NA-F2000: Pacific: Fontana summary

Haye, Spreitzer Join List of First-Time Pacific F2000 Winners at Fontana Fontana, Calif. (July 16, 2006) -- The action was hot and heavy when the Pacific F2000 Championship visited California Speedway this weekend -- and so was the weather....

Haye, Spreitzer Join List of First-Time Pacific F2000 Winners at Fontana

Fontana, Calif. (July 16, 2006) -- The action was hot and heavy when the Pacific F2000 Championship visited California Speedway this weekend -- and so was the weather. But that didn't stop a pair of teenagers, Nick Haye, from Huntington Beach, Calif., and Chris Spreitzer, from Phoenix, Ariz., from scoring hard-earned maiden victories.

The weather was particularly oppressive on Saturday, which began predictably enough with points leader Robert Podlesni, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., celebrating his new-found support from Alpinestars by planting Dave Freitas Racing's #84 Van Diemen firmly on pole position. It was equally unsurprising to see Haye backing up his pair of second-place finishes in the most recent races by qualifying second fastest in the #4 PR1 Motorsports Mygale.

The two 18-year-olds soon distanced themselves from their pursuers and staged a thrilling battle for the lead which raged virtually throughout the 13-lap race. Going into the final lap, Podlesni drafted past Haye on the Turn One/Two banking and grasped the lead going into Turn Three. Unbowed, Haye fought back under braking for the infield hairpin. But then there was contact, and both cars went spinning.

The unfortunate Podlesni was eliminated on the spot due to broken rear suspension, ending his current win streak at four, but Haye was able to recover just in time to hold off the fast-closing #34 Piper DS5 of former SCCA Formula Ford National Champion Scott Rarick, from Santa Monica, Calif., by a scant 0.610 second.

"That was definitely the most intense race I've had so far," related Haye. "Robert got past me on the last lap but I got a really good run on him and drafted him into the hairpin corner. That was my only chance to make a move, so I went for it. [The contact] was unfortunate but I was on the inside. It's my first win and I'm really excited about it."

Spreitzer drove through the field to a superb third place, having started only 12th after his #7 Anglo American Road Racing/Bill Wilson Motorsports Van Diemen suffered a flat tire in qualifying. The ever-improving Shaun Modisette (#26 Carson Trailer/Ray Stephens Racing Van Diemen), from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., narrowly held off veteran Peter Hastrup (#5 Western Building Materials/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen), from Fresno, Calif., and Peter Hansel (#96 BHP Brakes/Comar Performance Van Diemen), from Huntington Beach, Calif., for fourth.

Spreitzer earned the Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award, while Hastrup took the honors as the first Masters contender (over 40 years old). Huntington Beach, Calif.'s Dennis Goughary (#24 Shamrock Investments Carbir DS3) was the first National class finisher (for older, Pinto-engined cars) in 12th.

There was drama immediately after the start of Sunday's race when fifth-place qualifier Mark Peller (#33 Van Diemen), from Huntington Beach, tangled wheels with Haye and both cars speared heavily into the SAFER barriers in Turn One of the high-speed oval. Thankfully, both drivers escaped their badly damaged cars without serious injury.

After a lengthy clean-up, the restarted race was peppered with various other incidents which resulted in a couple of full-course cautions and a trail of damaged cars dotted around the 2.88-mile oval/road course. Modisette led briefly before removing his car's nose on an errant marker cone and slipping to fifth. Championship leader Podlesni also lost his car's nose when he inadvertently punted Spreitzer between Turns Three and Four. He eventually finished sixth behind veteran Les Phillips (#89 Swiss Motorsports Mygale), from Bakersfield, Calif., and Modisette.

Rarick and surprise fellow front row Hansel took up the running before Spreitzer picked off both of them to earn an impressive win.

"It's awesome to have the first win," said Spreitzer, "especially with the field as competitive as it is. It feels great to have the first win after being on the podium a bunch of times. It was fun."

Rarick was disappointed to finish as runner-up for the second successive day.

"I just couldn't seem to drive as well in a straight line," he said, with more than hint of irony. "We had the race sewn up until that last restart, but there was nothing I could do on the straightaways."

Hansel was thrilled to take a well-deserved first podium finish and the Masters honors.

Jim Johnston, from Denver, Colo., took the Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award, rising from 16th on the grid to seventh, while Goughary again claimed the National class honors.

