Exciting Pacific F2000 Season Set For Wide-Open Finale in Las Vegas Buttonwillow, Calif. (October 10, 2006) -- The Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires has already been settled in favor of talented teenager Robert Podlesni, from...
Exciting Pacific F2000 Season Set For Wide-Open Finale in Las Vegas
Buttonwillow, Calif. (October 10, 2006) -- The Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires has already been settled in favor of talented teenager Robert Podlesni, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., but there is still plenty at stake as the season concludes this weekend with a pair of races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course.
Six different winners have emerged from the 10 contests held to date, and the primary focus now is on the battle for second that has been raging all year long between Tim Harris, Nick Haye and Chris Spreitzer.
All three drivers have enjoyed a taste of victory for the first time and are anxious for more. They are currently separated by just 19 points, with a maximum tally of 68 markers up for grabs at Las Vegas: 30 points for a win, plus two points for both the fastest qualifier and the fastest race lap in each of the two 30-minute events.
"There's everything to play for," declares Harris, 35, from Irvine, Calif., who won at Phoenix in February with the #20 Apex Fire Systems/Carson Trailer/Mihms Truck Repair Mygale SJ05 and holds a slender 18-point advantage over Haye. "I always enjoy going to Las Vegas. It's a fun track and a fun town. I've had a good battle with these youngsters all the way through the season and I intend to show them who's the boss."
Haye, 18, from Huntington Beach, Calif., secured his first win at California Speedway in July with the #4 PR1 Motorsports Mygale. Since then he has endured two disappointing non-finishes from his last three starts.
"We've just come off some pretty heavy bad luck so I'm really hoping to finish off the season on a strong note," says Haye. "My goal is to contend with Podlesni and, hopefully, win a couple races and take back my second place in the championship."
Spreitzer, 19, from Phoenix, Ariz., also is firmly in the mix. He currently lies just one point behind Haye after a breakthrough year with the #7 Anglo American Racing/Bill Wilson Motorsports Van Diemen RF02. Spreitzer, too, recorded his maiden win when he split the laurels with Haye during the California Speedway double-header in July.
Aside from their own internal tussle, the trio will have to contend with Podlesni, who hopes to graduate into the Champ Car Atlantic Series for 2007 and is intent on rounding out his title-winning campaign with a flourish.
"Poodles" has one more goal to achieve too -- victory in the "Summer Cup" which will be awarded to the highest point-scorer from the final six races of the year. To do so he will need to overcome a six-point deficit to Spreitzer, who holds an 81-75 point advantage following a run of consistent finishes in recent events.
Podlesni has a little extra incentive after learning that he will carry the coveted #1 on his Alpinestars/Elan Motor Tech/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen RF03.
"It feels wonderful to carry the #1 on my car," says Podlesni. "This was my goal from the start of the season and it is fantastic to be able to race the last two races with the championship already decided. My sights are firmly set on winning the Summer Cup. I want to end the season on top, and am looking forward to a great last two races."
Another intense battle will be fought out among the Masters Series contenders, for drivers over 40 years of age. Series coordinator Les Phillips (#89 Swiss Motorsports Mygale SJ04), from Bakersfield, Calif., leads the way at present, but Al Salvo (#23 Miracle Sealants/PR1 Motorsports Mygale SJ05), from Arcadia, Calif., and Peter Hastrup (#5 Western Building Materials/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen RF03), from Fresno, Calif., are nipping at his heels. All three are capable of challenging for the overall victory, too.
Fellow veteran Dennis Goughary (#24 Shamrock Investment/Landmark Motorsports Carbir DS3) has eked out a clear advantage in the overall points table as the highest-placed National car (running the older Pinto engine in traditional SCCA Formula Continental spec). Yet the Huntington Beach, Calif., native can expect some stiff opposition from Anaheim, Calif.'s Tom Hope (#10 H&H Motorsports Van Diemen RF98) and newcomer Steve Filice (#88 Tatuus RC98), who will be making the trip from his Northern California Wine Country home.