RAIN SPOILS BARBER DODGE DAY AT HOMESTEAD HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 24) - The south shore of Florida is notorious for fickle weather conditions. Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers got a taste of Mother Nature's disruptive side Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, when a large storm blew in off the Gulf of Mexico and flooded testing and practice for Round 11 of the championship.
A large blip on the radar screen turned to several inches of heavy rain shortly before drivers were scheduled to take the track for the second test session at 11:30 a.m. The result was a flooded paddock, a canceled session and standing water on the track when the first practice session kicked off later in the afternoon at the FIA GT Championship weekend.
Jon Fogarty topped the only dry session of the day with a best lap of 1:26.004 at 92.507 mph in the early morning test, with points leader Jeff Simmons second at 1:26.087. Fogarty then moved in front of the 45-minute extended practice field on his final lap of the day. The Portola Valley, Calif. native, who won on a similar partially-wet track at Mid-Ohio last year, is seeking his first Barber Dodge pole award.
Championship contender Todd Snyder set the early pace in the watery late session with a best lap of 1:29.554, but was relegated to second behind Fogarty's last-lap heroics. Snyder, runner-up in the 1998 title chase, trailed Simmons by 15 points entering the second-to-last round of the schedule.
Matt Plumb shook the effects of two bad-luck races with his best session of the season in the afternoon. Plumb was less than a tenth of a second off Snyder at 1:29.703, which was good for third place in the group.
Sepp Koster, Peter Boss, Iradj Alexander, Michael Valiante, Roger Yasukawa, Nilton Rossoni and Simmons filled out the first ten spots in the post-rain group. Simmons needs to score seven points more than Snyder to clinch his second championship at Homestead
Qualifying will be split over two sessions Saturday, with a mixed forecast once again making the Weather Channel required viewing.