NA-F2000: Ricardo Vassmer Mid-Ohio race notes

Vassmer Finishes Sixth and 13th In FF2000 Doubleheader At Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, May 21 - Ricardo Vassmer was extremely fast in Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, but various challenges kept...

Vassmer Finishes Sixth and 13th In FF2000 Doubleheader At Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio, May 21 - Ricardo Vassmer was extremely fast in Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, but various challenges kept him off the podium. He finished sixth in Saturday's race and 13th Sunday in the doubleheader that supported the American Le Mans Series headliner.

The talented young driver from Caracas, Venezuela had hoped to do much better here, but this weekend his racing luck vacillated as much as the weather, which went from rainy and cold to crystal clear and beautiful.

Driving the Comprent Motorsports No. 25 and carrying the colors of Meridiano Television and Santa Barbara Airlines, Vassmer's best result this weekend came in Saturday's 30-minute contest on the 2.25-mile road course, when he finished sixth after starting 16th.

Vassmer had set the fourth-fastest lap in Saturday's race so he lined up in that position for the start of Sunday's race. He got off to a good start but then damaged his front wing when he clipped a curb in Turn 11, which forced him down in the standings. He finished 13th, holding off veteran Scott Rubenzer at the checkered.

The roller coaster ride even occurred in Friday's qualifying session. Vassmer had just set the third-fastest lap in quals when he developed a mechanical problem and hit the tire wall in the last turn a little past eight minutes into the 30-minute session.

The car had to be towed out with a tow rope, and when it returned to pit lane its nose and front wing were too damaged for it to continue. No replacement part was available in the pits, and Vassmer had to wait on pit road while his rivals continued to turn laps and push him to 16th overall with a 1:27.083. "Something happened with the car; it wouldn't go out of third gear and I went into the tire wall," he said afterwards.

Although he started 16th in Saturday race, Vassmer made the move of the weekend at the start of that race and he was eighth when the first full-course yellow waved on lap four. He was still in that spot on lap 13 when he was involved in the best battle at that point as he tried to pass Noah Bystrom and Andy Knight. He passed Knight for seventh place on lap 15 and he got sixth on the last lap when he dove by Bystrom.

Sunday's race was another one of ups and downs. He got off to a great start but then clipped a curb and damaged his wing. He had slipped to tenth by lap two and he was 13th on lap five. From that point on he just did his best to hold on to 13th place. He was 14th in the late stages of the race but he ended up back in 13th at the checkered when Chris Meredith, who had been running fourth, disappeared from the scoring monitor.

J.R. Hildebrand won both races easily over Jason Byers. Meredith was third on Saturday and Dane Cameron was third on Sunday.

The next FF2000 doubleheader will be held at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore. June 17-18, where Vassmer will be competing as a member of JDC Motorsports. Then it's off to Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio June 23-25; Exhibition Place in Toronto July 7-9; Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario Sept. 1-3 and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Sept. 22-24. Doubleheaders are held at each venue.

More information is available on the Internet at ricardovassmer.com, cooperseries.com and eformulacarnews.com.

Post-race quotes follow:

Saturday: "The front tires finally hooked up at the end. I passed Bystrom on the last lap and did a 26 flat; the last lap was perfect. The car was pushing before that.

"I passed two cars right way on the outside of Turn Seven, just when Cameron crashed. Three guys spun in front of me, and then I was behind Metzger when he had his problem. I passed Jackson on the inside of Turn Seven but then he passed me back. Then Knight lost momentum and I got around him, and about that time my car started working a lot better. I passed Bystrom in Turn One when he made a mistake. I had to really use a defensive line in the Keyhole. We were using the same tires we used at Atlanta because we just couldn't get new tires to come in fast enough here."

Sunday: "On the first lap I gained a position but then I lost it, so I was still in fifth. The car's set-up was too soft. I tried to keep up with the leaders but I just couldn't.

"Then I just hit a curb in Turn 11 at just the wrong angle and it bent the left side of the wing, and I just lost a lot of positions after that. I tried to defend a couple of times, but... I also might have touched Chris Meredith once. I don't think I did because I didn't feel anything, but it was close.

"I'll be running with JDC at Portland and for the rest of the season, but I want to thank Comprent Motorsports for everything they did for me. JDC is a multi-car team; my new teammates will be Juliana Gonzalez from Columbia, Noah Bystrom and Gerry Kraut. I've never been to Portland before, but I hope to do better there."

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Chris Meredith , Dane Cameron , J.R. Hildebrand , Gerry Kraut