Jackson, Harris Share Honors In Pacific F2000 Championship Season Opener
Phoenix, Ariz. (February 5, 2006) -- English interloper Dominik Jackson and former vintage racer Tim Harris shared the honors during the Pacific F2000 Championship season opener by taking one victory apiece on the 1.51-mile combined oval/road course at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jackson, 21, from Lincoln, England, took the pole on both days and sped to an untroubled victory Saturday in the Geoff Fickling Racing Operation's #31 Sutton Images/Alpinestars/CK Promotions/Knauf Insulation Van Diemen RF03 -- the very same car with which the team's driver coach, Ian Lacy, scored two wins at P.I.R. one year ago.
Harris, from Irvine, Calif., who had qualified just 0.001s slower, finished a game second in his #20 Apex Fire Systems/Carson Trailer/Ray Stephens Racing Mygale SJ05, just over five seconds in arrears.
Harris again ran impressively on Sunday, only this time he did not let Jackson get away. The two cars circulated in tandem for most of the 23-lap race before Harris made his move with just three laps remaining, passing Jackson into Turn One and then edging clear to claim a well-deserved maiden professional victory.
Robert Podlesni, 19, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., took third on both days aboard Dave Freitas Racing's #84 Van Diemen RF03.
Les Phillips (#89 Swiss Implants/Porterfield Brakes Mygale SJ04), from Bakersfield, Calif., was the top Masters contender (for drivers over 40 years of age) finishing ninth on Saturday and 10th in Race Two, while Mike Rodney, from Lafayette, Colo., driving a Tatuus RC98, was the best-placed National class car (running the older Pinto engine), claiming 12th and 13th positions overall in the two races.
Race One was all about Jackson, who produced a storming first lap and was never seriously threatened en route to a dominant victory.
"I couldn't be happier," said the talented young Briton. "I'd never driven the car before Friday but it was a lot of fun and not as easy as it might have looked. It's just great to win my first race in the series on my first time at the track and working with the G.FRO team for the first time."
Podlesni, last year's Pacific F2000 Summer Cup winner, ran a lonely third, well clear of Honolulu, Hawaii's Todd MacNaughton (#8 Goto Construction/Bill Wilson Motorsports Van Diemen RF02), who just got the better of Pacific F2000 veteran John Lombardo (#30 NAPA Pro Series/Valvoline/Denso/G.FRO Van Diemen RF02), from Brea, Calif., following a thrilling battle that saw them exchange positions several times in the closing stages.
Brazilian Wladimir Genovesi (#21 Ortopedia Germania/Medartis Mygale SJ05) finished fifth on his debut with last year's champion team, PR1 Motorsports, followed by 2004 SCCA Formula Ford National Champion Scott Rarick, from Santa Monica, Calif., who ensured a solid debut pro-F2000 appearance for the distinctive Piper DF5 chassis.
Jackson again led away from the pole on Sunday, but this time could not shake off the attentions of Harris. With three laps to go, Harris made a decisive move for the lead and was ecstatic about scoring his first-ever F2000 win.
"That was the race of my life," exclaimed Harris. "We've worked so hard over the winter and it's all paid off. Ray Stephens Racing has done an excellent job in prepping the car, and PR1 has done the engineering. I can't thank them all enough."
Jackson was disappointed with second, but still had some consolation as he secured the championship lead by virtue of his pair of poles and the fastest race lap on Saturday (each worth two bonus points).
"It was a pretty good debut," said Jackson, "but I really wanted to complete the sweep of poles and wins. I think perhaps I pushed a little too hard in yesterday's race and took the edge off the tires, because I was really struggling with traction today. But I can't complain. This is a great series and I'm really happy to be here."
Podlesni finished third again, ruing the fact he had completed only two days of testing on the series' new Hankook tires.
Genovesi held fourth in the opening laps, before giving best to Lombardo. The Brazilian lost another position to MacNaughton, who drove impressively from 10th after a setup change for qualifying did not have the desired effect.
Genovesi, 25, racing for the first time since 2000, just held off the attentions of PR1 teammate Nick Haye, 18, from Huntington Beach, Calif., and the youngest driver in the field, 16-year-old Philip Metzger, from Littleton, Colo., who overcame some technical difficulties to rise from 12th on the grid to eighth. Along the way, Metzger posted the second fastest lap of the race in his ex-Jay Howard #19 Sovereign Energy/G.FRO Van Diemen RF05.
The Pacific F2000 Championship will reconvene for another pair of races at California Speedway, Fontana, on March 18/19.
