ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (July 8, 2002)--With the summer in full swing and most racing series entering the second half of the season, the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship continues to show why it is considered North America's premier open-wheel ...
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (July 8, 2002)--With the summer in full swing and most racing series entering the second half of the season, the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship continues to show why it is considered North America's premier open-wheel training series, as series alumni are making their mark in various racing series around the world.
In the oval-based Indy Racing League, Zetec Championship alumni are making their presence felt. Sam Hornish Jr., who became the youngest champion ever last year, is once again challenging for the championship. Hornish Jr. has been dominant at times, capturing three wins and posting six top-five finishes. Currently, Hornish Jr. is third in the point standings, just 19 points behind the leader. Joining Hornish Jr. at the front of the field in 2002 is Alex Barron. With his first full-time ride in the series, Barron has displayed his skills, scoring seven top-10 finishes and capturing the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award. In addition to this duo, three additional Zetec Championship alumni are contesting selected IRL events in 2002. Former Indy Rookie of the Year, Robby McGehee, Jon Herb and former champion Greg Ray have all showed flashes of brilliance and are a threat to win on any give race weekend.
Away from open-wheel racing, Zetec Championship alumni have become leaders in the sports car racing arena. In the American Le Mans Series, the 675 prototype class continues have a strong alumni presence. Duncan Dayton and Mike Durand have captured two top-five finishes, including a class win at the famous 12 Hours of Sebring. Running selected races, Larry Oberto has one class win, current Zetec Championship driver Jeffrey Jones has a second place finish and Ryan Hampton has a top-five finish. In the Grand American Road Racing Association, alumni are once again challenging for the SRP II title, having won the championship the past two years. Anthony Lazzaro has captured three wins, former champion Andy Lally has three podium finishes and Buddy Rice, who is also racing in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, has three podium finishes.
Success for Zetec Championship alumni has not been limited to North America, as several alumni have found success abroad. Racing in their native Australia, David Besnard and Jason Bright are title contenders in the Australia Super V8 Championship. Bright has won two races and captured seven podium finishes, while Besnard has one podium finish and five top-five finishes. In Europe James Hanson is racing in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, while Billy Asaro is contesting the British Formula Three Championship. With two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes, Hanson is in contention for both the championship and the rookie of the year honors. Asaro, battling for the Scholarship class title, has two wins and five podium finishes.
In addition to the series mentioned, Zetec Championship alumni are also contesting the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series in 2002.
The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship season continues with Rounds Nine and Ten at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 10-11.