WHELDON CLINCHES F2000 CHAMPIONSHIP WITH FLAG-TO-FLAG SEBRING WIN
SEBRING, Fla. - English rookie Dan Wheldon clinched the 1999 U.S. F2000 National Championship with a dominating win at the October SpeedFest Weekend in race one of the Sebring International Raceway doubleheader. Andy Lally, of Northport, N.Y., finished 6.331 seconds behind, followed by Mark Dismore, of Greenfield, Ind. Wheldon, who started from the pole in the No. 5 Jayhard/Primus Racing Van Diemen Ford, led flag-to-flag, averaging 87.740 mph in the 15-lap, 55.5-mile contest, and clinched the title when chief rival Marc-Antoine Camirand, of Canada, finished fourth. Camirand needed to finish third to have a chance at the title in Sunday's season finale. "I've won a lot of races, but never won a championship in my life," said Wheldon, 21. "My engineer John Hayes honed me into a champion this year and I really need to thank my team. The car this weekend was great the minute we pulled it out of the trailer. Sebring is definitely my favorite track anywhere." Lally started third in the No. 72 Tyrolean Auto Sport Carbir Ford and came out on top of a race-long battle with several different competitors, including Steve Rikert, Jeff Wright, Jonathan Bottoms and Daniel Muniz. "Coming into this weekend, we've done a lot of development on the Carbir," said Lally. "We came here to win, but we're happy with second. The whole race was a good fight, and then on the last lap, I looked in my mirrors and everyone was gone." Dismore inherited third in the No. 13 monster.com Van Diemen Ford on the last lap, as three cars dropped off the fight for second. First, Bottoms went hard into the tires in turn one when his suspension broke, and then Muniz and Rikert tangled, dropping back to fifth and 10th, respectively. No drivers were injured in any incidents. "I was able to pass a lot of cars at the beginning, but then I got caught behind a slow car and fell back a bunch of spots," said Dismore. "Marc-Antoine [Camirand] and I battled for a few laps and that slowed us down. We've had a lot of bad luck this year, but I guess No. 13 was lucky for us today." After finishing fourth, Camirand can only pull within one point of Wheldon in the season finale Sunday. Muniz, of Costa Rica, finished fifth. Heading into the last round, factoring in the series "drop" rule, which throws out a drivers' worst two results, Wheldon leads Camirand 284 to 253; followed by Rikert, 191 points; and T.J. Bell and Bobby Oergel, with 180 points. Mike Durand took the American Continental Championship win and points lead for older cars, with former leader Guy Cosmo spinning into the wall on lap two. Alejandro Garcia, of Venezuela, earned the Taylor Race Engineering "Shark" award for improving from 27th to finish ninth.
SEBRING, Fla. - Race results from Saturday's 15-lap, 55.5-mile U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision Round 13 race, 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. (3), Andy Lally, Northport, N.Y., F2A, Carbir Ford, 15. 3. (10), Mark Dismore (R), Greenfield, Ind., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 4. (12), Marc-Antoine Camirand, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 5. (5), Daniel Muniz (R), San Jose, Costa Rica, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 6. (4), Nick Grommes (R), Yorkville, Ill., F2A, Carbir Ford, 15. 7. (7), T.J. Bell, Sparks, Nev., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 8. (13), Bobby Oergel, Fresno, Calif., F2A, Mygale Ford, 15. 9. (27), Alejandro Garcia, Venezuela, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 10. (2), Steve Rikert, Rhinebeck, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 11. (8), Piero Rodarte (R), Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 12. (14), Rolando Quintanilla, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 13. (21), Mike Durand (R), Wayland, Mass., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 14. (15), Harold Primat (R), New York, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 15. (23), Dick Fairbanks, Hyannis, Mass., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 16. (30), Brett Harrison (R), Everett, Wash., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 17. (24), David Webb, Clearwater, Fla., ACC, Swift Ford, 15. 18. (17), Paul Kesselring (R), Sarasota, Fla., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 15. 19. (28), Bob Wright, Old Chatham, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 20. (25), Georges Forgeois (R), New York, N.Y., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 21. (29), Daniel Urrutia_Jr. (R), Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 15. 22. (11), Jonathan Bottoms, Buffalo, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 14, ACC. 23. (20), JW Urlin (R), London, Ontario, Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 14, n.a. 24. (6), Jeff Wright (R), Ireland, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 10. 25. (16), Larry Oberto, Seattle, Wash., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 5, IGNITION. 26. (26), Jeff Butcher (R), Boca Raton, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 4, TIRES. 27. (22), Jacek Mucha, Laval, Quebec, Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 2, n.a. 28. (19), Guy Cosmo, South Selauket, N.Y., ACC, Van Diemen Ford, 1, OFF. 29. (18), Steve Butcher (R), DelRay Beach, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1, OFF. 30. (9), Bryce Miller (R), Bernardsville, N.J., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 0, DNS. Time of race: 37 minutes, 57.173 seconds. Average race speed: 87.740 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 6.3310 seconds Fastest race lap: Nick Grommes, 2:10.698 (101.914 mph), Record Lap leaders: Laps 1-15, Wheldon Cautions: One for three laps.
U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision National Championship Point Standings After 13 of 14 Rounds (drivers' worst two finishes dropped) 1, Dan Wheldon, 284 (clinched Championship) 2, Marc-Antoine Camirand, 253 3, Steve Rikert, 191 4, T.J. Bell, 180 Bobby Oergel, 180 6, Mark Dismore, 177 7, Daniel Muniz, 159 8, Jonathan Bottoms, 144 9, Aaron Justus, 132 10, Rolando Quintanilla, 124 11, Andy Lally, 117 12, Harold Primat, 86 13, Bryce Miller, 74 14, Tommy Constantine, 73 15, Alejandro Garcia, 71