NA-F2000: SBRS: CHAMPCAR/CART: Americans close New Zealand on down side

Skip Barber graduate Bryan Sellers had the New Zealand International Formula Ford title practically in his hands. But Lady Luck can be a fickle friend as she turned her charms to the hand of another. Needing only to finish third in one of the two...

Skip Barber graduate Bryan Sellers had the New Zealand International Formula Ford title practically in his hands. But Lady Luck can be a fickle friend as she turned her charms to the hand of another. Needing only to finish third in one of the two remaining races, Sellers who finished second overall in the 2000 Formula Dodge National Championship, was crashed out in the first race, while mechanical gremlins left him out in the cold in the second. Fellow Formula Dodge National Championship runner up A.J. Allmendinger managed a slightly better result. He wrapped his Kiwi campaign with a third-place finish in race one and a sixth in the final round.

Sellers prospects for victory looked good at the start of the event. Having qualified on the front row, the 19-year old from Centerville, Ohio leapt ahead at the start to lead the first four tours of the circuit. That was all the joy Sellers would have as on the next go around he was punted off the course and into immediate retirement with heavy car damage.

Starting the final race of the series from the back of the grid, he would rise to the needed third-place position only to have a driveshaft give up the ghost two laps from the checkered flag.

"All I needed was to finish, and there we were [in place to win the championship]. There was no problem at all, and then it just stopped. I had no drive whatsoever," reflected Sellers after a sensational drive. "I gave it a go, but unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be."

Allmendinger yielded the third place he was holding at the time to his Team USA teammate. But when Sellers car broke, the hapless Allmendinger had nowhere to go but into Sellers car. He soldiered on to sixth place with little consolation despite his season finishing better than it began.

"I'd have liked to have the day turn out a little better at the end," said Allmendinger, "but overall it was a lot better than how the weekend started. My car was really working well in the second race and I was right with [Fabian] Coulthard and [Nelson] Hartley. I was so much faster than them through the corners, but they were still leaving me on the straightaways. As I say, it was disappointing how it all ended, but for how it started and how far back I was, it was good."

Sellers returns to the United States to contest the U.S. Formula Ford Series. Allmendinger expects to announce his plans for 2002 shortly.

-sbr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Kart , Other open wheel
Drivers A.J. Allmendinger , Skip Barber , Bryan Sellers