NA-F2000: Phoenix Race Story

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 18, 2000)-- Polesitter Aaron Justus, of Crestline, Calif., took his third-career U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision win at Sunday's 50.0-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway, part of the...

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 18, 2000)-- Polesitter Aaron Justus, of Crestline, Calif., took his third-career U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision win at Sunday's 50.0-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway, part of the MCI WorldCom 200 weekend. Tony Buffomante, of Streamwood, Ill., and Marc-Antoine Camirand, of St. Leonard D'Aston, Quebec, completed the top three. Driving the No. 32 Forsythe Indeck Racing/Torco Van Diemen Ford, Justus took the lead into turn one, holding the advantage before Bufomante challenged on a lap-11 restart, taking the point on lap 15. Justus immediately counter-attacked, retaking the lead on lap 16 in turn one. The following lap, Buffomante retook the point, but was forced to relinquish the position when JW Urlin crashed in turn three, bringing out the yellow flag. On the lap-22 restart, Justus and Buffomante resumed their battle for the lead with Camirand joining the fray. A lap-42 caution for debris set up a three-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Once again, Justus and Buffomante battled for the lead, with Justus holding on to a 0.099-second win, averaging 78.269 mph. The win put Justus in both the National Championship and Road To Indy Oval Crown Championship point lead. "It's huge for me to repay Forsythe Indeck's faith in me by scoring a win in the opening race," said Justus. "Every win is important in securing my future in racing. "I wasn't expecting to battle for the lead lap after lap. I didn't know Tony before, but I have a lot of respect for him know. We raced side-by-side most of the race and never had any real close calls." Buffomante, driving the No. 23 Sears Tire Group/SpeedCom/MXK.com Van Diemen Ford, made a great return to racing after a one year hiatus. Starting on the front row in his first U.S. F2000 race since 1994, Buffomante repeatedly challenged for the lead, recording his first-career podium finish. "It's certainly more exciting than watching it on television, like last year," said Buffomante. "The late yellow was not what we wanted. The car handled a lot better on longer runs." Driving the No. 96 Key Motorsport Van Diemen Ford, Camirand, who started fourth, slowly reeled in the leaders throughout the race. After a brief challenge on the leaders, Camirand settled into a comfortable third position. On the final lap of the race, he set a new lap record of 130.662 mph (27.552 seconds). "Key Motorsport gave me a very good car today," said Camirand, who won the event flag-to-flag in 1999. "The car was very fast in long runs, but we ran out rpm's in fourth gear in the draft which hurt." Ian Lacy, of N. Las Vegas, Nev., and Irish rookie Peter Walsh completed the top-five. While there were three cautions for incidents, none of the drivers involved were injured.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Marc-Antoine Camirand , Aaron Justus , Ian Lacy