At the 2000 Molson Indy Vancouver, American Matt Plumb secured his first Barber Dodge Pro Series career victory. He was then clawing onto hopes of keeping his title bid alive and the win couldn^Ã’t have come at a better time. In the end he...
At the 2000 Molson Indy Vancouver, American Matt Plumb secured his first Barber Dodge Pro Series career victory. He was then clawing onto hopes of keeping his title bid alive and the win couldn^Òt have come at a better time. In the end he finished fourth overall. Just ahead of him in the final standings in last year, and just behind at Vancouver was Sepp Koster. The Dutchman was also still in the title running and needed a good result at the Concord Pacific Place Circuit to keep the drive alive.
A year hence and the pair return to Vancouver in similar straits. Koster is fresh from a win at the last round at Road America that saw him move into second overall. Plumb recovered from an early lap mishap and unscheduled visit for service to his car to finish sixth, netting much needed points to remain third in the standings. Once again they must finish well if they are to recoup points to near-season long points leader Nicolas Rondet who holds a 19-point advantage heading into the penultimate race of the 2001 series. A maximum of 22 points are available at each of the remaining two rounds.
Should Rondet extend his lead by a further ten points over his existing 19-point advantage, he would clinch the 2001 Pro Series title and earn the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award that comes with it.
Only a drivers ten best results count toward the final tally. If Rondet were to leave Vancouver with a at least a 29-point margin and not score any points at the final round in Laguna Seca, he would be obliged to discard six points leaving him with an insurmountable 23 point advantage.
Fourth placed Roger Yasukawa and fifth placed Ryan Hunter-Reay are mathematically still in the running though only if the trio ahead has disastrous results in the final two rounds coupled with maximum points scoring finishes for each in both races.
All four would be title chasers however have one card up their sleeve, at least for Vancouver. Rondet acknowledges that temporary street circuits like the Concord Pacific Place are not among his favorite style of track. Koster, Plumb, Hunter-Reay and Yasukawa all excel on the tightly confined circuits. All four drivers were dominant at both Detroit and Toronto earlier this year while Rondet^Òs best performance on street circuit this season is a fifth at both Detroit and Toronto. Plumb (Detroit) and Hunter-Reay (Toronto) both have wins while Koster and Yasukawa have podium finishes. Upping the ante is the fact the quartet has raced on this circuit while Rondet never has.
As has been the norm in Barber Dodge this season, expect nothing short of a nail biter in Vancouver this weekend.