NA-F2000: Ricardo Vassmer Mid-Ohio summary

Vassmer Gets a Third and a Fourth In Mid-Ohio FF2000 Action LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 17 - Ricardo Vassmer recorded his fourth podium finish in a row in National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 action Saturday at the ...

Vassmer Gets a Third and a Fourth In Mid-Ohio FF2000 Action

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 17 - Ricardo Vassmer recorded his fourth podium finish in a row in National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 action Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

He finished fourth in a similar event here on Sunday to post his sixth-straight top-four finish in the 14-race series, which will conclude next weekend with another doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Vassmer, of Caracas, Venezuela and Coral Springs, Fla., finished third on Saturday with his JDC Motorsports No. 25. His car is sponsored by Zoom, a top courier service; Meridiano Television and Santa Barbara Airlines.

Only Cape Motorsports' J.R. Hildebrand and Dane Cameron finished ahead of him on Saturday, marking the fourth race in a row where the podium finishers were the same drivers. That streak started back in June a little north of here in Cleveland. It was the third race in a row where the podium finishers were the same people in the same finishing positions.

With the victory on Saturday Hildebrand clinched the series' championship. A driver's two worst finishes of the year are dropped when calculating the final point standings, and with drops Vassmer is unofficially third, just 38 points out of second, going into the season-ending doubleheader.

Although Hildebrand had an easy time winning both races at Mid-Ohio this weekend, Vassmer was a star of the most exciting battles both days.

Vassmer started fourth in Saturday's race but he passed Chris Meredith for third on lap one. He stayed in third the entire way, withstanding numerous challenges from Meredith in what was the battle of the race. In the process Vassmer set the third-fastest lap of the event to give him the inside starting spot in row two for Sunday's event.

"I had a good start," Vassmer said afterwards. "I stuck on [Dane] Cameron's gearbox going into Turn One, and that's how I got by [Chris] Meredith.

"He was able to close up on me a couple times, and he got real close once in Turn Eight, but I worked with my swaybar and my car got better and better as the race went on," Vassmer elaborated about his battle with Meredith. "At the end traffic helped me a little too. He raced me clean; I'll just have to try to go faster tomorrow."

After starting third on Sunday he got trapped on the outside coming out of Turn One on lap one and slipped to fifth.

"There was no room on the inside at the start, so I was on the outside coming out of one," Vassmer said afterwards. "If I didn't lift I would have hit them, and that's where they passed me."

Cameron, the polesitter, ran into problems later on that lap. He damaged his car's wing and dropped out with two laps down, advancing Vassmer to fourth.

Vassmer stayed in fourth the rest of the way, running in the back of a three-car pack duking it out for second place. In the process he set the second-fastest lap of the race.

"I wasn't close enough to get them; my car was pushing badly," Vassmer said in the post-race tech inspection line. "I was like a half-car-length off Chris all the time. I was catching him before the Keyhole, but then he'd get ahead of me in the esses, and that's the only place I could have passed him. I just couldn't get a good enough run on him today, but it was a good close battle.

"In the morning warm-up the car was a little loose," he added. "We made some changes, and in the afternoon for the race the track was pretty hot and my front tires were used up at the end.

"Cameron didn't earn any points today, so second through fifth will all come down to next weekend at Road America," he noted. Those races will be support events to a Champ Car World Series headliner.

-credit: ricardovassmer.com

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