Ian Lacy Completes Pacific F2000 Championship Sweep in Phoenix Avondale, Ariz. (April 3, 2005) -- The level of competition in this weekend's pair of Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Mickey Thompson Tires/Cooper Tire races proved to be as...
Ian Lacy Completes Pacific F2000 Championship Sweep in Phoenix
Avondale, Ariz. (April 3, 2005) -- The level of competition in this weekend's pair of Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Mickey Thompson Tires/Cooper Tire races proved to be as hot as the weather at Phoenix International Raceway. Series newcomer/FF2000 Zetec veteran Ian Lacy emerged victorious from this afternoon's thrilling 27-lap race, which featured battles throughout the 27-car field, and for the second time in as many days his margin of victory was less than one second.
"It's been an absolutely wonderful weekend," said Lacy, from Eureka, Calif., after guiding John Lombardo's Napa Auto Parts/Denso/P1 Racing Van Diemen RF03 to another finely judged victory. "I don't have a regular drive this season, so this is a great way to keep my name out there. I'm working hard to keep my career going. I have a few doors that may open for me, and it's always nice to have some goods results to boost my credibility. I can't thank John Lombardo and P1 Racing enough for this opportunity. I've been really impressed with the quality of this series and I've had a lot of fun."
Lacy had his work cut out for him to complete a sweep of the two races, since he qualified only third quickest this morning, behind regular series front-runner J.R. Hildebrand and surprise polesitter Jesse Yorio. The native New Yorker became the first driver to lead the way in qualifying for a Pacific F2000 series event at the wheel of one of the older Ford Pinto-engined cars, which have proven to be closely matched with the majority of contenders who utilize the newer Ford Zetec powerplant.
Yorio led the way to the green flag but quickly fell to third when 17-year-old Hildebrand pulled off a brave maneuver around the outside under braking for the first turn and then Lacy dived to the inside in Turn Two.
After leading the first couple of laps, Hildebrand fell prey to the greater experience of Lacy. A little later, Yorio, too, found a way past the youngster, who was struggling to find a consistent balance on his PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ04.
Hildebrand made a couple of mistakes in the middle stages of the race, falling briefly back to fifth place, but soon began to make up some of the deficit. His cause then was helped by a full-course caution, after Greg Minium's Mygale suffered problems and became stranded on the race track.
Lacy and Yorio continued to lead at the restart, but Yorio made one brief slip at Turn Six with just over one lap remaining. Hildebrand quickly took advantage and maintained second place to the checkered flag.
"I think that was probably my best performance this year. I'm still looking for that elusive first win," said Hildebrand with a wry smile, "but I'm happy with the result."
Yorio rued the one error but still put forth an impressive effort in his Chris Harrison-tended Citadel Security Agency Van Diemen RF01. He also took home a special award donated by Dave Freitas Racing as the weekend's highest-scoring Pinto-powered contender.
"I should have been second," he noted," but I'm happy with the outcome. It was a really close race all the way through, and it was a lot of fun. I need to thank a lot of people for making this weekend possible, and especially the guys at Cooper/Avon Tires who were a great help."
Teammate Ted Guenther, from Phoenix, Ariz., finished an equally impressive fourth in his similar Pinto-powered Van Diemen, followed by Kansas City, Mo.'s Scott Foutch. Carl Scott claimed sixth in an older Van Diemen RF96-Pinto, just edging out series leader Mike Forest who was fighting back from an early spin. The Canadian failed to finish on the podium for the first time this year, but still gained some consolation by clinching the Pacific F2000 Championship's Spring Cup by virtue of accumulating most points from the opening six races of the campaign.
"A little more hardware to take home is much appreciated," said Forest, who began his season with four straight victories for PR1 Motorsports. "The series is really growing quickly and the competition is getting tougher every weekend. I couldn't ask for more."