Ennis Bragg wins B class in USF2000 opener
Driving for the Swainsboro, Georgia based Witness Racing team, driver Ennis Bragg finished 17th overall in the US Formula 2000 season opener in Phoenix, Arizona and finished first among the B-class competitors earning the team a $1,000 bonus payout. Results from Thursday testing at Phoenix International Raceway placed Bragg 11th fastest with a lap time of 28.517 seconds averaging 126.24 mph.
"The car was handling great all weekend." Bragg said. "Our fast lap in testing was flat out all the way around, but I knew we could go faster. I think we were scrubbing too much speed through turns 1 and 2. We needed a few more sessions to find those last few tenths."
To the team's despair, testing time just simply ran out. Friday morning's practice was filled with cautions and a broken fuel line kept the Witness Racing Van Diemen RF97 in the paddock during Saturday's morning practice. Bragg qualified 21st for the Sunday race.
"I was really disappointed with our qualifying run. I knew I needed to run a different line through 1 and 2 to be faster but it was difficult to find that line and run it in just two laps," Bragg said. "Missing the morning practice really hurt us today."
But all was not lost. Bragg picked up spots early in the race on Sunday and narrowly escaped disaster on two separate occasions to finish 17th overall and 1st in the B-class.
Bragg recalled the two accidents which nearly took him out of the race. "I was low in turn 4 when the first lap accident happened and I thought I was safe until the wrecked cars slid back across the track and down to the pit wall. I had to slow way down and wait for a chance to move up. Then, after the restart, Groom spun in turn 2 just a few yards ahead of me. Alex (Garcia) got caught up and really hit the wall hard. Lally and I dove low and somehow got through."
This was Bragg's first race on a one-mile oval and his 6th start in the US Formula 2000 series. The next stop for the series is at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC on April 30th where the Witness Racing team hopes to score their first top ten performance.
"We have the potential to run up front in this series and it's up to us to prove that we can do it," Bragg says. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity God has given me to compete in Formula 2000 racing. Phoenix was a great place to start the season and now I am looking forward to going racing again in Charlotte."
For more information on Ennis Bragg and Witness Racing, visit the team's website at: http://www.mindspring.com/~witnessracing