Hildebrand and Morgan Complete Mid-Ohio Sweep Lexington, Ohio (May 21, 2006) - J.R. Hildebrand's absolute dominance of the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship continued on Sunday as he won his forth race in a row. His...
Hildebrand and Morgan Complete Mid-Ohio Sweep
Lexington, Ohio (May 21, 2006) - J.R. Hildebrand's absolute dominance of the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship continued on Sunday as he won his forth race in a row. His win from pole also marked a sweep for his Cape Motorsports team after Adam Pecorari won both IMSA Lites races from pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
As he did in the first race, the 18-year-old American star displayed the maturity of a veteran and checked out early from the rest of the field with a series of lightning quick laps on cold tires. After setting a best lap of 1:23.681 that was more than 1.3 seconds faster than his closest competitor, the California native eventually won by a margin of 13.470 seconds over yesterday's second place finisher, Jason Byers.
But the drive of the race belonged to Sonoma, California's Dane Cameron. After crashing out in the first corner of race one, the 17-year-old Cameron was forced to start 26th as the grid was determined by yesterday's results. Undeterred by his starting position, Cameron made several bold moves and worked his way up to eighth place halfway through the 30-minute timed event, before it was interrupted by the only full course caution period.
On the restart, newcomer Andy Knight of New Zealand continued his nip and tuck battle with Nick Haye for fourth place. Knight was able to move into third after getting a great run exiting turn one before slipping under his competitor's Van Diemen in the keyhole turn.
With three laps remaining, Chris Meredith spun out of third place after losing control at the exit of the high speed turn one. That briefly moved Knight onto the final podium position, but Cameron was able to work his way past Haye and Knight with two laps to go, earning himself a much deserved third place finish.
"I think that was the farthest back that I've ever started in a race, but I was still hoping for a podium," Cameron said. "The car was really good and the team did a terrific job, they were here until 2 a.m. fixing the damage from the first race. It's always awesome to start at the front and run well, but it was a lot of fun to come from the back and pass all of those cars."
Echoing his teammate's appreciation for his Cape Motorsports crew, Hildebrand still hopes for more success this season.
"The team did an awesome job this weekend; the car was perfect so we were able to focus on race tactics. The rest of the season is anybody's bet, some of the teams struggled here (with the new pavement) that I know will be tough at other places. We just need to keep improving so we'll be ready when they get faster."
In the Gold Cup, Cole Morgan turned in yet another impressive performance in his trusty Swift DB 6, earning his fourth victory in a row.
"This is getting to be pretty good," proclaimed Morgan. "I got run over in the first turn and it knocked the toe out of the car which made it handle very weird. It did a lot of things that it didn't normally do, but I was still able to pull out a good lead. My goal is for a perfect season of winning every race from pole."
The Cooper Series will be back on track June 16-18 at Portland International Raceway in conjunction with the Champ Car World Series.