NA-F2000: Morioka Charlotte Fri. Quals

For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com Morioka Qualifies Third For Friday's FF2000 Race at CMS CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 25, 3:30 p.m. -Zak Morioka qualified third in time trials Friday afternoon for the...

For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com

Morioka Qualifies Third For Friday's FF2000 Race at CMS

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 25, 3:30 p.m. -Zak Morioka qualified third in time trials Friday afternoon for the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will be held later Friday afternoon.

Morioka's Kentucky Fried Chicken/A.M.E. Sports Van Diemen Quicksilver Ford turned the course, a 1.5-mile oval with an added chicane in turn one, in a time of 44.785 seconds for an average speed of 128.614 mph.

Andrea DeLorenzi is about 2 mph faster than the field with his Tatuus. He won the pole with a lap in 44.010 seconds for a speed of 130.879 mph. Ryan Hampton will start second. Matt Sielsky will line up beside Morioka in the second row, while Jeff Shafer rounded out the top five qualifiers.

This weekend's doubleheader is the first time the U.S. FF2000 series has visited CMS. "The track is a different type of track than I've ever run before," Morioka noted. "It is faster than we've ever run on the straightaways, and then you have to dramatically slow down and go in first gear to get through the chicane in turn one. We have to go from about 145 mph down the straightaways to about 60 mph in the chicane, and that's a very big challenge.

"The track is bumpier than any other track I've ever run on, but that doesn't bother me at all," he added. "The biggest challenge is the change in speed that is required here."

The first time the FF2000 teams got to practice at CMS was Friday morning due to 13 inches of rain which fell in the area on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We started with our oval track set-up this morning, and that didn't work very well," Morioka said. "We were very slow at the beginning, but then we changed the whole car to a medium set-up between our oval and road course set-ups. That worked a lot better. We worked a lot on our shocks to put the power down in the chicane. We ended up fourth in the morning practice session, but we'd spent about two hours changing the set-up because it required different suspension parts and everything. That left just about a half-hour for the rest of practice before qualifying, so we didn't have much time to fine-tune our set-up. Overall we're very pleased though."

Morioka is suffering from a cold this weekend. "I'm not at my peak in stamina today," he admitted. "But I'm really looking forward to the race. The important thing is to finish. I think there are going to be a lot of crashes, because guys are spinning out even by themselves. It is important not to lock your wheels going into the chicane, because that hurts your tire wear. The race is not going to be decided on the first lap. I am just going to try to be around at the end, and if the car is working well I'll try to get some positions in the last 10 laps. But the important thing is to finish." -30-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ryan Hampton , Jeff Shafer