Doug Smith Departs Cleveland Airport with Top-Ten Performance CLEVELAND, Oh., June 30, 2005 -- Doug Smith entered last weekend's Grand Prix of Cleveland planning to use the Burke Lakefront Airport as the launching pad to his first Formula...
Doug Smith Departs Cleveland Airport with Top-Ten Performance
CLEVELAND, Oh., June 30, 2005 -- Doug Smith entered last weekend's Grand Prix of Cleveland planning to use the Burke Lakefront Airport as the launching pad to his first Formula Ford Zetec Cooper Tire Championship. However, events out of his control have pushed those plans back for the Plantation, Fla. driver as he was forced to accept ninth-place in Saturday's 30-minute feature and 11th in Sunday's event. The results would drop the No. 35 Packers of Indian River LTD/wirewheel.com/Race-Sport.net Van Diemen out of the top-five in points but the top-ten and near top-ten finishes keep him within striking distance of the overall point leader in the championship with eight races remaining.
Smith would qualify 14th for the first race of the weekend on the 2.016-mile, ten-turn airport circuit. He would move the No. 35 Packers of Indian River LTD/wirewheel.com/Race-Sport.net GTP Motorsports entry towards the front of the pack reaching ninth by the end of the 21st, and final, lap. Now positioned tenth on the grid for the second of the two races, Smith looked poised to grab a second top-ten finish in Sunday's race. However, a bevy of yellow flags, accounting for 22 of the 30 minute race, and a mechanical problem would push the No. 35 to 11th at the checkered flag. Running eighth, having gained two positions in the limited time that the green flag was out, Smith brought the GTP Motorsports entry down for the final 'green flag-white flag- checkered flag' finish as time ran off the clock. However, a small piece of rubber had lodged itself into the throttle linkage which connects the accelerator of the Van Diemen chassis to the Ford four-cylinder engine. The lack of proper throttle control cost the 2002 American Continental Championship runner-up three positions on the restart on the 13th of 14 laps.
Doug Smith now has four event weekends, eight races, remaining in the 2005 season. The departure from Cleveland's airport circuit means a return to the permanent road courses of North America for the remainder of the year. Next up will be two events in conjunction with the Ferrari Challenge at the picturesque Road America facility in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. on August 6 and 7th.
Doug Smith: "I had pretty high expectations coming into Cleveland. I was hoping to do well and gain some ground in the points. Things just didn't go as planned. That's racing. I will say that I learned a lot working with my engineer, Glenn Phillips. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car at Road America."