NA-F2000: Baltzer, Welk debut at Sebring race summary

Karting Champions Welk and Baltzer score top-10 finishes in Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship debut. TOPEKA, Kan. (March 20, 2003) -- Craig Baltzer, of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Steve Welk, of Franklin, Wis., made their Formula Ford 2000 ...

Karting Champions Welk and Baltzer score top-10 finishes in Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship debut.

TOPEKA, Kan. (March 20, 2003) -- Craig Baltzer, of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Steve Welk, of Franklin, Wis., made their Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship debuts March 13-14 at Sebring International Raceway, with both drivers scoring top-10 finishes during the doubleheader weekend.

In Thursday's season-opening event, Baltzer started 10th in the No. 8 Primus Racing/Sparco/Lakefront Technologies/Decal Works Van Diemen with Welk qualifying 14th in the No. 7 Lakefront Technologies/Sparco/Bell Helmets Van Diemen Scholarship entry. During the opening laps, both drivers were able to gain several positions only to fall back near the end of the 30 minute race, with Baltzer finishing ninth and Welk 11th.

"The biggest problem I had in the race was on the restart," said Welk, who recorded the race's second fastest lap. "It was frustrating because I would lose all of the positions I had gained under green. The restarts were insane."

"Overall the weekend went fairly well, said Baltzer. "I think I'm developing a good relationship with the team and the car was great during the race, unfortunately in qualifying we were a bit off."

For Round Two, held the next day, the skies opened up on the warm-up lap and the field took the green under very wet conditions. With grip a problem on the wet 3.7 mile circuit, many drivers found themselves losing positions or sliding off course. Thanks to a recent wet weather test with JDC Motorsports, both Welk and Baltzer were able to move from their respective 14th and 16th-place qualifying positions at the start. When the rain turned into a torrential downpour after only three laps, the race was red flagged with Baltzer running sixth and Welk eighth.

With a full schedule of events planned for the remainder of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend, Zetec Championship officials declared the event official, giving the 2002 WKA/SCCA Pro Racing Primus Racing Scholarship Winners three top-10 finishes for the weekend.

"Overall, I'm happy with the weekend," said Welk. "We missed on the qualifying setup so we were never able to really show the speed in the car.

"We will do some more testing before the next event. I'm also planning on running the first Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow event, so I am definitely keeping myself busy during the break."

"The second race was really hectic," said Baltzer. "The track was half wet and half dry and we were running on dry weather tires, so parts of the track were really tricky. I was actually in fifth, working hard on fourth place when the red came out and they reverted to the previous laps scoring."

The JDC Motorsports team will next compete in Rounds Three and Four of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, held May 23-24 at Lime Rock Park, in conjunction with the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup and the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge.

-scca pro racing-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Steve Welk