NA-F2000: Mid-Ohio Andy Lally notes

Lally Comes from 13th to Finish Sixth In F2000 Race at Mid-Ohio Sunday LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 14 - After a rough ride through the grass at the start, Andy Lally charged back through the field to ...

Lally Comes from 13th to Finish Sixth In F2000 Race at Mid-Ohio Sunday

LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 14 - After a rough ride through the grass at the start, Andy Lally charged back through the field to finish sixth in the U.S. Formula 2000 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday.

The latter stages of the race were much better than the early ones for the Northport, N.Y. star, as he passed the seventh and eighth-place drivers on the backstretch with two laps to go under braking and almost got fifth at the checkered.

Lally's drive from 13th starting spot to sixth at the end got off to a dramatic start when he had an altercation with Bobby Oergel at the drop of the green. "I ended up in the grass and I had to back off it big-time," Lally said. "I probably went back to 22nd position at the start.

"Then I started to pass guys right and left out there," he said.

Lally was 12th by the end of lap two, although there was a big interval between him and 11th. He dropped back to 13th before he started to advance again. He cracked the top 10 on lap eight when he went from 11th to ninth, and he held that position through lap 17.

He drew up behind Sam Hornish Jr. and Oergel on lap 18 and passed them both on the outside on the backstretch to move into sixth on the white-flag lap. Then he almost passed Ryan Hampton for fifth at the line, but Hampton prevailed.

"It was close," Lally said of his bid for Hampton's spot. "I think if I had gotten through [turn] one a little better I'd have gotten Hampton at the end.

"We waited for a yellow that never happened," he added about the 20-lap race, which uncustomarily went non-stop. "We went on stickers [brand-new tires] anticipating that we'd get yellows, but it hurt us when the race went non-stop. We had a push the whole time; I needed a little more rear bar in the car."

The race was won by David Besnard over Marc-Antoine Camirand and cycling Hall-of-Famer Greg LeMond. Mike Johnson, Hampton, Lally, Oergel, Hornish, Anthony Simone and Jonathan Bottoms rounded out the top 10.

Duncan Dayton, the owner of Highcroft Racing and the owner of Bowman America, the North American importer of the F2000 cars that both he and Lally drive, had a rough trip. He started right beside Lally in row seven but he had an altercation with Oergel in the early stages of the race which resulted in damage to the left side of his Bowman BC5's front wing.

Dayton, of North Salem, N.Y., tried to continue to run with the damaged wing but he had dropped back to 18th by lap four. The wing started to scrape on the track surface at that point and Dayton was forced to pit on lap six so the Highcroft Racing crew could remove the wing. He went down a lap and the car was a handful without the wing, but he still persevered and finished the race. He was 25th in the official rundown.

The race is scheduled to be broadcast on Speedvision at 9 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 6.

Everyone at Highcroft Racing - and especially Dayton - are looking forward to the next F2000 event, which will be held June 27-28 on a street course in downtown Minneapolis. Dayton is originally from Wayzata, Minn., and he still has businesses and family members there, so there will be a lot of fans on hand to hopefully turn his luck around.

After Sunday's race at Mid-Ohio Lally is fourth in the overall point standings behind Besnard, Hampton and Robby McGehee. Camirand rounds out the top five. Dayton is tied with Howie Liebengood for 17th.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Robby McGehee , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Andy Lally , David Besnard , Ryan Hampton , Mike Johnson , Howie Liebengood , Anthony Simone , Sam Hornish Jr.