LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 29, 2003) --Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. and Westley Barber, of Saffron, England, captured the wins for Rounds Five and Six of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Completing...
LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 29, 2003) --Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. and Westley Barber, of Saffron, England, captured the wins for Rounds Five and Six of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Completing the top-three in Round Five was Barber and Jonathan Bomarito, of Monterey, Calif. Completing the top-three in Round Six was Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif. and Kasemets. Erick Hansen, of Grayslake, Ill. and Chris Dona, of Sandown, N.H., won the ACC class.
Under overcast skies and threat of rain, Barber led the field to the green early Sunday morning for race one of the doubleheader. At the start Barber, driving the No. 32 Jacuzzi Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, maintained the lead ahead of Kasemets and Bomarito. Following a crash on the opening lap, involving the ACC polesitter Chris Dona, the full-course caution was displayed. On the lap five restart, Barber got a great jump, keeping the lead into turn one. With the drivers settling into a good race pace, the leaders began to build gaps between one another. By the midway point of the 20-lap race, Barber had built a lead of over one second on Kasemets, in the No. 9 FlexOvit/MKIndustries/TMI Pabst Racing Services Van Diemen Ford. As the second half of the race progressed both Kasemets and Bomarito, driving the No. 23 Valley Financial PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, began to close on Barber. Continuing to close the gap, Kasemets began the last lap right behind Barber. Exiting the Keyhole turn, Kasemets got a good draft and pulled alongside Barber on the back straight. Barber and Kasemets entered the esses side-by-side, with Kasemets taking the lead at the exit of the turn. For the remainder of the lap Barber pressured Kasemets, but was unable to find a way past, giving Kasemets the win by 0.552 second. The win is Kasemets fifth career win in the Zetec Championship and third at Mid-Ohio.
Commencing in the late afternoon, Barber led the 24-car field to the green flag for race two under sunny skies. As in race one, Barber held the lead into the esses. Pushing the car to the limits, Barber quickly began to build a sizeable lead, while Kasemets battled Kimball for second place. At the conclusion of the opening lap, Kasemets had passed Kimball. Setting a blistering pace the top-three began to spread out, ahead of a great battle for fourth place. On lap seven, the field was bunched back together when a full-course caution was displayed for Andrew Prendeville spinning off-course in turn one. On the ensuing restart, Lawson Aschenbach, who had moved into fourth, attempted to pass Kimball in turn one, while Barber maintained the lead. Driving the No. 91 Rentvillas.com PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, Kimball showed great car control maintaining the position. The top-three remained unchanged until the penultimate lap, when the leaders encountered a very slow back marker. While Barber made it past unscathed, Kasemets got held up, allowing Kimball to move into second place. On the final lap Kimball closed on Barber, but at the checkered flag, Barber had won his third race of the season by 0.171 second.
"It's like a movie," said Kasemets, who is now third in the championship standings. "I never really believed you could make the pass for the win on the last lap. In the second race it was balls out from the green flag and I just got caught out by a lapped car late in the race."
"I really pushed at the start," said Barber, who continues to lead the championship by 41 points. "I was gutted after race one, so I made sure it wasn't going to happen again. It got a little crazy on the last lap again, but luckily things worked out."
"I just keep learning," said Kimball, who has two podium finishes. "The car got better every session on track and I think I'll be in good position when we come back to Mid-Ohio in August."
"The car took a while to come in," said Bomarito, who is second in the championship. "I got into a pretty good rhythm, but I still needed a little more to challenge for the win."
"I'm very happy about winning my first ACC race," said Hansen. "I got a good start and was able to run a fast race pace."
"It was a lot more work than we wanted," said Dona, who leads the ACC standings. "The plan was to win and build my championship and thanks to my dad we were able to do that after a rough first race."
Completing the top-five in Round Five was A. Prendeville, of Morristown, N.J., driving the No. 25 TCW/Valvoline Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford and Andy Brumbaugh, of Blythewood, S.C., in the No. 86 Andy LLC/Corby Concepts Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford. Completing the top-five in Round Six was Aschenbach, of Gaithersburg, Md., in the No. 2 King Automotive/M&M Welding Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford and Bomarito.