NA-F2000: Craig Baltzer Mid-Ohio summary

Craig Baltzer found himself in some tough situations during rounds 9 and 10 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship series taking place this past weekend in conjunction with the Champ Cars at the Mid Ohio Grand Prix in Lexington, Ohio. In his...

Craig Baltzer found himself in some tough situations during rounds 9 and 10 of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship series taking place this past weekend in conjunction with the Champ Cars at the Mid Ohio Grand Prix in Lexington, Ohio. In his first hot practice, the nineteen year old hot shoe suffered a rear suspension failure which caused the left rear to fold under while entering the turn seven, eight, nine complex at around ninety mph. Luckily, the car was caught undamaged by the gravel trap after suddenly spinning off course. This was followed by heavy rains for the final practice session on Thursday, which meant that Baltzer had only Friday's early morning practice to find a set-up suitable for the 2.258-mile road course.

Qualifying for race one saw the JDC Motorsports driver produced a lap time of 1:24.519 which placed the Superior Tube Van Diemen in the 11th starting grid position for race one. Just hours before the start, the sky's opened, drenching the circuit with a heavy rain. By start time though, the rain had ceased putting the track under wet but drying conditions. Opting to start on slick tires instead of rains, Baltzer moved up to 10th in the opening laps before over estimating the tracks grip level and clipping the tire barrier under power coming out of turn nine. The car suffered substantial front wing damage but Baltzer was able to rejoin and continue back to the pit area, where the team made the hard decision to retire the number eight machine until a more thorough inspection could be performed on the suspension .

Qualifying for Race Two went better for the Superior Tube Products/Sparco/Lakefront Technologies/Decal Works driver, as Baltzer was able to post a career best lap round Mid Ohio of 1:23.457, placing him 9th for Sundays grid. Mayhem is the best word to describe the action in race two. The opening lap saw the number 2 machine of Lawson Ashenbach get into the back of the number 91 of Charlie Kimble, causing Kimble's rear tire to suddenly go flat entering the high speed turn one. Kimble's chosen line and sudden deceleration forced the hapless Baltzer off the track exiting turn one, dropping him back to 13th place entering the Keyhole for the second time. With the bit now firmly between his teeth, Baltzer began a charge through the pack which would eventually lead him back up to 6th position, despite 3 caution periods which consumed 10 of the 20 scheduled laps. Baltzer drive was rewarded with 16 championship points on the weekend as well as scoring another team point for JDC Motorsports.

"This weekend started off rough", said Baltzer "and sometimes its hard to smooth things over after the situation goes bad so quickly. The crash during race one was very unfortunate, but sometimes it happens. Sixth isn't too bad considering where I came from today. I believe we were faster than a few of the guys who finished ahead of us, but that turn one incident on lap 2 basically killed any hope for a podium finish today. All I can do now is look ahead and focus on the final two rounds at Road Atlanta in October. Every point is crucial at this stage and I will be trying harder then ever to surpass my career best 3rd place Zetec result. As usual I have to thank the guys who get me though these tough weekends JDC Motorsports, Primus Racing, Elan Group, Avon Tires, Superior Tube Products, Sparco, Lakefront Technologies and Decal Works."

Baltzer now has 99 points in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, retaining his 9th place championship position. The series now takes a month off before heading down to Road Atlanta for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Series, which will be run in conjunction with the American LeMans series. For more information about CMC Racing and contact info for Craig Baltzer and his partners please visit his website at www.craigbaltzer.com

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Series Other open wheel