POWERS IMPRESSES IN LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS RETURN AT AUTOBAHN USF2000
Californian finishes fourth in homes races for Illinois-based squad
JOLIET, IL. (August 3, 2010) - Liberty Motorsports returned to the forefront of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda this past weekend (July 31 - August 1), thanks to a pair of superb outings by rookie Matthew Powers. The Californian narrowly missed giving the Illinois-based squad another series podium finish - the squad having earned one in the season-opener - by taking the checkered flag in fourth place in both Rounds Seven and Eight at the Autobahn Country Club.
Despite Powers having not raced since the March season-opening races in Florida, the Powers/Liberty Motorsports partnership was confident good results were on tap for the fifth event of the USF2000 National Championship, given what was achieved during official series pre-event testing at the Illinois road course.
Following a weekend plan, Powers utilized both the track's test day on Thursday and official practice sessions on Friday, to steadily improve his car rather than go after fast times.
A wrench was thrown into the plans on Saturday however, as the lone qualifying run took place in less than ideal wet and rainy conditions. Powers and the Liberty Motorsports crew were not deterred however, showing their resolve by quickly adapting to the situation. Early on it appeared Powers was headed towards a superb result, particularly given his lack of wet weather experience, challenging for a top-four spot. Unfortunately, a spin midway through the session resulted in Powers getting high-sided and bringing out the red flag. As a result, he was penalized his fastest lap, relegating him to eighth on the grid.
Powers and the Liberty Motorsports crew, despite the minor setback, were upbeat entering Round Seven later in the day. With a dry track greeting the drivers, the Illinois' team spirit further improved a short time after the green flag waved, as Powers avoided chaos in the first turn to emerge in third place. Showcasing his continued development behind the wheel of the No. 41 Liberty Motorsports Van Diemen, the former karting standout held off the advances from the championship top-two for several laps, before eventually taking the checkered flag in a well-earned fourth place.
With the grid for Round Eight determined by each driver's fastest lap in the opening race of the doubleheader, the Liberty Motorsports rookie lined-up fourth for Round Eight on Sunday afternoon in Illinois. In a repeat of the opening race at the Autobahn, Powers avoided some first turn contact to retain a place in the lead pack. Powers from that point forward showed good speed and skill in what is only second-ever formula car event. Battling for position all the way to the checkered flag, the talented young driver crossed the stripe in fourth place for a second consecutive race.
"This weekend Matt proved that he is a capable of being a front-runner in the USF2000 series," said Liberty Motorsports Team Manger Chuck Lessick. "This being only his second car racing event of his life, he showed great promise for the future."
While Powers will now have a multi-week break before the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda resumes on August 21-22, at Road America, the Liberty Motorsports crew is back in action this upcoming weekend (August 7-8). The Illinois-based team travels to Wisconsin's Road America circuit to contest Rounds 11 and 12 of the F2000 Championship Series.
-source: liberty motorsports