Howard Scores First Zetec Championship Win in Infineon Thriller SONOMA, CALIF. (July 18, 2004) - Jay Howard, of Basildon, England, won Round Twelve of the Formula Ford Zetec Championship, part of the Cooper Tires Championship Series, at Infineon...
Howard Scores First Zetec Championship Win in Infineon Thriller
SONOMA, CALIF. (July 18, 2004) - Jay Howard, of Basildon, England, won Round Twelve of the Formula Ford Zetec Championship, part of the Cooper Tires Championship Series, at Infineon Raceway. Completing the top-three is Wade Cunningham, of Auckland, New Zealand and Jason Bowles, of Ontario, Calif. Howard captures the win in only his second-ever Zetec Championship race. Winning the American Continental Championship is Greg Pizzo, of San Jose, Calif.
Commencing after the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma, the Zetec Championship cars took to the track late in the day. Starting on the pole position, race one winner Bobby Wilson maintained the lead at the start. Pushing their cars to the limit, the field went two-wide several times in the opening lap. With the leaders running nose-to-tail, the full-course caution was displayed on lap three, temporarily halting the battle for the lead. When the green flag waved to resume racing on lap five, the field went three-wide. Getting a great jump, Ian Lacy was able to take the lead, ahead of Wilson and Howard. With Lacy steadily pulling away, Wilson and Howard battled for position. After making his way past Wilson, Howard began to close on Lacy. With the lead duo running in tight formation, Cunningham and Andrew Prendeville engaged in a great battle for third place. After swapping the position twice, Cunningham, in the No. 2 RCC/WPL/Placemakers Mt. Wellington Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, was able to hold the position. Following several laps of pressure, Howard got to the inside of Lacy in turn 11 on lap 13. The duo made contact, with Lacy crashing into the tire barrier and Howard continuing in the lead with minor damage. While Howard ran uncontested the remainder of the race, Bowles, in the No. 7 Citywide Electronics/Sparco/Services Softwear Systems/Snap-On Stars of Karting JDC Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, passed Prendeville for the final podium spot on lap 15. At the checkered flag, Howard, in the No. 22 Sutton Images/BRDC/Alpine Star Racewear/MIR Racewear Aiken Racing Van Diemen Ford, had captured his first-ever Zetec Championship win by 1.018 seconds.
"It's great to win in only my second race," said Howard. "I suffered some minor damage in the incident, but fortunately my car was good enough it didn't matter. Hopefully I can continue to run in the series."
"The car was a lot better today," said Cunningham, who finished sixth in race one. "The team worked real hard to improve the car, I just wish I had a few more laps in the race."
"My car was really good under breaking," said Bowles, who remains third in the championship standings. "We made a bunch of changes last night and weren't sure they'd work, but it ended up paying off."
"It's great to win both rounds at my home track," said Pizzo, who takes over the lead in the ACC with the two wins. "Today I was able to run fast consistent laps with no problems."
Completing the top-five is Prendeville, of Monroeville, Pa., in the No. 25 Racelink/Roos Racing School Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford, who retakes the championship standings lead (275-265) over Wilson and Adam Pecorari, of Aston, Pa., in the No. 28 SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford.