CMC Racing Lakeville Connecticut: May 24, 2003 Lime Rock Park - 1.54 Mile Road Course Round 3 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Series 2003 Van Diemen Scholarship Driver Craig Baltzer was at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville ...
Lakeville Connecticut: May 24, 2003
Lime Rock Park - 1.54 Mile Road Course
Round 3 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Series
2003 Van Diemen Scholarship Driver Craig Baltzer was at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville Connecticut May 24-26 for the Mohegan Sun Lime Rock Grand Prix. Participating in rounds 3 and 4 of the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the Bettendorf Iowa native ran compeitively in both 20 minute practice sessions placing 5th and 6th respectively.
Unfortunately in the closing minutes of the final practice session, Baltzer was forced off course while passing a slower car. Once in the wet grass, the car began to spin-sliding back on course where contactact with an innocent Charlie Kimball was made. The collision wiped out the right front suspension along with the front wing and nosebox.
With only 2 hours to fix the car before qualifications, the JDC team worked nonstop to get the number 8 RF-03 Van Diemen back together. With only a quick scale and eyeball allignment, he team managed to get the machine out on course missing the first 10 minutes of the session. Baltzer managed to drive around the car's imperfections, posting a time of 50.285 seconds around the 1.54 mile road course-placing him 8th in the 26 car field. With less then 2tenths seperating positions 2 thru 9 the race was shaping up to be a close one.
Early on in the 30 lap event, Baltzer slipped back to 10th, but was able to regain his composure, mounting a charge that would eventually land him a respectable 5th by the finish. This effort gained the Lakefront Technologies / Sparco backed pilot 17 more points toward the championship-placing Baltzer in a tie for 4th in the overall points standings as well as 4th in the Greg Moore Rookie of the Year standings.
"I really have to give a big thanks to John, Ron and Dave for working so hard on my car to get me on the track in time for qualifying. I didn't qualify as well as I had hoped but I had a very good car for the race. This is a very intense and competitive series and to run and finish in the top 5 finish is a good result. Running up front really helps me give all my sponsors the attention they deserve; JDC Motorsports, Primus Racing, Elan Group, Avon Tires, Sparco, Lakefront Technologies, and Decal Works."
Lakeville Connecticut: May 26, 2003
Lime Rock Park - 1.54 Mile Road Course
Round 4 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Series
Wet weather was the name of the game for round 4 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Series. Qualifying took place over a 20 minute wet session with fastest lap determining the grid order. 2002 CIK North American ICC Champion Craig Baltzer showed his tremendous wet weather skills by placing 3rd on the grid for the Memorial Day race despite never getting a completely clear lap in. Before the start of the 30 lap event, the sky's opened even further as the rains intensified. The circuit became even more treacherous as standing pools formed and streams of water started to flow across several portions of the the1.54 mile road course. Fortunatly, everyone made it through the first turn virtually blindfolded by the heavy spray thrown off the wet weather Avon Tires.
The opening laps saw the cars string out in search of vision. The race would be more about attrition than outright speed as the conditions would punish even the slightest lapse of concentration. Baltzer maintained a solid hold to his 3rd place position until lap 13 when the National Karting Champion hydroplaned his number 8 Van Diemen off course clipping the tire barriers approaching pit lane. Baltzer was unhurt in the incident but also unable to continue. He would have to settle for just 2 more points toward the series championship along with the 3rd quickest lap of the race.
"I don't think I have ever raced in conditions this bad before. The pools of water along with the streams running across the track made it very tough to just drive on, let alone race. With only an inch and a half of ground clearence it dosn't take much water to float the car. Passing was virtually impossible as well because of all the spray coming off the cars in front of you. Part of me feels very of disappointed for myself and the team. I just hit that stream at a little angle but it was enough to unsettle the car and take me out of the race. A podium finish wound have been a great cap to the weekend and an excellent shot to my points total. In a way, this has boosted my desire and poured more fuel on the fire. I know I can run at the front in rain or shine. I can't let this get me down, you just have to put these kind of results behind you and get on with business."
Craig Baltzer now finds himself with 46 points placing him 8th in the Overall points standings. Baltzer is also 4th in the Greg Moore Rookie of the Year standings. Baltzer will hit the track next in Mid-Ohio for rounds 5 and 6 during the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic being run in conjunction with the Grand-Am series June 28th and 29th. For more information about CMC Racing and contact info for Craig Baltzer and his partners please visit his website at www.craigbaltzer.com