CHAMPION WHELDON LEADS PRIMUS RACING SWEEP IN SEBRING F2000 FINALE
SEBRING, Fla. (October 17, 1999)-Recently-crowned champion Dan Wheldon led teammates Daniel Muniz and Mark Dismore to a Primus Racing 1-2-3 finish to close out the 1999 U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision season in an exciting Sebring season finale. Guy Cosmo clinched the American Continental Championship for older cars
Wheldon, who clinched the season championship with a win at Sebring on Saturday, started from the pole in the No. 5 Jayhard/Primus Racing Van Diemen Ford, and led the first 11 laps of the 15-lap, 55.5-mile contest. Coming off of a lap-12 restart, Ireland's Jeff Wright got the jump on the Englishman and took the point in turn one. Wright's No. 24 Jetboy/Casabella Van Diemen Ford led Wheldon until turn five on the final lap, when Wright lost control and slid into the tire wall
Wheldon sped away to a 4.008-second win over Muniz, averaging 81.508 mph.
"Actually I thought I had a better jump on Jeff then I really had," said Wheldon, 21. "I went a little wide on the exit and he was real intelligent and got the position. I kept the pressure on, and he just lost it. This is a fantastic result for Primus Racing. Our engineer John Hayes deserves a lot of the credit. We're all very young and he worked with all of us the entire season and made us better drivers. It's going to be a great party tonight!"
Muniz, who started fifth in the No. 7 Texaco-Havoline/Visa Aval Van Diemen Ford, moved past Dismore on the seventh lap to take third and moved to second after Wright dropped to 17th. The second was a career-best for the Costa Rican, who celebrated with over 50 countrymen, who were flown in by sponsor Texaco as a promotion prize.
"I'm really happy," said Muniz, 19. "We've been trying all season long to get here. Since mid-season we've really had some momentum going, but I've still got more step to go."
Dismore finished third for the second-straight race in the No. 13 Monster.com Van Diemen Ford. The 19-year-old moved into fourth in the Championship, with 199 points. T.J. Bell, who finished fourth in the race, also finished with 199 points, taking third in the championship based on more second-place finishes.
"I want a re-count!" said Dismore. "I'm really happy with the result today. I thought I could hold my spot but the car got loose and Daniel [Muniz] went around me. I tried to catch him but he just had to much for me today."
Mexican Rolando Quintanilla finished fifth, behind Bell, earning the Taylor Race Engineering "Shark" award for improving the most positions from his 19th starting spot.
Cosmo, of South Setauket, N.Y., captured the American Continental Championship for older cars based on his 13th overall finish in the No. 12 K.C. Tech/Nordan/Valvoline Van Diemen Ford. Cosmo came into the race three points behind then-leader Mike Durand, but took the class lead on lap three and never looked back. Cosmo took a 5.426-second win over Daniel Urrutia Jr. Durand finished fourth.
"This year has been a little tough, because I get over exuberant sometimes running with the 'A' cars not in my class," said Cosmo, 22. "Yesterday, I had that problem, and Mark [Dismore] and I came together. Today, my crew just told me to stay calm and keep it together. Yesterday was yesterday, and today I won the Championship."
Wheldon finished the season with 315 points; followed by Marc-Antoine Camirand, who retired with a mechanical failure, with 266 points; Bell, with 199; Dismore, with 199; and Steve Rikert, with 198.
SEBRING, Fla. - Race results from Sunday's 15-lap, 55.5-mile U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision season finale, part of the October SpeedFest Weekend at Sebring International Raceway, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. (1), Dan Wheldon (R), England, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 2. (5), Daniel Muniz (R), San Jose Costa Rica, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 3. (7), Mark Dismore (R), Greenfield, Ind., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 4. (12), T.J. Bell, Sparks, Nev., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 5. (19), Rolando Quintanilla, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 6. (8), Bobby Oergel, Fresno, Calif., F2A, Mygale Ford, 15. 7. (4), Harold Primat (R), New York, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 8. (20), Larry Oberto, Seattle, Wash., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 9. (10), Nick Grommes (R), Yorkville, Ill., F2A, Carbir Ford, 15. 10. (14), Piero Rodarte (R), Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 11. (18), JW Urlin (R), London, Ontario, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 12. (29), Alejandro Garcia, Venezuela, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 13. (17), Guy Cosmo, South Selauket, N.Y., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 14. (6), Steve Rikert, Rhinebeck, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 15. (15), Daniel Urrutia_Jr. (R), Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 16. (25), David Webb, Clearwater, Fla., ACC, Swift Ford, 15. 17. (3), Jeff Wright (R), Ireland, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 18. (27), Bob Wright, Old Chatham, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 19. (21), Mike Durand (R), Wayland, Mass., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 20. (13), Dick Fairbanks, Hyannis, Mass., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 21. (16), Georges Forgeois (R), New York, N.Y., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 22. (30), Paul Kesselring (R), Sarasota, Fla., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 15. 23. (26), Brett Harrison (R), Everett, Wash., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 24. (23), Jeff Butcher (R), Boca Raton, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 25. (22), Bryce Miller (R), Bernardsville, N.J., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 14, ACC. 26. (24), Jacek Mucha, Laval Quebec, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 14. 27. (9), Marc-Antoine Camirand, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 10, ENGINE. 28. (2), Andy Lally, Northport, N.Y., F2A, Carbir Ford, 7, ACC. 29. (11), Jonathan Bottoms, Buffalo, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 7, ACC. 30. (28), Steve Butcher (R), DelRay Beach, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0, DNS. Time of race: 40 minutes, 51.280 seconds. Average speed: 81.508 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 4.0079 seconds Fastest race lap: Jeff Wright (R), 2:09.511 (102.848 mph), Record Lap leaders: Laps 1-11, Wheldon; laps 12-14, Wright; lap 15, Wheldon Cautions: one for three laps.
Final Point Standings Top-10 1, Dan Wheldon, 315 2, Marc-Antoine Camirand, 266 3, T.J. Bell, 199 4, Mark E. Dismore, 199 5, Steve Rikert, 198 6, Bobby Oergel, 195 7, Daniel Muniz, 184 8, Jonathan Bottoms, 145 9, Rolando Quintanilla, 141 10, Aaron Justus, 132
American Continental Championship Final Top-Five 1, Guy Cosmo, 120 2, Mike Durand, 112 3, Brett Harrison, 102 4, Georges Forgeois, 77 5, Greg Schings, 63