Lally and Dayton Have Wild Time In Minneapolis U.S. F2000 Race MINNEAPOLIS, June 28 - The slogan "Minnesota Nice" didn't apply to Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 race that was part of the Sprint...
Lally and Dayton Have Wild Time In Minneapolis U.S. F2000 Race MINNEAPOLIS, June 28 - The slogan "Minnesota Nice" didn't apply to Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 race that was part of the Sprint PCS Grand Prix of Minnesota street-circuit race here. Although the event raised an estimated $300,000 for the Minneapolis Children's Hospital, the U.S. Formula 2000 race that concluded the weekend's activities was more like a war than a stroll around the Metrodome, and only 10 of the 28 starters finished.
Unfortunately both of the Highcroft Racing Bowman BC5s were among the majority that didn't take the checkered, but everyone that watched the race certainly knew they were there, especially since one of them almost won.
Northport, N.Y.'s Andy Lally held the runner-up spot almost half the race, 13 of the 30 laps. He had a 20-length lead over third place and he was right on eventual winner Jonathan Bottoms' rear wing, about 72 inches out of first place and patiently waiting to make his move, when the camshaft broke on his Red Line Oil/Maida Bowman BC5. He drifted to a stop and ended up 13th in the final rundown.
Lally gridded eighth but he got off to a fabulous start, charging into fourth by the end of lap one. That pleased 10-year-old Davis Dayton, nephew of Highcroft Racing team owner Duncan Dayton, who got the honor of waving the green flag.
Lally vaulted into third on lap two and powered into second on lap seven. He held that spot until lap 19, when the problem occurred.
"I turned into the chicane and everything was OK. Then there was a bang at the end of the chicane and I heard a clunk," Lally said. "I flipped all the switches I had but it was done.
"But I had a really good car," he added. "This was the first time the Bowman has been on a street course, and we were really contenders. It was terribly slippery and there was dirt everywhere. It was a wild race, but we definitely could have won."
The other Highcroft Racing Bowman BC5 in the field, which was driven by Duncan Dayton of North Salem, N.Y., ended up on the wrecker and 18th in the final rundown with 12 laps complete.
"I just kissed the wall with my right rear in turn six," Dayton related. "I made it through seven OK, but I had hurt something on the car and I just couldn't hold onto it and I spun and crashed in turn eight."
Replays of the crash on the ESPN2 live feed showed some sort of shaft or bar rolling on the track in front of Dayton's Bowman at the point of impact. Although it's only speculation at presstime, that piece may have been a part that was damaged with the initial contact with the wall and the cause of the subsequent accident. Fortunately Dayton wasn't hurt, which is a testament to the Bowman's solid construction.
Dayton started 12th and he'd moved up as high as sixth by lap eight. He was seventh when the crash occurred.
The heavy attrition and the way many drivers' fates changed over the course of the contest was due in part to very slippery track conditions. The weather was perfect but the event was the last race on the card, and many different kinds of cars and many different types of tire compounds had been used on the 1.6-mile temporary street circuit in the course of the weekend.
Jonathan Bottoms ended up winning over Ryan Hampton, Tim Duit, John Miller and Steve Rikert. Point leader David Besnard had problems too as did top runners Robby McGehee and Marc-Antoine Camirand, so only Hampton really gained much on Lally in the point race.
Lally and McGehee made contact a couple of times during the race. "We just touched; we were racing hard," Lally said. "It was all just really hard racing."
Anyone who couldn't make it to Minneapolis can see it for themselves on ESPN2 on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 4:30 p.m. EDT.
The action now switches to a superspeedway oval, as the series has a doubleheader at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Harrisburg, N.C. on July 24-25 in conjunction with an Indy Racing League Indy car event and a USAC midget race.