RESULTS -- California Speedway, July 15/16, 2006:

Saturday qualifying:
1. Robert Podlesni (Van Diemen RF03), 1m42.801s; 2. Nick Haye (Mygale SJ05), 1m42.870s; 3. Scott Rarick (Piper DS5), 1m43.157s; 4. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m43.320s; 5. Shaun Modisette (Van Diemen RF01), 1m43.681s; 6. Peter Hansel (Van Diemen RF02), 1m43.721s; 7. Mark Peller (Van Diemen RF03), 1m44.112s; 8. Peter West (Van Diemen RF01), 1m44.300s; 9. Al Salvo (Mygale SJ04), 1m44.340s; 10. Greg Minium (Mygale SJ03), 1m44.382s; 11. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m44.759s; 12. Chris Spreitzer (Van Diemen RF02), 1m44.815s; 13. Tom Hope (Van Diemen RF98-Pinto/H&H), 1m44.999s; 14. Bill Kincaid (Van Diemen RF01-Pinto), 1m45.033s; 15. Tim Harris (Mygale SJ05), 1m45.433s; 16. Bob Negron (Van Diemen RF99), 1m45.644s; 17. Jim Johnston (Van Diemen RF03), 1m45.898s; 18. Dennis Goughary (Carbir DS3-Pinto/Elite), 1m47.308s.

(All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines unless noted)

Round 7 (13 laps):
1. Haye, 22m39.254s; 2. Rarick, 22m39.864s; 3. Spreitzer, 22m44.863s; 4. Modisette, 22m46.651s; 5. Hastrup, 22m47.268s; 6. Hansel, 22m47.556s; 7. Salvo, 22m55.620s; 8. Phillips, 23m02.279s; 9. Minium, 23m02.424s; 10. Harris, 23m03.791s; 11. West, 23m10.239s; 12. Goughary, 24m34.488s; 13. Podlesni, 12 laps, not running, accident; 14. Peller, 8 laps, not running, gearbox; 15. Hope, 7 laps, not running, engine; 16. Johnston, 2 laps, not running, alternator; 17. Kinkaid, 0 laps, not running, electrical; DNS Negron, accident.

Margin of victory: 0.610s.
Winner's average speed: 99.160 mph.
Fastest race lap: Haye, 1m42.926, 100.733 mph.
National class winner (Pinto engines): Goughary.
Masters class winner (over 40): Hastrup.
Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award: Spreitzer.

Sunday qualifying:
1. Rarick, 1m42.270s; 2. Hansel, 1m42.403s; 3. Spreitzer, 1m42.427s; 4. Podlesni, 1m42.475s; 5. Peller, 1m42.651s; 6. Modisette, 1m42.882s; 7. Hastrup, 1m43.181s; 8. Haye, 1m43.188s; 9. Salvo, 1m43.938s; 10. Harris, 1m43.956s; 11. Phillips, 1m44.008s; 12. Minium, 1m44.227s; 13. Kincaid, 1m44.491s; 14. West, 1m44.709s; 15. Goughary, 1m45.246s; 16. Johnston, 1m45.554s; DNS Negron, Hope.

Round 8 (8 laps):
1. Spreitzer, 38m07.067s; 2. Rarick, 38m07.310s; 3. Hansel, 38m07.797s; 4. Phillips, 38m09.462s; 5. Modisette, 38m11.358s; 6. Podlesni, 38m11.823s; 7. Minium, 38m13.278s; 8. Johnston, 38m14.689s; 9. West, 38m14.984s; 10. Goughary, 38m17.884s; 11. Harris, 38m18.482s; 12. Kincaid, 6 laps, not running, suspension damage; 13. Hastrup, 1 lap, not running/accident; 14. Salvo, 1 lap, not running/accident; 15. Peller, 0 laps, not running/accident; 16. Haye, 0 laps, not running/accident.

Margin of victory: 0.243.
Average speed: 36.267mph.
Fastest race lap: Spreitzer, 1m43.362s, 100.308mph.
National class winner: Goughary.
Masters class winner: Hansel.
Nordskog Instruments Hard Charger Award: Johnston.

Unofficial point positions (after 8 rounds):
1. Podlesni, 201; 2. Haye, 149; 3. Harris, 140; 4. Spreitzer, 135; 5. Rarick, 125; 6. Phillips, 105; 7. Modisette, 88; 8. Salvo, 81; 9. Hastrup, 75; 10. Dominik Jackson, 61; 11. Chris Hundley, 60; 12. Peller, 5; etc.

-pacificf2000.com

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