NA-F2000: Phoenix Highcroft Notes

For more information: Linda Mansfield Highcroft Drivers Are Solidly in the Field For Sunday's F2000 Race at Phoenix PHOENIX, March 21 - With a little help from his teammates,...

For more information: Linda Mansfield

Highcroft Drivers Are Solidly in the Field For Sunday's F2000 Race at Phoenix

PHOENIX, March 21 - With a little help from his teammates, Andy Lally of Northport, N.Y., recorded Highcroft Racing's best qualifying effort Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, earning the eighth starting spot out of 37 entrants for Sunday's U.S. Formula 2000 race with a lap at an average speed of 125.97 mph on the 1-mile oval.

Teammate Jeff Shafer of North Hollywood, Calif., will start right behind Lally, as he qualified tenth at 125.21 mph. Duncan Dayton of North Salem, N.Y., who was fastest of the three in practice on Friday, will start 20th on Sunday after a qualifying run at 124.55 mph.

David Besnard of Sydney, Australia set a new track record with a lap at 128.57 mph to earn the pole for Sunday's race, which is scheduled to get the green flag at noon.

"Teamwork absolutely helped here," said Lally, who was the 29th driver to go under the clocks. Dayton and Shafer had pulled earlier spots in the order of qualifying, going out 14th and 15th, respectively.

"My teammates went out earlier and they recommended a small bar change," Lally said. "I made it and it worked.

"The Highcroft Racing crew set up the Bowman great," he added. "I went into that second lap and I thought I could go faster. I just went out there and committed to it and we're not changing a thing for the race. I probably won't even go out for the practice session this afternoon. We used the main set-up from yesterday morning [Friday]."

Lally uses a Ford motor prepared by Quicksilver, while his teammates use Elite-prepped engines. A brand-new motor was installed in Shafer's Bowman Friday night, which helped his effort on Saturday.

"I was a little loose coming out of turn two on my second lap, which was my fastest one, but everything was fine," Shafer said. "Things are going better today than they were for us yesterday. We'll run the practice session this afternoon and try to go faster."

The practice session replaces a consy which was slated for Friday afternoon. The consy was scrubbed and the entire starting line-up was determined from the best of each driver's two time-trial laps.

The practice session will be very important to Dayton, who has been experimenting with the set-up on his Bowman since it was rolled out of the trailer.

"In hindsight I should have done a burnout to heat up the rear tires before leaving the pits; that would have helped to alleviate some of the oversteer," Dayton said. "We've got to tighten my car up before the race for sure, but we'll have to go over the data and talk about the best way to do that. We'll go out this afternoon and work some more."

Times were only available from one practice session on Friday. Dayton was 12th fastest in that session with a lap at 126.39 mph. Shafer was 15th at 125.91 mph and Lally was 21st at 125.32 mph.

This is only the second race ever for the new Bowman BC5 Formula 2000 car, which is imported from England. The event is a companion event to the DuraLube 200 Indy Racing League headliner.

The 50-lap race will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, April 5 from 11:30 a.m. to noon ET. It is scheduled to be rebroadcast at 3 a.m. ET on April 7.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Andy Lally , David Besnard , Jeff Shafer