NA-F2000: Pacific: Buttonwillow finale date set

Pacific F2000 Championship Conclusion Set For Buttonwillow on September 24/25 Buttonwillow, Calif. (June 9, 2005) -- The final rounds of this year's hotly contested 12-race Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Mickey Thompson Tires/Cooper...

Pacific F2000 Championship Conclusion Set For Buttonwillow on September 24/25

Buttonwillow, Calif. (June 9, 2005) -- The final rounds of this year's hotly contested 12-race Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Mickey Thompson Tires/Cooper Tire will be held at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park road course on the weekend of September 24/25. The pair of races will be held in conjunction with the Vintage Auto Racing Association's popular "Oktoberfest Road Races" event.

"We always enjoy running with VARA," says Pacific F2000 Championship coordinator Les Phillips. "Their events are always very well organized and their club members have a massive amount of enthusiasm for the sport."

The Pacific F2000 series has reached its halfway stage with six of the 12 rounds already in the books. Mike Forest, 23, from Edmonton, Canada, is the current points leader after winning four of the season's first six races aboard his PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ04.

J.R. Hildebrand, 17, from Sausalito, Calif., currently lies second in the points table. The talented Redwood High School (Corte Madera) student, who is undertaking his first season of professional racing after winning last year's SCCA Formula Russell Championship, has finished on the podium in all six races and trails Forest by just 12 markers, 112-100. Irvine, Calif.'s Tim Harris is third in the overall standings on 53 points.

Forest's early-season form also enabled him to clinch the Pacific F2000 "Spring Cup" by virtue of scoring most points during the first half of the season.

A similar "Summer Cup" initiative will comprise the final three race weekends of the year, which will

commence with a pair of races at Infineon Raceway, near Sonoma, Calif., as part of the prestigious American Le Mans Series weekend on July 16/17.

"The 'Spring Cup' and 'Summer Cup' program is working well for us," says Phillips. "We've had an average of 27 cars for our first three race weekends, which is even better than we'd hoped, and the indications are that the level of interest is going to rise even more. The 'Summer Cup' will give an extra incentive -- a mini-series championship -- for those drivers who for whatever reason haven't been able to do our first three weekends, as well as those who are gaining experience and are now ready to challenge the front-runners."

The overall Pacific F2000 Championship and the "Summer Cup" will conclude with a pair of double-header race weekends at Buttonwillow (located adjacent to the I-5 freeway in California's Central Valley about a 40-minute drive from Bakersfield) on September 3/4 and September 24/25.

Intriguingly, the two race weekends will be contested on entirely different configurations of the challenging multi-use facility, thereby posing two disparate challenges for the competitors.

The Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Mickey Thompson Tires/Cooper Tire features modern, purpose-built, single-seat, open-wheel race cars powered by either four-cylinder, double-overhead cam, fuel-injected 2.0-liter Ford Zetec engines or the slightly older, carbureted, 2.0-liter Ford "Pinto" engines, both of which produce around 150 horsepower. The cars weigh in at just 1,190 lbs, employ "slick" (treadless) Cooper Zeon racing tires and are capable of speeds in excess of 140mph.

Past F2000 graduates include Champ Car World Series title-winners Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy, two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and the two most recent Indianapolis 500 race winners, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.

-ctcs-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , J.R. Hildebrand , Mike Forest , Sam Hornis