1. Dominik Jackson (Van Diemen RF03), 59.986s; 2. Tim Harris (Mygale SJ05), 59.987s; 3. Robert Podlesni (Van Diemen RF03), 1m00.328s; 4. Todd MacNaughton (Van Diemen RF02), 1m00.403s; 5. Wladimir Genovesi (Mygale SJ04), 1m00.651s; 6. John Lombardo (Van Diemen RF02), 1m00.738s; 7. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m00.848s; 8. Scott Rarick (Piper DF5), 1m00.882s; 9. Nick Haye (Mygale SJ05), 1m00.994s; 10. Mark Peller (Van Diemen RF03), 1m01.053s; 11. Bob Negron (Van Diemen RF99), 1m01.102s; 12. Shaun Modisette (Van Diemen RF03), 1m01.148s; 13. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m01.677s; 14. Chris Spreitzer (Van Diemen RF03), 1m01.924s; 15. Mike Rodney (FC Tatuus-Elite/Bradford RC98), 1m02.032s; 16. Scott Foutch (Van Diemen RF03), 1m02.545s; 17. Nick Belling (FC Van Diemen-Ivey RF97), 1m03.792s; 18. Tom Hope (FC Van Diemen-H&H RF98), 1m03.798s; 19. John Gluckin (Van Diemen RF01), 1m04.648s; 20. Philip Metzger (Van Diemen RF05), 1m07.403s; 21. Doug Fitch (FC Van Diemen-Loyning RF94), 1m08.447s; 22. Dennis Goughary (Carbir DS3), no time. (All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines unless noted)
Round 1 (24 laps):
1. Jackson, 24m58.653s; 2. Harris, 25m03.677s; 3. Podlesni, 25m08.311s; 4. MacNaughton, 25m18.397s; 5. Lombardo, 25m19.409s; 6. Genovesi, 25m22.383s; 7. Rarick, 25m27.495s; 8. Negron, 25m32.875s; 9. Phillips, 25m33.205s; 10. Peller, 25m41.044s; 11. Spreitzer, 25m52.751s; 12. Rodney, 25m58.910s; 13. Foutch, 23 laps; 14. Belling, 23 laps; 15. Fitch, 22 laps; 16. Hastrup, 20 laps; 17. Haye, 19 laps, not running; 18. Hope, 6 laps, not running; 19. Gluckin, 3 laps, not running; 20. Metzger, 3 laps, not running; 21. Modisette, 2 laps, not running; NS Goughary.
Margin of victory: 5.024s.
Winner's average speed: 87.054mph.
Fastest race lap: Jackson, 59.986s, 900.621mph.
National class winner: Rodney.
1. Jackson, 59.913s; 2. Harris, 1m00.104s; 3. Podlesni, 1m00.257s; 4. Genovesi, 1m00.444s; 5. Lombardo, 1m00.481s; 6. Rarick, 1m00.528s; 7. Negron, 1m00.798s; 8. Phillips, 1m00.912s; 9. Haye, 1m00.984s; 10. MacNaughton, 1m00.994s; 11. Modisette, 1m01.016s; 12. Metzger, 1m01.062s; 13. Foutch, 1m01.283s; 14. Hastrup, 1m01.353s; 15. Peller, 1m01.390s; 16. Spreitzer, 1m01.695s; 17. Belling, 1m02.023s; 18. Rodney, 1m02.472s; 19. Hope, 1m03.238s; 20. Fitch, 1m06.316s; 21. Gluckin, no time; 22. Dennis Goughary (Carbie DS3), no time.
Round 2 (23 laps):
1. Harris, 23m16.120s; 2. Jackson, 23m17.905s; 3. Podlesni, 23m24.039s; 4. Lombardo, 23m32.379s; 5. MacNaughton, 23m36.072s; 6. Genovesi, 23m37.030s; 7. Haye, 23m37.207s; 8. Metzger, 23m39.121s; 9. Rarick, 23m40.054s; 10. Phillips, 23m46.939s; 11. Hastrup, 23m47.640s; 12. Spreitzer, 24m02.873s; 13. Rodney, 24m08.751s; 14. Foutch, 24m09.783s; 15. Modisette, 24m12.851s; 16. Peller, 24m13.125s; 17. Belling, 24m13.638s; 18. Gluckin, 22 laps; 19. Hope, 22 laps; 20. Fitch, 21 laps; 21. Negron, 2 laps, not running; NS Goughary.
Margin of victory: 1.785s.
Average speed: 89.554mph.
Fastest race lap: Harris, 1m00.072s, 90.491mph.
National class winner: Rodney.
Unofficial points positions (after 2 rounds): 1. Jackson, 42; 2. Harris, 38; 3. Podlesni, 28; 4. MacNaughton and Lombardo, 22; 6. Genovesi, 16; 7. Rarick, 10; 8. Haye & Phillips, 7; 10. Negron & Metzger, 6; 12. Peller, 4; etc.
Next rounds: California Speedway, Fontana, Calif., March 18/19.