Sperafico takes first-ever Barber Dodge win. (Monterey, Calif) June 9-2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico made the most of his pole position, converting the top starting spot into his first win in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
Sperafico takes first-ever Barber Dodge win.
(Monterey, Calif) June 9-2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico made the most of his pole position, converting the top starting spot into his first win in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Mexico's Memo Rojas followed Sperafico across the line with AJ Allmendinger coming home in third, growing his points lead in the championship to 23 points over Sperafico. Christian Szymczak and Davy Cook rounded out the Top-5. Sperafico was overjoyed with his first win and with the 22 points he earned this weekend.
"I was pushing very hard on every lap," said Sperafico, "and just trying to concentrate and not make a mistake. This is a good result for the championship and I am looking forward to racing again in Portland."
Rojas was happy to match his best-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series result with his second place finish.
"This isn't really that much of a passing track," said Rojas, "so I had to make the most of the restarts. I couldn't make up any time on Sperafico, so I just made sure I could hold my position. This is a good result, and puts us back in the picture for the championship."
Before the start of the race, Sperafico got some last-minute tips from 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion Nicolas Rondet on how to pace the field leading up to the green flag. Rondet apparently told him to start slowly, as Sperafico brought the field to the line two by two at a crawl until the drop of the green flag. Going into the first corner, Sperafico stayed low to protect his line, and second-position starter Allmendinger lost momentum as he made a bid for the lead, allowing Memo Rojas to make a bold outside pass to take second place.
Just behind Rojas, 2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Champion Julio Campos Julio Campos spun in the first corner and as a result, retired soon there after.
Josh Beaulieu made the most of the start, moving up from the 14th position into 8th and moving up into fifth into the season standings.
"I was really happy with my car today" said the Langly, British Columbia native. "I ran 13 of the race laps faster than I qualified, so I was feeling pretty good. Dan Di Leo was really putting the pressure on me, but I was able to hold him off."
Morgan Davies was too aggressive on cold tires in the LG Mobile Phones machine and ended up in the turn four tire wall, bringing out the yellow flag before the 1st lap was complete.
On the restart, Sperafico brought the field back to the green flag much faster and was able to run unchallenged into the first corner. Behind him, Davy Cook got by Allmendinger on the outside of turn 2 when Allmendinger went on the inside to try and pass Rojas. Cook and Allmendinger then ran nose to tail together for the next 10 laps until Cook ran wide in 6, allowing both Allmendinger and Szymczak to get by heading into the corkscrew. Meanwhile, Sperafico stretched out his lead up to 2.1 sec as Allmendinger took off in pursuit of Rojas, who was nearly 1.5 sec. ahead.
Behind Szymzcak, Leo Maia and Marc Breuers ran in tandem with Maia ahead in the early stages of the race. Breuers passed Maia's Quaker State machine after getting a run on him out of turn 11, only to be repassed a few laps later when Breuers got in too deep at the corkscrew and Maia passed him
"He (Maia) did a good clean job of passing me in turn 9," said Breuers. "We were side by side, but he had the line and there was nothing I could do. My car was as good as it has been all weekend, so I was glad to bring home some points today. "
At the front of the field, Sperafico continued his flawless run to the checker as Allmendinger closed the gap to Rojas, but couldn't find a way by.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series will join the CART FedEx Champcar Series again next weekend at the G.I. Joe's Freightliner 200 at Portland International Raceway next weekend.