US Formula 2000 National Championship leader Billy Asaro deftly drove his ill-handling car to sixth place in a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio, yesterday. However, the nineteen-year-old Markham, Ontario, resident was ...
US Formula 2000 National Championship leader Billy Asaro deftly drove his ill-handling car to sixth place in a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio, yesterday. However, the nineteen-year-old Markham, Ontario, resident was looking for much more as he seeks to win the National Championship.
Already crowned the 2001 USF2000 "Road to Indy" Oval Crown Champion, Billy is now looking to add the National title to his resume. Not long ago, he held a massive lead in the standings, but having been punted off the track before the start of the previous race, then gathering just a few points at Mid-Ohio, the lead has shrunk to just five. Jason LaPoint won yesterday's race and has forced a season-ending showdown with Asaro.
Following a terrific qualifying session on Friday, Asaro was brimming with confidence for the Saturday afternoon race. LaPoint took the pole with a 1m 24.190s lap of the 3.634km (2.258 mile) Mid-Ohio road course, but Billy put himself third on the grid with a lap just 0.128 seconds slower. Tonis Kasemets qualified second to start next to LaPoint.
Unfortunately, Billy's race was in peril from the moment the green flag waved. His car was terribly unbalanced and at any corner around the circuit, it was easy to see he car was understeering badly.
"I don't know what happened," Billy said a few minutes after climbing out of the car. "Yesterday, the Key Motorsport / Bellville Rodair car was fantastic. It was good enough for pole if I'd had a clean lap near the end of the qualifying session, but today it felt like a completely different car."
Not only was Asaro fighting to overcome understeer, he also had to contend with heavy vibration under braking and then his instrument panel shut down during the race.
"I'm disappointed because, as always, I really wanted the win. I should have been in contention today too," he said. "But I feel really bad for the team too. They worked very hard to get a race-winning set up on the car, then it all fell apart today. Very disappointing.
"Jason (LaPoint) and I will have to fight it out in Daytona. It should be exciting. I can't wait!"
The two remaining races on the USF2000 calendar will take place in Daytona, Florida, on September 15 and 16.