NA-F2000: Pacific F2000: Buttonwillow notes 2006-04-30

Podlesni is Perfect at Buttonwillow Raceway, Clinches Pacific F2000 "Spring Cup" Buttonwillow, Calif. (April 30, 2006) -- Robert Podlesni put on a clinic at Buttonwillow Raceway this weekend. The 18-year-old rising star from Thousand Oaks,...

Podlesni is Perfect at Buttonwillow Raceway, Clinches Pacific F2000 "Spring Cup"

Buttonwillow, Calif. (April 30, 2006) -- Robert Podlesni put on a clinic at Buttonwillow Raceway this weekend. The 18-year-old rising star from Thousand Oaks, Calif., qualified on pole for each of the two races and was never seriously challenged en route to a pair of stunning victories with the #84 Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen RF03.

"I love Buttonwillow," proclaimed Podlesni after completing his clean sweep Sunday afternoon. "I couldn't ask for anything more. The DFR team just did an awesome job for me this weekend, and I can't thank them enough."

Podlesni now has won the last four races in succession and is a clear leader of the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook after six of the 12 races. The youngster also has clinched the "Spring Cup" which is awarded to the driver who accumulates the most points during the first half of the season.

Veteran Chris Hundley drove a fine race on Saturday to split up a group of talented teenagers, claiming second place for the G.FRO team ahead of Shaun Modisette and Nick Haye. On Sunday, though, Hundley and Modisette crashed out at the first corner. Haye instead played a starring role, rising from the very back of the grid (due to a gearbox problem in qualifying) and taking advantage of a late incident involving Tim Harris, Philip Metzger and Scott Rarick to finish second ahead of yet another teenager, Chris Spreitzer.

Haye's Sunday charge earned him the Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award.

Tom Hope, from Anaheim, was the best-placed National class finisher on both days in his trusty #10 DART/Nordskog Van Diemen RF98. The result was a welcome reward for his H&H Motorsports team, which had encountered a variety of problems over the first two race weekends of the season. Hope even was forced to skip the Friday test day when his transporter suffered a gearbox meltdown on the way to the race track.

Podlesni jumped into the lead at the start of Saturday's 12-lap race and quickly pulled away from his pursuers. Haye, from Huntington Beach, Calif., maintained second position from the start in his #4 PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ05, but soon slipped into the clutches of Modisette, from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., who was displaying by far his most impressive form to date in the #26 Carson Trailer/Ray Stephens Racing Van Diemen RF01.

Modisette overtook Haye on lap two and held second position until the very last lap when Hundley, from North Hollywood, Calif., slipped past at the Mazda Hairpin to secure his best-ever Pacific F2000 finish aboard the G.FRO team's #31 NAPA/Denso/The Limousine Connection Van Diemen RF05.

Modisette was relatively content with his first-ever podium result, while Haye overcame some handling difficulties to finish fourth.

The best battle of the race raged for fifth, with Harris (#20 Apex Fire Systems/Ray Stephens Racing Mygale SJ05), from Irvine, Calif., emerging from a thrilling three-wide encounter on the front straightaway to snatch the position ahead of Al Salvo (#23 Miracle Sealants/PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ04), from Arcadia, Calif., and Bob Negron (#25 fengshui5.com Van Diemen RF99), from San Jose, Calif.

Sunday's race was equally eventful, and began with a bang, literally, when Modisette and Hundley collided at the first corner. Modisette was adjudged to have been the primary instigator of the incident by Chief Steward Peter West and was penalized five championship points.

Following a brief full-course caution to clear away the wreckage, Podlesni again disappeared off into the distance. In his wake, a magnificent battle was waged for second place between Harris and 16-year-old Metzger (#29 PM Motorsports/Sovereign Energy/G.FRO Van Diemen RF05), from Littleton, Colo., who had qualified a strong second The pair exchanged places several times before attempting to occupy the same piece of real estate at the Esses on lap 11...with predictable results. Both spun, and the unfortunate Rarick (#34 Piper/Red Line Piper DF5), from Santa Monica, Calif., who was running close behind, also went off the road in avoidance.

The fracas elevated Haye from fifth to second place, capping a magnificent charge by the youngster. Spreitzer, 19, from Phoenix, Ariz., also drove a fine race, rising from 11th on the grid to complete the podium in his #7 Anglo American Road Racing/Climatec Inc./BWM Motorsports Van Diemen RF02.

