and tried to dodge it, but it hit the left-front wing and then came right through the side of the car," Asaro reported. The metal shaft struck and damaged the brake bias control and its metal mounting bracket, which probably prevented injury to the young driver. All things considered, sixth place marks a fine finish for Asaro's event-filled oval debut.
The race was won by Asaro's Forsythe/Indeck teammate, Aaron Justus who was chased across the line by Tony Buffomante and Marc-Antoine Camirand.