(Mount Meridian, Ind.) - Julio Campos captured his third consecutive Formula Dodge National Championship victory today in Round 7 action at Putnam Park. The Brazilian was cool under pressure, despite unusually hot temperatures at the 1.77 mile...
(Mount Meridian, Ind.) - Julio Campos captured his third consecutive Formula Dodge National Championship victory today in Round 7 action at Putnam Park. The Brazilian was cool under pressure, despite unusually hot temperatures at the 1.77 mile road course. Campos, campaigning his first full season in the National Championship, was nipped at for most of the race by returning drivers Landon Yee and Dan Di Leo, who would join the Brazilian on the podium with second and third place results. Tophie Stewart followed in fourth.
The win vaults Campos into first place in series points over Barber-CART Scholarship winner A.J. Allmendinger. Allmendinger finished today's action in fifth, breaking his streak of five consecutive podium finishes.
As at Grattan Raceway, where the Brazilian won twice from pole, Campos was in firm control throughout the 22 lap contest, but a late full-course caution gave him pause and dialed in suspense to the last few laps.
"Things were going very well. I had a great start. But I was concerned, of course, when the yellow came out late and caused a restart. I just concentrated and got an excellent jump and then built a more comfortable gap back to second."
As the only racer in this year's National Championship field to register multiple wins, Campos' confidence level is at an all-time high.
"I feel very good but my expectations remain high. I'm looking for the same result tomorrow." (Campos starts from pole)
Early on in the race, Di Leo was determined to keep Campos in sight. The Markham, Ontario native pulled off a first lap pass over Tophie Stewart for second position. Campos and Di Leo then pulled away, engaging Stewart and Yee in a battle for third. Yee was particularly aggressive on track today and used a surprise inside pass in turn-1 to best Di Leo for P2. The pass underscored a fantastic performance and three spot improvement for the likeable Yee.
"I got a good run on the front straight and was in Dan's draft. I peeked and kind of have faked him a bit, causing Dan to go wide. I was able to tuck underneath."
With less than five laps to go, Yee had developed a rhythm and was closing on Campos. However, the Californian's momentum was broken when the caution flags flew due to a multi-car incident near turn-7.
"I'm sure I was gaining some ground on Julio. If the course didn't go yellow, I think I might have had a chance at the point."
Just as Yee was on Campos, Di Leo never stopped hounding Yee. The Canadian was in contention all race.
"I had a strategy going in. I wanted to get into second off the start and it went as planned. I was right where I wanted to be and was sizing him [Julio] up for a pass in turn-7. But near the end, unexpectedly, Landon made a nice move going into [turn] one. It's unfortunate that I was never able to challenge Julio for the lead. We'll just have to wait until tomorrow."