US Formula 2000 competitor Billy Asaro finished second in the series' National Championship after a pair of races at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, September 29-30. The nineteen-year-old Markham, Ontario, resident went into the final ...
US Formula 2000 competitor Billy Asaro finished second in the series' National Championship after a pair of races at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, September 29-30. The nineteen-year-old Markham, Ontario, resident went into the final event leading the championship, but after being knocked out of Saturday's race, had little chance of claiming the title on Sunday.
Having qualified sixth for both races, Billy was well within striking distance to take two wins while his main championship rival, Jason LaPoint, qualified second and 25th. Asaro wanted to win both races, but ultimately knew all he had to do was finish ahead of LaPoint. That, however, went awry when Billy was punted out of Saturday's race.
Midway through the twenty-lap race, Billy had worked his Key Motorsport / Bellville Rodair International car into the top three and was battling Tonis Kasemets, a driver not in contention for the championship. Kasemets seemed bent on making life difficult for the points leader, but on lap twelve, Asaro swept past to take second place. Before Asaro could put some space behind himself, however, Kasemets plowed into him at the end of the straight. Dejected and out of the race, Billy watched as LaPoint finished second.
While Asaro was understandably upset, Key Motorsport owner Steve Djelebian spoke out regarding Kasemets' behavior.
"I hope he is proud of himself," said Djelebian. "He is nowhere in the championship and all of sudden he wants to be a hero. He was out of control trying to make a low-percentage move. Tonis Kasemets ruined Billy Asaro's championship run."
On Sunday, the scenario for Asaro was this: the title was his if he won the race and LaPoint finished eighth or lower.
From the start of the race, Asaro sprinted from sixth to fourth where he found himself behind Kasemets who, once again, went out of his way to thwart Asaro's advancement. The laps ticked away as Asaro tried to pass again and again, only to be blocked or run to the edge of the track. Eventually, the problem was solved when Kasemets outdid himself and spun off, but with only a few laps left, Billy was too far back to challenge either of the cars ahead. Third was all he could do. LaPoint was ninth, but gained enough points to clinch the title.
"Most of the season was good," said a disappointed Asaro. "The Key Motorsport team was excellent. They always showed up wanting to win and worked hard to do that. I have only the greatest of praise for them. I congratulate Jason (LaPoint) and his team for winning the championship, but wish we could have raced for it instead of having the championship settled by the actions of another driver."
In addition to finishing second in the USF2000 National Championship, Asaro's accomplishments this year include winning the USF2000 Oval Crown (an oval series within the National championship), three victories (more than any other USF2000 driver this year) and seven top-three finishes. Furthermore, the excellent work of Key Motorsport was recognized as they were named "Prep. Shop of the Year" and team engineer Yvan Turcotte was named "Engineer of the Year".