NA-F2000: Mid-Ohio qualifying report

LEXINGTON, OHIO (August 10, 2001) -Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore., captured the pole for Saturday's Round Eleven of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Completing the top-three was ...

LEXINGTON, OHIO (August 10, 2001) -Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore., captured the pole for Saturday's Round Eleven of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Completing the top-three was Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill., and Billy Asaro, of Unionville, Ont., Can.

Qualifying began under hot and humid conditions on a track that had extensive rubber on the surface, following CART FedEx practice. Using the surprising amount of grip provided by the rubber on the course, LaPoint quickly set a fast time in the 30-minute qualifying session. Within 10 minutes LaPoint's time had fallen out of the top-10. Driving the No. 89 Infinity Motorsports/Regency Aviation/TrackMagic Van Diemen Ford, LaPoint pitted briefly to make minor setup changes. As the session progressed, LaPoint looked unable to match the pace of the front-runners, but as the session came to a close, he posted a number of quick laps. At the checkered flag, LaPoint had captured his third pole of 2001, with a time of 1:24.190 (96.210 mph).

"I'm ecstatic with the pole," said LaPoint, who currently is second in the Championship. "As the session wore on you had to adjust your regular lines to find the most grip. I think my experiences in karting, where this is common, really paid dividends today. The plan now is to try and get a good start, and pole away from the field as quickly as possible."

Kasemets entered qualifying as the man to beat, having won the last three races and captured poles previously at Mid-Ohio. Early in the session Kasemets used a good handling car to be consistently in the top-three. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the session, Kasemets, in the No. 6 MKInd/Flexovit/TMI/Pabst Racing Services Van Diemen Ford, jumped to the top of the chart the first time. However, unlike in June when he captured the pole for both rounds run at Mid-Ohio, Kasemets time was quickly bettered. Kasemets remained in second the rest of the session, to capture his fifth consecutive front-row start.

"This is a good result," said Kasemets. "Obviously you want to win the pole, but second is still very good. I think I can go for the win. Let's just hope it's a clean race."

Driving the No. 69 keymotorsport.com/POPS Van Diemen Ford, Asaro got of to quick start, posting a top-five time in the opening minutes. With twenty minutes gone in the session, Asaro was able to post the quickest lap of the day, and looked to be in contention for the pole. However, in the late stages of qualifying he encountered traffic and was unable to improve his time, as both LaPoint and Kasemets bettered it.

"I just didn't get the clean track I needed at the end of the session," said Asaro, who leads the National Championship. "I think I should be okay for the race though, as the team has done a great job, and given me a car capable of winning."

Completing the top-five was Peter Gray, of Aberdeen, Scotland and Arie Luyendyk Jr., of Den Bosch, Holland. The top ACC qualifier was Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., in 13th place overall.

-USF2000

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Tonis Kasemets