Kasemets and Lapoint Capture U.S. F2000 Poles At Homestead
HOMESTEAD, FLA. (April 7, 2001) --Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. and Jason LaPoint, of Wodburn, Ore., both captured poles in the two qualifying sessions for Saturday's and Sunday's Rounds Two and Three U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Completing the top-three in both races is Marc-Antoine Camirand, of Trois-Rivieres, Que., Can.
Single-car qualifying for Round Two was run early in the morning under clear and sunny skies. Driving the No. 89 MARCK Racing/Regency Aviation/TrackMagic Van Diemen Ford, LaPoint was third from last to attempt his two-lap qualifying run. Pushing his car to the limit on his second lap, LaPoint jumped to the top of the charts with a time of 44.241 (113.21 mph). LaPoint's time held up for his first-career pole, as both Tommy Constantine, of Scottsdale, Ariz. and Camirand were unable to better the time. In the second qualifying session, for Round Three on Sunday, he improved his time, posting a time of 44.234 (113.940 mph). This was time was good enough to qualify second, his third consecutive front-row start.
"It was scary as hell out there," said the 24 year-old LaPoint. "Coming off the back straight I just hoped I stayed on track. We didn't practice qualifying runs during earlier sessions, so I'm very happy with the pole. In the second qualifying run I think I got most of what was available in the car, it just wasn't quite enough to get the pole. We'll see how the race plays out this afternoon, but I think I'm in a good position to do well."
After posting quick times in the practice sessions, Kasemets entered qualifying looking for a good result. Driving the No. 6 MK Ind/FlexOvit Van Diemen Ford, Kasemets posted a quick time of 44.454 (113.144 mph) in the morning qualifying session. At the time it was the quickest in the session, however both LaPoint and Camirand were able to better the time later in the session, dropping Kasemets to third on the grid. With gusting winds in the afternoon qualifying session, Kasemets improved on his time, posting a quick lap of 44.212 (113.996 mph). Unlike in the morning session, the held up, giving the Estonian-American driver his first-career pole.
"This is great," said Kasemets, who won the SCCA Club Racing F2000 National Championship last year. "I have a great bunch of guys behind me, who helped me do this. In the first qualifying run I was pretty safe out there. After doing so well I took a few more chances in the second qualifying session. The plan for the races is to see how things develop and stay with Jason [LaPoint] and Marc [Camirand]."
Camirand, driving the No. 96 www.keymotorsport Van Diemen Ford, looked to be in contention for the pole in both races after setting the quick time in practice. In the first qualifying session his car got slightly loose, as he posted a quick time of 44.538 (113.162 mph) to start second. In the afternoon qualifying session he was slowed by a gust of wind on the back straight, posting a time of 44.558 (113.111 mph), to start third.
"The team gave me a great car," said Camirand, the all-time leader in top-10 finishes. "I think I have an excellent car for the races today and tomorrow. I had my first race here, starting on the front-row, hopefully I can have another good result here in what should be my last race in the series."
Completing the top-five starting positions for Round Two is Memo Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico and Alexander Figge, of Aspen, Co. For Round Three Billy Asaro, of Unionville, Ont. Can. and Arie Luyendyk Jr., of Den Bosch, Holland will complete the top-five starting positions.