Blistered Tire Stops Lally's Thrilling Charge In Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 Season Opener at Phoenix PHOENIX, March 28 - In only three green-flag laps, Highcroft Racing's Andy Lally passed 14 cars in...
Blistered Tire Stops Lally's Thrilling Charge In Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 Season Opener at Phoenix
PHOENIX, March 28 - In only three green-flag laps, Highcroft Racing's Andy Lally passed 14 cars in Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 season opener opener at Phoenix International Raceway. Two more green-flag laps later he'd passed four more cars and was up to 13th, and hopes were high for the Northport, N.Y.-based driver and his Bowman BC5.
Unfortunately, the entire complexion of the race changed at that point. The last 32 laps were run under green, which took a heavy toll on the Bowman's right-rear tire. It developed a blister which got progressively worse, thwarting Lally's stellar charge through the field. He ended up 19th in the final rundown.
"When the track and the tires were cold, we were flying," Lally said, "but by the end of the race it was absolutely disastrous. I thought I was gone more than once."
Just finishing the race - and finishing it with one's car unscathed - was an accomplishment. "That six-car pileup in turn two happened right in front of me," Lally noted, speaking of a lap-nine accident involving Jon Groom, Alejandro Garcia, T.J. Bell, Galen Puccini, Richard Zimmerman and Andy Paterson.
Lally had to start way back in 31st place in the 33-car field because his car's clutch bearing seized right before he was to qualify.
Polesitter Marc-Antoine Camirand led wire-to-wire to win the 50-lap race on PIR's 1-mile oval. Dan Wheldon was second and Steve Rikert finished third.
Coverage of the event is scheduled to be shown on Speedvision at 9 p.m. Eastern on Monday, April 19.