HAMPTON, Ga., & ...
HAMPTON, Ga., Robby McGehee, of St. Louis, Mo., earned his second career U.S. F2000 National Championship victory at the Atlanta 500 Classic Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Australian David Besnard finished second and captured the five-race U.S. F2000 Oval Crown Championship.
McGehee, driving the No. 2 VisionAire/Energizer Tatuus Ford, took the lead from Ryan Hampton on lap 23 and led the rest of the way in the caution-filled race, averaging 56.933 mph to win the 30-lap, 48.0-mile contest by 0.155-second under caution. Hampton, who led 11 laps, dropped six positions on the lap-23 restart and finished seventh.
"I'm really happy the cards went our way," said McGehee, who finished second in the Oval Crown, 14 points behind Besnard (137 to 123). "It was like a NASCAR race in that it was better to be lucky than good. I'm glad to do well in front of the VisionAire people, and happy with the second-straight runner-up finish in the Oval Crown."
McGehee, who won earlier this year at Homestead, also turned the race's fastest lap with a speed of 137.064 mph (42.024 seconds) the fastest in series history.
Driving the No. 13 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford, Besnard wrapped-up the Oval Crown and took a commanding lead in the National Championship 333 to 275, over Hampton with two races remaining in the 14-race season.
"Winning the Oval Crown is a dream come true, but I've got a few dreams this year," said Besnard. "The race came our way tonight. I think all I'll need to do at Pikes Peak is finish in the top-10. The National Championship will really cap off the season."
Hampton was within eight points of Besnard after earning his third pole of the season with a record-setting 134.434 mph, but finished third in the Oval Crown, with 121 points.
"We were going five wide or so into the chicane at turn one and I backed off, thinking it would be the smart thing to do," said Hampton. "We didn't get any more green laps after that. I'm really disappointed."
Andy Lally, of Northport, N.Y., finished third in the No. 5 Red Line Oil/Maida/Highcroft Racing Bowman Ford after starting fourth. Bobby Oergel, of Palmetto, Fla., led five laps before finishing fourth, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., of Defiance, Ohio. John Miller, of Edina, Minn., earned the Taylor Race Engineering Shark Award for the most positions improved.
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond was uninjured in a lap-19 flip in the chicane. No drivers were injured in any of the other incidents.