NA-F2000: Phoenix Preview

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (March 17, 1998) — The U.S. F2000 National Championship heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Round Two of its 1998 season as the featured support race during the Pep Boys Indy Racing League DuraLube 200 Weekend,...

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (March 17, 1998) — The U.S. F2000 National Championship heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Round Two of its 1998 season as the featured support race during the Pep Boys Indy Racing League DuraLube 200 Weekend, March 20-22.

Some of the hottest up-and-coming drivers in open-wheel racing will display their talents in the 50-lap, 50.0-mile contest slated for Sunday, March 22 at 12:00 p.m. (MST). The race will be broadcast on ESPN 2 on a tape-delayed basis. Initial broadcast of the race will be Sunday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m. (EST), with a rebroadcast scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 at 3:00 a.m. (EST).

Regarded as "the complete motorsports education," the U.S. F2000 boasts an impressive list of alumni, including 1997 IRL Rookie-of-the-Year Jim Guthrie, Sam Schmidt, Greg Ray and Allen May. With many of the top drivers from 1997 graduating to the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic and PPG/Dayton Indy Lights series, the U.S. F2000 is the place to get a first look at the next wave of talent looking to set the motorsports world on fire.

Coming off a brilliant drive at the Walt Disney World Speedway season-opener, January 24, Australian David Besnard (No. 13 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford) is looking to keep his momentum going at Phoenix. Besnard clawed his way from a 31st-place start to earn his first F2000 win at Disney, and now he's hungry to control a race from start to finish. Besnard leads Robby McGehee (No. 2 Energizer/VisionAire Tatuus Ford) in the season points 31-28. McGehee, who led the first 48 laps of the 50-lap Disney contest, switches from his 1997 Van Diemen Ford to a new 1998 Tatuus Ford for Phoenix.

Last year's Rookie-of-the-Year, Andy Lally (No. 5 Red Line Oil/Highcroft Bowman Ford) is third in points. Along with teammates Jeff Shafer (No. 3 Highcroft/Bowman America) and PIR track-record holder Duncan Dayton (No. 4 Highcroft/Bowman America), Lally continues the development of the Bowman chassis, which competes for only the second time ever at PIR.

Jon Herb (No. 77 Coca-Cola/PPG Van Diemen Ford) and Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 7 Hornish Bros./Fountain City Leasing Van Diemen Ford) had career days at Disney, and come to PIR fourth and fifth in points, respectively. Jonathan Bottoms (No. 28 Roppe Van Diemen Ford) is the top rookie so far — followed by Shafer and the No. 25 Merryland Apt. Communities Van Diemen Ford of Christian Coggins. Tom Wood (No. 99 Round-Up Well Servicing Van Diemen Ford) and Ryan Hampton (No. 88 American Instruments/Beta Tatuus Ford) round out the current top-10.

Several top drivers look to crack into the top-10 at PIR, including Larry Foyt (No. 14 Terre Haute First National Bank), his brother Jerry (No. 41 Z Water Works Van Diemen Ford), three-time Tour de France Champion Greg LeMond (No. 51 Manheim Auto Auctions Van Diemen Ford), 1995 MTV Real World cast member Mike Johnson (No. 8 PCG/Valvoline/Slick Van Diemen Ford) and Ric Rushton (No. 15 DSTP Motorsports Van Diemen Ford).

Karting ace Bobby Oergel makes his first start of 1998 at PIR, after striking a deal with DSTP Motorsports. A three-time IKF Grand National Champion, Oergel will pilot the No. 52 Red Line/Quicksilver/Primus Van Diemen Ford.

Results for the U.S. F2000 Phoenix International Raceway round will be available immediately following qualifying and the race on the web at http://www.usf2000.com and CompuServe's racing forum (GO RACEB).

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Jon Herb , Jim Guthrie , Larry Foyt , Sam Schmidt , Andy Lally , David Besnard , Ryan Hampton , Tom Wood , Mike Johnson , Sam Hornis