LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 10, 2001)â€“Doug Bell, St. Albans, England, won Round Eight of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore. and Peter Gray, of Aberdeen, of ...
LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 10, 2001)–Doug Bell, St. Albans, England, won Round Eight of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore. and Peter Gray, of Aberdeen, of Scotland, completed the top-three. Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., won the ACC class.
After leading flag to flag in Round Seven polesitter No. 6 Tonis Kasemets lost the lead on the start in the first corner. Bell, driving No. 3 Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, got great jump and passed Kasemets around the outside as the field stormed into the esses. Bell immediately used the clean air and open track to push his car and establish a good gap on second place. Bell had established a three-second gap by lap eight and looked to be walking away from the rest of the field. On lap 21 a full-course caution came out for No. 44 Paul Dana, who had become stranded just off-course in the exit of thunder valley. On the restart, with two laps to go, Bell and LaPoint went side-by-side into turn one. Bell was able to maintain the lead and hold off another challenge from LaPoint entering the keyhole. By the time Bell had entered thunder valley he had reestablished a good lead over LaPoint. At the checkered flag, Bell had won his second race of the season by a margin of 1.509 seconds. The win moves Bell to second in the championship with 128 points. Bell earned the Pi Research Hard Charger award for his dominant race win.
“To come away with a win this weekend is grand,” said Bell. “I really pushed hard at the start. After I got a good lead I tried to save some tire for the end of the race, and it really paid dividends on the restart. Hopefully this can get the ball rolling for the second half of the season.”
After a poor start in Round Seven’s race on Saturday, LaPoint made a good start in Round Eight and pressured Kasemets for second place. While unable to pass for position, LaPoint, in the No. 89 Infinity Motorsports/Regency Aviation/TrackMagic Van Diemen Ford, maintained a car length gap on fourth place. On lap seven, LaPoint inherited second place after Kasemets slowed on course with suspension problems. LaPoint held the position, three seconds adrift, until the full-course caution bunched the field back together. On the restart, LaPoint got a great jump and attacked for the lead in turn one and the keyhole. LaPoint was unable to make a pass for the lead, finishing second, for his second podium finish of the year.
“I can’t be happier with the results this weekend,” said LaPoint. “It was a very stressful race, though uneventful for large parts of it. With the competition in this series racing up front is very rewarding.”
Driving the No. 2 Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, Gray drove a smart race and made the most of his opportunities. At the start of the race Gray held his sixth place starting position. When Kasemets fell back early in the race, Gray moved into fifth place. He remained in this position until the restart at the end of the race. On the restart, Gray avoided the contact between No. 69 Billy Asaro and No. 85 Travis Irving ahead of him, and moved into third place. Gray held the position for the final two laps to capture his third podium finish of 2001.
“I’m quite glad with the result,” said Gray. “Other than the final restart my race was rather uneventful. I managed to just avoid the incident between Billy [Asaro] and Travis [Irving]. Let’s hope this throws the bad luck the team has been having out the door.”
At the start of the race Rubenzer got caught up in traffic and fell back to 24th place. Driving the No. 11 Storage Battery Systems/Trojan Battery Company Carbir Ford, Rubenzer quickly recovered and began working his way through the field. By midway through the field, Rubenzer was in 18th place. At the checkered flag, Rubenzer had moved into 12th place to capture his second ACC win, second in three races.
“Coming away with a win should tighten the points race,” said Rubenzer. “I really had to work hard after the poor start and almost losing it on the restart.”
Completing the top-five was Arnold Brinkmann, of Quito, Ecuador and Memo Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico. Brinkmann was awarded the Truechoice Drive of The Day award for his drive, while JW Urlin, of London, Ont. was awarded the Taylor Engineering “Shark” award, after he moved up 11 positions in the race.