SBRS: Gateway Simone putting his mark on championship

(EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL.) Aug. 26, 2000 -Anthony Simone is putting his mark on the 2000 Formula Dodge National Championship, and doing it with authority. Starting from the outside of row 1, Simone took the lead by drafting polesitter Scott Presti on...

(EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL.) Aug. 26, 2000 -Anthony Simone is putting his mark on the 2000 Formula Dodge National Championship, and doing it with authority. Starting from the outside of row 1, Simone took the lead by drafting polesitter Scott Presti on the long run through the Gateway International Raceway banking into turn-1 at the start of the second lap. From there it was a lonely drive to his third consecutive run dating back to rounds 7 and 8 at Putnam Park Raceway. In his wake, Christian Szymczak and Presti waged a battle titanic as the two would often enter turn-1 side by side, swapping second place like prizefighters trading punches. At the checkered flag, Szymczak had an extra ounce of speed to take second ahead of Presti.

It became academic for Simone once he made his way around Presti. With no one ahead, he stretched the legs of his Formula Dodge R/T 2000, to his extend his lead lap by lap. With the clouds hanging low and the air thick with moisture, intermittent showers kept the track slick. As a result the call was made by National Championship officials to switch the slick Michelin Pilot CS tires to their treaded wet weather cousins, though fully wet conditions never prevailed.

"This weekend I think I've found most of the speed in adjusting the (sway) bars, not necessarily making the car faster, but to my preference," said Simone of Aurora, Ontario. "If I can get another one (win) tomorrow, I'll be looking good at the end of the year."

Simone starts round 10 tomorrow from the pole position.

Syzmczak from Oakland, Calif., started the race from sixth on the grid, but made tracks quickly, gaining a place per lap until he found himself on Presti's gearbox. At the start of the eleventh lap, Szymczak and Presti were side by side until Szymczak took the advantage into turn one. Presti though was relentless. The Oaklander would make the run into turn-1 with his left side wheels practically shaving the inside wall in an effort to take away the inside line from Presti.

"I tried to stay in front (of Presti) any way I could and the only way I knew how to do that was to stay on the inside," said Szymczak. "It was a lot of fun but there was a lot of pressure also. It was exciting."

The outside move would only work once for Presti. With five laps remaining the pair would go through turns-1 through 4 side by side. On the next go around, Szymczak would go deep into the inside of turn-1. Presti would lock a wheel trying to brake a little deeper, yet it was not to be. Szymczak would keep the place for good.

"I thought if I stayed on the outside, I could brake a little later than he could and it worked once, but he figured that out and blocked me out," recalled Presti of Naples, Fla.

Round 10 of the 13 round championship will get the green on Sunday, Aug 27.

<pre> Results from Round 9 of the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER At Gateway International Raceway

1. Anthony Simone, 26 laps 2. Christian Szymczak, 26laps 3. Scott Presti, 26 laps 4. Brian Rivera, 26 laps 5. Daniel Di Leo, 26 laps 6. Craig Duerson, 26 laps 7. Tophie Stewart, 26 laps 8. Jon Morley, 26 laps 9. Jonathan Strohm, 26 laps 10. Davy Cook, 26 laps 11. Kevin Christensen, 26 laps 12. Landon Yee, 26 laps 13. Bryan Sellers, 26 laps 14. Leonardo Maia, 26 laps 15. Brian Angen, 26 laps 16. J.J. Fischer, 26 laps 17. Chris Baker, 26 laps 18. Damian Della-Santina, 7 laps, CV Joint

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers J.J. Fischer , Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Leonardo Maia , Chris Baker , Craig Duerson , Bryan Sellers , Anthony Simone , Jon Morley