F2000 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TOP-10S FOR LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS AT ROAD ATLANTA Belardi and Kautz lead Illinois team charge in Georgia ROCKFORD, ILL. (May 12, 2010) - For the Liberty Motorsports' drivers and crew, the F2000 Championship Series ...
F2000 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TOP-10S FOR LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS AT ROAD ATLANTA
Belardi and Kautz lead Illinois team charge in Georgia
ROCKFORD, ILL. (May 12, 2010) - For the Liberty Motorsports' drivers and crew, the F2000 Championship Series doubleheader at Road Atlanta this past weekend (May 7-8) proved to be an up-and-down affair. Rookie standout Tim Kautz and Team Principal Brian Belardi showed they can challenge for top spots when things go their way, finishing eighth in Round One and Seventh in Round Two respectively. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen in racing, as indicated by incidents relegating the duo and teammate Bobby Caldwell to four additional finishes outside of the top-10.
The shortened two-day event at Road Atlanta got off to a successful start for the Liberty Motorsports trio, with all three talented racers posting some quick times in the Friday morning practice session as they focused on finding the right setup for the high-speed Georgia road course. Unfortunately that did not translate into the results desired a short time later in qualifying for Round Three. While Kautz was able to post the sixth fastest time in his No. 36 Braeburn Thermometers/Euroquip Liberty Motorsports entry, Belardi repeatedly got caught out by slower traffic - resulting in the 13th best time - and Caldwell went off-course, ending the session 19th on the time charts.
Quickly putting the session behind them, Kautz and Belardi both enjoyed good launches when the green flag waved for Round Three a short time later. Kautz immediately moved into the top-five, just ahead of Belardi's No. 41 Liberty Motorsports entry slotting in among the top-10. Not to be left out of the mix, Caldwell also immediately began working his way forward in the No. 80 Liberty Motorsports racer. Displaying both good pace and racecraft, it appeared Liberty Motorsports group was headed towards two or more potential top-five results. It was not to be however, as a late race gearbox failure - losing fourth gear - dropped Kautz to 13th in the final order, four places ahead of Caldwell. Belardi ensured the race was not a total disappointment though, earning a strong eighth place finish in his 2010 pro series debut.
Returning to Road Atlanta one day later, the Liberty Motorsports crew and drivers were focused on returning to their rightful place near the front of the highly-talented field. That immediately became apparent in morning qualifying, as Kautz earned a row two starting position, just ahead of Belardi in seventh.
Come race time, the stage was set for Liberty Motorsports to challenge for not only top-fives, but potentially a podium finish or win. That goal took a hit both figuratively and literally in turn one however, as Kautz was forced onto the grass, making brief contact with one of the concrete walls lining the track. Fortunately to continue with only minor damage, Kautz immediately set about regaining the positions he had lost via his off-course excursion.
Able to avoid the first lap chaos, both Belardi and Caldwell enjoyed good runs early in Round Four. In repeat of race one, that unfortunately changed during the final third of the 18-lap affair, as within a few laps of one another Belardi suffered a punctured left rear tire while running fifth, and Caldwell slid off-course, forcing both racers to subsequently retire from the race prematurely.
The spirits among the Liberty Motorsports camp remained high despite the setbacks however, thanks to a superb recovery drive from Kautz. Overcoming a less than perfect car - due his first lap contact - Kautz charged his through the field, passing car after car. In the end, the Liberty Motorsports rookie crossed the stripe an impressive ninth.
The Liberty Motorsports competing in the F2000 Championship Series will now enjoy a break until June 12-13, when the series travels north to Canada for Rounds Five and Six at Mosport International Raceway. The Illinois-based will return action prior to the doubleheader, with its multi-car Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda effort taking to the O'Reilly Raceway Park oval on May 29 for Round Three.
-source: liberty motorsports