NA-F2000: Pacific: Buttonwillow preview

Pacific F2000 Championship charges into Buttonwillow for mid-season shootout BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. -- The Pacific F2000 Championship hits the fast and furious Buttonwillow Raceway Park this weekend for a doubleheader that, when complete, will...

Pacific F2000 Championship charges into Buttonwillow for mid-season shootout

BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. -- The Pacific F2000 Championship hits the fast and furious Buttonwillow Raceway Park this weekend for a doubleheader that, when complete, will mark the halfway point in the 12-race, 6-event 2007 championship battle. Racing with the VARA Moss Motors British Extravaganza, 21 Hankook Tires-shod entries are scheduled to compete in a pair of races -- one on Saturday and one on Sunday -- on the 3.0-mile, 13-turn road course.

Riding on the strength of two wins and four podiums in the first four races of the season, 17-year-old Pat Barrett leads the F2000 Championship points with 110, in his No. 3 Russell Racing/Alpinestars/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen. After taking the victory in Round Four at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif. on April 1, Barrett, the 2006 SCCA Formula Russell Champion and Rookie of the Year, will be hoping to make it back-to-back-to-back wins this weekend.

In hot pursuit is Chris Spreitzer, driving the No. 7 Anglo-American Racing/BWM Engineering Van Diemen, who sits just 13 points back. Spreitzer's victory in Round Two at California Speedway, coupled with two more podiums, has put him 10 markers ahead of rookie Jeff Westphal's No. 39 MCGC/DG Flooring/Team G.FRO Van Diemen. Westphal has three podiums and a top-5 thus far this season, and will undoubtedly be searching for the position that's eluded him -- his first Pacific F2000 victory.

Rounding out the top-5 in series points are a pair of rookies and the Expert-class points leader. New Zealander Mitchell Cunningham, driver of the No. 99 Windward Properties/Cunningham Construction/Sniper Systems/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, sits fourth with 63. Fifth place is shared by Thomas Merrill, who pilots the No. 81 Merrill Farms/Smith & Hook Wineries/Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen, and Expert contender Scott Rarick, who's driving the lone Piper chassis in the field, the No. 34 Red Line Oil/Hertfelder Motorsports Piper. Both drivers have 52 points.

Fresh off his Skip Barber Racing Series Southern Regional title, 17-year-old second-generation racer Ricky Taylor, son of sports car racing legend and Grand-Am team owner Wayne Taylor, will make his Pacific F2000 Championship debut in the No. 96 GS610 Maximum Performance Brake Fluid/SunTrust/Comar Performance Van Diemen.

PR1 Motorsports contender Shaun Modisette, driving the No. 26 Carson Trailer/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen, will look for redemption -- he finished a strong second at Willow Springs on-track, but was penalized eight spots after the race due to a technical infraction.

With Westphal, Philip Metzger and rookie Chuck Hulse complete the three-car Team G.FRO contingent; Metzger will drive the No. 29 Phoebe Hair/Sovereign Energy/Team G.FRO Van Diemen, while Hulse pilots the No. 19 Silicon Salvage/Team G.FRO Van Diemen.

Nick Freytag, who drives the No. 9 BWM Engineering Van Diemen, kicked off the season with a third-place performance at the opening round at California Speedway, but hasn't had the same luck since. He'll be hoping to turn that around. Chris Hundley, his BWM Engineering teammate, will challenge for Expert-class honors in the No. 88 Limousine Connection/BWM Engineering Van Diemen.

Along with Cunningham, Dave Freitas Racing will offer up a pair of F2000 veterans. Peter Hastrup will look to improve upon a season-best sixth in Round Four at Willow Springs Raceway, in his No. 5 Western Building Materials/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, while Ira Fierberg will pilot the No. 27 Cole Morgan/Personal Injury Law/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen.

Fierberg's unusual sponsorship stems from a lost bet - he bet Morgan, a Star Mazda standout, that UCLA would beat Florida in the NCAA Final Four. Florida won easily, and as a result, Fierberg's machine will feature Cole Morgan's name emblazoned on the sidepods -- in pink.

Colorado-based Front Range Motorsports has made the trek across the Rockies with a pair of contenders; John Brumder, in the No. 18 Front Range Motorsports Van Diemen, and rookie Max Hyatt, who will start his third Pacific F2000 race behind the wheel of the No. 25 Front Range Motorsports Van Diemen.

Peter Phillips and Dennis Goughary will bring a unique flavor to the weekend's events, as each is driving a chassis that stands out from the pack of Van Diemen-built machines. Phillips will make his debut in the No. 89 Swiss Implants/Swiss Motorsports Mygale, while Goughary will make his third and fourth starts of the season driving the No. 24 Shamrock Investment/Honda World/Landmark Motorsports Carbir.

Rounding out the field will be Bill Kincaid, in the No. 46 Bill Kincaid Racing Van Diemen, Bob Negron, who drives the No. 17 fengshui5.com/Bob Negron Racing Van Diemen, and Nick Kodenko, who returns to the series in his No. 31 Red Line Oil/Kodenko Automotive Van Diemen, after missing the Willow Springs rounds.

Qualifying for Round Five of the 2007 Pacific F2000 Championship will get underway at 8 a.m. on Saturday, with the 15-lap race set for 12:30 p.m. The schedule will be the same for Sunday's Round Six.

The 2007 Pacific F2000 Championship is a 12-race, six-event championship series for Formula Ford 2000 cars, conducted on six different circuits in California and Nevada. In its fourth season, the tour has already produced several graduates to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the Indy Pro Series.

-credit: f2000.pacific

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Wayne Taylor , Phillip Peter , Skip Barber , Ira Fierberg , Cole Morgan , Chuck Hulse , Thomas Merrill , Ricky Taylor , Max Hyatt , Jeff Westphal