For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com Morioka Will Start Second in U.S. FF2000 Race at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 9 - Zak Morioka and the Kentucky Fried Chicken of Brazil/A.M.E. Sports Van Diemen ...
For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com
Morioka Will Start Second in U.S. FF2000 Race at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 9 - Zak Morioka and the Kentucky Fried Chicken of Brazil/A.M.E. Sports Van Diemen Quicksilver Ford No. 27 will start second beside Matt Sielsky Saturday afternoon in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The final grid was determined following the second round of qualifying early Saturday morning. Other than Sielsky's new track record of 1:24.155 (96.593 mph) around the 2.258-mile road course, all of the other top-five starters (Morioka, Andy Lally, Duncan Dayton and Jeff Shafer) got their spots from the times they set Friday in the first round of qualifying. (The top five in the second round of qualifying were Sielsky, Morioka, Andrea De Lorenzi, Lally and Urubatan Helou Jr.)
Morioka's best lap in Friday's first round of qualifying was a 1:24.172 (96.573 mph) circuit. His best lap Saturday morning was a 1:25.001 (95.631 mph) lap, but he ran out of time in Saturday morning's session due to an unusual penalty, all too typical of U.S. Formula Ford 2000 competition.
Morioka was forced to lose three minutes of green-flag time during Saturday morning's qualifying session as a penalty for leaving too much space between himself and the car ahead of him when leaving pit road once during that session.
"I don't know of any rule like that in the rulebook, and I don't remember anything being said about that being a possible problem at the drivers' meeting," said Morioka. "It hurt us because we were just getting ready to put our sticker tires on when we were penalized and the track conditions were getting better as the session progressed. I feel certain we could have gone faster if we'd had a few more laps.
"I have never heard of such a penalty and this kind of thing often happens in this series, but I just have to put it behind me and concentrate on the race. I would have liked to have that one extra point for winning the pole, but a good finish in the race is most important because we're running for the championship."
Morioka is second in the current point standings, just two points behind.
Morioka added that his car was even more comfortable to drive this session than it was on Friday, and praised his Hayes Motorsports crew for their work.
The 22-lap, 49.5-mile race is slated to get the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.