NA-F2000: Pacific F2000: Fontana preview

Full 24-Car Field Entered for Pacific F2000 Season Opener at California Speedway Buttonwillow, Calif. (March 6, 2007) -- A full field of 24 Formula Ford 2000 cars has been attracted to this weekend's opening round of the 2007 Pacific F2000 ...

Full 24-Car Field Entered for Pacific F2000 Season Opener at California Speedway

Buttonwillow, Calif. (March 6, 2007) -- A full field of 24 Formula Ford 2000 cars has been attracted to this weekend's opening round of the 2007 Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires. The entry comprises an intriguing mix of talented youngsters and experienced veterans who will fight for supremacy in a pair of 30-minute races around the 2.88-mile combined oval/road course at California Speedway as part of VARA's Route 66 Classic Formula Festival. The event will also feature a selection of vintage Champ Cars and Indy Cars as well as an appearance by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser.

Prime among those who will be seeking to start out the season with a victory are talented teenagers Patrick Barrett (from Los Osos, Calif.), Philip Metzger (Greenwood Village, Colo.), Shaun Modisette (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Chris Spreitzer (Phoenix, Ariz). There are plenty of other likely challengers, however, including such accomplished veterans as former SCCA Formula Ford National Champion Scott Rarick (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Peter Hansel (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who finished on the podium in his last race at California Speedway.

"Pacific F2000 will be full of competitive drivers this year and a lot of us have shown well in testing, so it's hard to tell who's the strongest," declared Barrett, 17, who followed in the footsteps of current Red Bull Formula 1 driver Scott Speed and runaway 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Champion J.R. Hildebrand by winning last year's Formula Russell Championship. Barrett also made a stunning Pacific F2000 debut, winning twice at Infineon Raceway in September. This year he will drive a Van Diemen for 2004 champion team, PR1 Motorsports. "I go into every race with the determination to win. If I can walk way from this weekend with both wins, I'll be quite pleased."

Metzger, 17, has two seasons of racing under his belt with San Clemente, Calif.-based Team G.FRO, and is also confident of success: "I'm hoping to come out strong at the first race and set the tone for the season. We've been testing a lot and I've been training hard over the winter, and I think I've got a good shot at the championship."

Modisette's preparations were thrown off kilter when he contracted mononucleosis toward the end of last year, but he displayed prodigious pace aboard his #26 Carson Trailer/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen in a test last week at Buttonwillow Raceway and is now raring to go.

"I went quicker than I've ever gone before so I can't wait to get to California Speedway," said 19-year-old Modisette, who secured his first podium finish last year at Buttonwillow.

Spreitzer, 19, won a race at California Speedway last summer, en route to fourth in the final championship standings. He, too, will be a sure-fire front-runner this weekend aboard the #7 BWM Engineering/Anglo American Racing Van Diemen.

Another youngster to watch will be Mitchell Cunningham, 20, from Auckland, New Zealand. The younger brother of former FF2000 front-runner and 2005 Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham has never raced a car before but is a veteran of the karting scene and has driven for the factory CRG team in Europe for the past three years. Cunningham will drive the same Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen that won the championship last year.

-credit: js

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Al Unser Sr. , Scott Speed , Hans Peter , Wade Cunningham , J.R. Hildebrand , Patrick Barrett