HAMPTON LOOKS TO CONTINUE F2000 DOMINANCE IN CHARLOTTE CAMIRAND, WHELDON LEAD CHARGE TO END STREAK FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 27, 1999)â€”The U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision travels to Charlotte, N.C. this weekend, ...
HAMPTON LOOKS TO CONTINUE F2000 DOMINANCE IN CHARLOTTE CAMIRAND, WHELDON LEAD CHARGE TO END STREAK
FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 27, 1999)—The U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision travels to Charlotte, N.C. this weekend, where 1998 series runner-up Ryan Hampton will attempt to continue his dominance of the 1.6-mile modified oval at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The U.S. F2000's cut-throat competition has put it at the top of motor racing entertainment for North American race fans. The LMS weekend will feature dual 30-lap, 48.0-mile sprint races (Rounds Two and Three in the National Championship and Road to Indy Oval Crown) set to take the green flag Friday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) and Saturday, May 1 at 6:00 p.m., respectively, as the lead support series for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League VisionAire 500k. The events will be broadcast on a back-to-back tape-delayed basis on the Speedvision Network with the initial broadcasts beginning Monday, May 24 at 9:00 p.m. (EDT).
Hampton, of Glendora, Calif., has amassed an impressive record at the U.S. F2000's four LMS events, with three wins, one second, two poles and four front row qualifying efforts. Last year, while driving for the factory Tatuus team, Hampton took both poles and wins, but had to fend off several hard charges that led to one of the closest finishes in series' history (0.054-second) in Race Two. This year, Hampton teams up with Dave Conti, who engineered Robby McGehee's second-place LMS effort in 1998 and owns the IRL team for which McGehee currently drives.
While Hampton has to be the weekend favorite in the No. 88 American Instruments Tatuus Ford, he will have to deal with an emergent group of sophomore and rookie drivers. Reigning Rookie of the Year Marc-Antoine Camirand drove the No. 96 Key Motorsports Van Diemen Ford to a season-opening win at Phoenix International Raceway from the pole, March 28, and is certain to be a challenger to Hampton at the LMS.
Camirand leads the contingent of strong F2000 returnees, including the Charlotte-based Richard Morgan Racing, with drivers Jonathan Bottoms (No. 3 Roppe/Team Great Northern Van Diemen Ford) and Steve Rikert (No. 4 Richard Morgan Racing Van Diemen Ford), Larry Foyt (No. 14 First National Bank of Terre Haute/Z Water Works Tatuus Ford), Tom Wood (No. 99 Plains Energy/Round-Up Resource Service Tatuus Ford), Aaron Justus (No. 24 Cape/Torco Racing Lubricants/MIR Van Diemen Ford), Rolando Quintanilla (No. 40 Tecate/Quaker State/Transportes Quintanilla Van Diemen Ford), Bobby Oergel (No. 19 DSTP Motorsports Mygale Ford), 1998 race-leader Andy Lally (No. 10 Highcroft Racing Bowman Ford), T.J. Bell (No. 23 Eldorado/MIR/Feature Graphics Van Diemen Ford), Larry Oberto (No. 66 Oberto Beef Jerky/Lowrey's Big Beef Van Diemen Ford) and Jon Herb (No. 56 Invincible Sportswear Van Diemen Ford).
Leading the rookies after one round is England's Dan Wheldon (No. 5 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford), who finished second to Camirand at Phoenix, and his Primus Racing teammates Mark Dismore (No. 13 Monster.com Van Diemen Ford), son of IRL star Mark A. Dismore, and Daniel Muniz (No. 7 Visa Aval Van Diemen Ford)–both of whom recorded top-10s at PIR. Other top rookies at LMS include Ian Lacy (No. 33 DSTP Motorsports Mygale Ford), Jeff Glenn (No. 72 Bank of the West Carbir Ford), Brendan Kerin (No. 42 Grafton Utilities/Eagle.ca/Limelight Van Diemen Ford), Michael Simpson (No. 57 Pick-A-Part Van Diemen Ford), Arnold Brinkmann (No. 35 Fruit Ecuador Van Diemen Ford) and Galen Puccini (No. 70 RESET/Carbir Motorsports Carbir Ford).