RESULTS:

Saturday qualifying:

1. Robert Podlesni (Van Diemen RF03), 1m43.896s; 2. Nick Haye (Mygale SJ05), 1m44.942s; 3. Chris Hundley (Van Diemen RF05), 1m45.588s; 4. Shaun Modisette (Van Diemen RF01), 1m45.605s; 5. Al Salvo (Mygale SJ04), 1m45.846s; 6. Bob Negron (Van Diemen RF99), 1m45.864s; 7. Scott Rarick (Piper DF5), 1m45.930s; 8. Tim Harris (Mygale SJ05), 1m45.960s; 9. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m46.304s; 10. Fiorenzo Tirinnanzi (Van Diemen RF03), 1m46.372s; 11. Philip Metzger (Van Diemen RF05), 1m46.491s; 12. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m46.850s; 13. John Lombardo (Van Diemen RF05), 1m46.884s; 14. Nicky Freytag (Van Diemen RF06), 1m48.716s; 15. Peter Hansel (Van Diemen RF02), 1m48.850s; 16. Tom Hope (Van Diemen RF98-Pinto/H&H), 1m49.298s; 17. Nick Belling (Van Diemen RF97-Pinto/Ivey), 1m51.201s; 18. Dennis Goughary (Carbir DS3-Pinto/Elite), 1m52.407s; 19. Thomas Copeland (Van Diemen RF00-Pinto/Quicksilver), 2m01.930s; 20. Chris Spreitzer (Van Diemen RF02), no time.

(All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines unless noted)

Round 5 (12 laps): 1. Podlesni, 21m21.587s; 2. Hundley, 21m31.072s; 3. Modisette, 21m31.263s; 4. Haye, 21m33.950s; 5. Harris, 21m38.424s; 6. Salvo, 21m42.119s; 7. Negron, 21m42.934s; 8. Metzger, 21m43.524s; 9. Rarick, 21m45.319s; 10. Spreitzer, 21m49.724s; 11. Phillips, 21m51.808s; 12. Tirinnanzi, 21m53.448s; 13. Hastrup, 22m06.874s; 14. Hope, 22m17.916s; 15. Hansel, 22m18.057s; 16. Goughary, 22m47.749s; 17. Freytag, 22m52.386s; 18. Belling, 23m20.548s; 19. Copeland, 23m32.524s; DNS Lombardo.

Margin of victory: 9.485s.

Winner's average speed: 98.428 mph.

Fastest race lap: Podlesni, 1m45.331, 99.800 mph.

National class winner (Pinto engines): Hope.

Masters class winner (over 40): Hundley.

Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award: Spreitzer.

Sunday qualifying:

1. Podlesni, 1m44.952s; 2. Metzger, 1m45.952s; 3. Modisette, 1m46.237s; 4. Hundley, 1m46.253s; 5. Harris, 1m46.256s; 6. Lombardo, 1m46.302s; 7. Negron, 1m46.409s; 8. Salvo, 1m46.714s; 9. Rarick, 1m46.995s; 10. Phillips, 1m47.255s; 11. Spreitzer, 1m47.331s; 12. Hansel, 1m47.750s; 13. Hastrup, 1m47.879s; 14. Freytag, 1m48.852s; 15. Hope, 1m49.348s; 16. Belling, 1m49.514s; 17. Goughary, 1m51.211s; 18. Haye, 1m52.156s; 19. Copeland, 1m54.886s.

Round 6 (12 laps): 1. Podlesni, 23m46.473s; 2. Haye, 23m56.141s; 3. Spreitzer, 23m57.366s; 4. Salvo, 24m01.629s; 5. Hastrup, 24m02.149s; 6. Phillips, 24m03.274s; 7. Negron, 24m 03.493s; 8. Lombardo, 24m06.079s; 9. Rarick, 24m15.959s; 10. Hope, 24m18.581s; 11. Hansel, 24m30.291s; 12. Belling, 24m30.797s; 13. Goughary, 24m37.102s; 14. Freytag, 24m37.685s (includes 2-second penalty for passing under yellow flags); 15. Metzger, 10 laps, not running/accident; 16. Harris, 10 laps, not running/accident; 17. Copeland, 3 laps, not running/gearbox; 18. Hundley, 0 laps, not running/accident; 19. Modisette, 0 laps, not running/accident.

Margin of victory: 9.668.

Average speed: 88.431mph.

Fastest race lap: Podlesni, 1m46.051s, 99.122mph.

National class winner: Hope.

Masters class winner: Salvo.

Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award: Haye.

Unofficial point positions (after 6 rounds): 1. Podlesni, 176; 2. Harris, 119; 3. Haye, 112; 4. Spreitzer, 81; 5. Rarick & Phillips, 73; 7. Dominik Jackson, 61; 8. Hundley & Salvo, 60; 10. Modisette, 52; 11. Hastrup, 50; 12. Lombardo & Negron, 49; etc.

-js-

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