Britons Foster and Howard Take One Victory Apiece at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, Ohio (August 28, 2005) -- A pair of extremely talented Englishman, Joey Foster and Jay Howard, once again proved to be the class of the field when the Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars visited the scenic parkland setting of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.
Foster, from Truro, Cornwall, England blitzed the 30-car entry during qualifying, posting by far the fastest lap time in extremely treacherous conditions following a rain shower. Foster, in the Cape Motorsports #3 Bradfords/BRDC/Keenpine/Woodpecker Pine Van Diemen RF01, took off confidently into the lead during the first 20-lap race, held on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't long before his nemesis, Howard, was dogging his wheel tracks in Marshall Aiken's #22 newhoneys.com Van Diemen RF03.
Howard edged ever closer in the closing stages but Foster kept his cool and was rewarded with his second win in the last three races.
"Jay was right with me but he didn't try anything silly," related Foster. "I managed to hold him off, which was very satisfying."
Cooper Masters Series contender (for drivers over 35 years of age) Matthew McDonough, from West Newbury, Mass., had skipped the two previous races at Road America, but returned with a vengeance to the track where he had claimed a pair of podium finishes in May. McDonough again displayed excellent form as he guided the #19 TASC Technical Services/GTP Motorsports Van Diemen RF02 to another third-place finish ahead of Chris Guerrieri, from Pickering, Ontario, Canada, in the #11 Aiken Racing Van Diemen RF05.
Young Nick Boulle, from Dallas, Texas, finished fifth in the #2 deBoulle Jewelry/Cape Motorsports Van Diemen RF01, followed by 2004 Cooper Series front-runner Adam Pecorari, from Aston, Pa., who made a strong return for GTP Motorsports despite having not driven an FF2000 car for almost a year.
Race Two on Sunday morning again began with Foster setting the early pace after once more starting from the pole. Howard, though, remained glued to the leader's tail through the opening eight laps, then made a bold move for the lead when he dived to the inside under braking for Turn Five.
The two Britons -- who have tangled on several occasions already this season -- raced wheel to wheel through the Esses, with neither prepared to give an inch. Both men held their nerve, but it was Howard who emerged with a narrow lead which he maintained until the finish.
"That was one of the best races I've had all year," said Howard after claiming his eighth win from just 10 starts. "It was really a lot of fun."
Even Foster was relatively content: "I'm a bit frustrated that I couldn't pull off the double [win]," he said, "but it was still a good weekend."
McDonough drove another solid race to finish in third ahead of Guerrieri, who profited when Boulle spun out of fourth place in Turn One on the very last lap. Boulle recovered to finish ninth.
Pecorari also had been in the thick of the action, challenging for third place before being stricken by electrical gremlins shortly before half-distance.
Jason Byers, from Livonia, Mich., took fifth in the #28 A&B Refrigeration/St. Clair Motorsports Van Diemen RF03, followed by 17-year-old rookie Nick Haye, from Huntington Beach, Calif., in the #8 Think Together/Premier Bank/JDC Motorsports Van Diemen RF01 and the pair of Napa Auto Parts/Denso/P-1 Racing Van Diemens driven by impressive series debutant Ernest Bocchino and veteran John Lombardo Jr.
Ricardo Vassmer, from Caracas, Venezuela, continued his domination of the Cooper Gold Cup series (for older, Pinto-engined cars) by taking a pair of victories -- his seventh and eighth of the season -- in Comprent Motorsports' #25 UltraLub Van Diemen RF01.
The next two rounds of the Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars will take place at VIRginia International Raceway, Va.., on October 7-9.