NA-F2000: PAC: Series Las Vegas Saturday summary

Modisette Wins Twice as Podlesni Ties Up his Second Pacific F2000 Championship Las Vegas, Nev. (October 18, 2009) -- Shaun Modisette and Robert Podlesni were the stand-out drivers as the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal...

Modisette Wins Twice as Podlesni Ties Up his Second Pacific F2000 Championship

Las Vegas, Nev. (October 18, 2009) -- Shaun Modisette and Robert Podlesni were the stand-out drivers as the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal Velocity Processing concluded with a pair of exciting races as part of VARA's Jeff Saltman Memorial this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Modisette, 22, from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., won both 25-minute events in his #26 Carson Trailer/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen, while Robert Podlesni, 21, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., did what he had to do to secure the championship title with a pair of top-four finishes aboard the #84 Terminal Velocity Processing/Alpinestars/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen.

"Fantastic," said Podlesni succinctly after adding a second Pacific F2000 title to the one he won in 2006. "I didn't really expect to win anything, especially in the first half of the season. I started out racing primarily just to fill up the field a little. I was preparing the car pretty much by himself and hauling it to the races, and didn't do any testing at all. But one thing led to another and here I am! It's been pretty satisfying to do what we've done."

"Poodles" began the weekend in strong form, securing the pole on Saturday to add two more points toward his championship tally. He lost out at the start to Modisette and his main title rival, Max Hyatt, from Santa Fe, N.M., driving the #23 Performance Drink/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen, but quickly moved back to second place and started to whittle away at the early lead that Modisette had established.

Podlesni was hot on Modisette's tail in the closing stages, and thought he saw an opening to make a move for the lead on the final lap, only for Modisette to firmly close the door. The pair was separated by a mere six-tenths of a second at the checkered flag.

Scott Rarick (#34 PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen), from Santa Monica, Calif., finished third ahead of Hyatt, who therefore trailed Podlesni by 11 points going into today's title-deciding race.

Rarick also claimed the Expert spoils, for drivers aged 35-50, and Bob Negron (#8 Fengshui Van Diemen), from San Jose, Calif., was the top Master (over 50) in sixth place overall.

The pressure was on Hyatt for Sunday if he was to wrest the title from Podlesni. Hyatt also had to contend with his two PR1 teammates, Modisette and Rarick.

Modisette took the pole, narrowly ahead of Hyatt and Podlesni, but neither of the front row qualifiers made a good start. Instead, Podlesni made a flyer from Row Two, only for Modisette once again to slam the door shut in his face and enable Hyatt to reclaim second place by driving around the outside.

Rarick also found a way past the conservative Podlesni on the first lap, which meant that Hyatt needed to win the race -- and set fastest lap, worth two bonus points -- to secure the crown. Hyatt did set the fastest lap -- on the very last lap of the race -- but Modisette held on for the victory by just 0.554s.

"I didn't have quite enough time," lamented Hyatt. "Two more laps... Shaun was too strong for too long today. He did a great job. And hey, Robert is an amazing driver. He deserved to win the championship."

"This is a great way to finish the season," said Modisette, who also won the opening two races of the campaign at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., way back in March. "I can't thank Bobby Oergel and the entire PR1 team, and my family, enough for all they've done for me. It's been a great year."

Rarick claimed the Expert honors once again with his fine run to third place, while Podlesni had to make do with fourth -- equaling his worst result of the season.

Negron took the Masters honors for the second straight day, albeit by a narrow margin from the season's Masters Champion, Peter Hastrup (#5 Westeren Building Materials/Nuttall Brown & Coutts/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen), from Madera, Calif. The pair finished sixth and seventh overall.

Provisional final points: 1. Podlesni, 298; 2. Hyatt, 293; 3. Modisette, 266; 4. Rarick, 252; 5. Hastrup, 183; 6. Peter West, 133; 7. Les Phillips, 123; 8. Michael Murphy & Ira Fierberg, 103; 10. Negron, 102; etc.


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