NA-F2000: Mid-Ohio rounds 11, 12 season finale preview

F2000: Mid-Ohio to Decide 2009 F2000 Title New York, NY -- The 2009 F2000 title will be decided this weekend at the season finale at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Chris Miller leads the standings by a slim 24 point margin over fellow American...

F2000: Mid-Ohio to Decide 2009 F2000 Title

New York, NY -- The 2009 F2000 title will be decided this weekend at the season finale at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Chris Miller leads the standings by a slim 24 point margin over fellow American Matthew Inge, who passed Miller for the win in race in one of two races at Summit Point just a few weeks ago. Canadian Remy Audette lurks another 34 points back from Inge. With a total of 110 points up for grabs at Mid-Ohio, the championship is far from over.

"The plan for Mid-Ohio is pretty obvious," said Inge, who has two wins this season compared to Miller's three. "We need to give it 100%, anything can happen, and we need to make sure we're at the front the whole weekend."

While Miller hasn't won since Watkins Glen, he didn't hide any speed at Summit Point as the JDC MotorSports driver took the pole for both races, lowering the track record.

Both Miller and Audette come into the weekend with previous F2000 experience on the 13-turn road course at Mid-Ohio. Audette bagged two third place finishes at Mid-Ohio last season with Miller notching a second place effort.

This season, which started out with a string of clean races, has recently seen an increasingly raised level of on-track action and incidents as the tension mounts. Inge, who was content to finish second behind Miller by a hair at VIR, wasted no time in passing Miller for the win at Mosport, and then got around Miller for another win at Summit Point.

Meanwhile, Miller remains on probation for aggressive driving at Watkins Glen and was penalized 10 points for avoidable contact while battling for second with Audette at Summit Point. The contact left Audette with a cut right-rear Hoosier and a 16th place result.

A tight battle for rookie of the year honors has 40 points separating Benjamin Searcy and Fabio Orsolon.

Searcy was the story of the paddock earlier this year, dominating in the rain at VIR and then going even faster on a drying track. A month later he backed it up with another crushing victory at Lime Rock.

However, with two victories under his belt the Z-Sports driver hasn't seen luck or consistency go his way lately. A practice crash at Watkins Glen left the young American watching the first of that weekend's two races from the Z-Sports pits. A couple weeks later a fifth place finish was taken away at Summit Point when the #10 Van Diemen/Zetec came in three pounds underweight in post-race technical inspection.

Fabio Orsolon and Alegra Motorsports have seen a string of strong finishes since Mosport where the Brazilian finished on the podium in both races. Orsolon backed that up by driving from 32nd to seventh at Watkins Glen, and notched another podium at Summit Point. Teammate Victor Carbone is also inching towards the front, matching his best finish of the season with another fifth place effort in West Virginia.

Jesse Yorio returns for the first time since Lime Rock, with his Piper DF-5 chassis making its first appearance since 2006 champion Matt McDonough almost took the victory at Watkins Glen with it.

"There has been an extensive rebuild after all the damage from the crash with Miller at Watkins Glen," Yorio commented. "The Piper always runs well at Mid-Ohio, the great turn-in helps on that silly twisty race track."

Caitlin Johnston, Al Guibord Jr, seven-time SCCA National Champion David Weitzenhof, Ardie Greenamyer, Charles Finelli and Mark Defer all return to the series after missing Summit Point.

Slade Miller makes his F2000 Series debut. Racing for Quantum Mechanics, the young driver finished seventh in the 2006 Cooper Series standings and has since then been campaigning a USAC Midget.

Jonathan Scarallo has used the almost month-long break to get assimilated to Mid-Ohio on his Xbox.

"I've been spending a lot of time on my Xbox trying to learn the track more," Scarallo said. "I am really looking forward to it; it's another one of those places I've been dreaming about for some time but never actually raced at. We've made some personnel changes at Group A Racing since Summit Point to try to step up our performance. I'd love to end our season on the podium."

Tom Fatur leads the Masters Class standings by 37 points over Robert Wright, with just six points separating Wright from Craig Clawson.

Fatur, who was an innocent victim of a first-lap crash at Summit Point, said: "I'm still a bit upset about Summit Point. As the season comes to a close some people are getting too aggressive and making dumb moves. In that case it took out multiple cars for no reason.

"That said, we have a decent point lead in the Masters Class so going into Mid-Ohio two solid finishes should get the job done."

Tim Minor who is coming off a huge win in race two at Summit Point, has years of SCCA Run-Offs experience at Mid-Ohio to rely on. Minor could easily play spoiler at the front of the field again.

The weekend gets underway with twilight testing on Thursday, followed by official practice sessions on Friday. Saturday and Sunday both feature morning qualifying sessions with afternoon races, with a series banquet on Sunday night.

-credit: www.F2000ChampionshipSeries.com

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Jonathan Scarallo , Mark Defer , Benjamin Searcy , Remy Audette , Caitlin Johnston , Tom Fatur , Charles Finelli , Matthew Inge , Fabio Orsolon , Craig Clawson , Chris Miller , Ardie Greenamyer , Victor Carbone