ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 29, 2003) --Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., won Round Seven of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship at Road America. Completing the top-three was Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. and Jonathan Bomarito,...
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 29, 2003) --Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., won Round Seven of the 2003 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship at Road America. Completing the top-three was Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. and Jonathan Bomarito, of Monterey, Calif. Mike Rodney, of Lafayette, Colo., won the American Continental Championship class.
After a one-year hiatus, 27 Zetec Championship cars took the green at Road America. Going three-wide down the front straight, polesitter Westley Barber led the field into turn one. While the leaders were able to get through the tough corner cleanly, with Kimball in the lead, three cars were involved in an incident behind them, with two ending up in the gravel trap. While safety crews attended the incident, Andy Brumbaugh passed Barber and Kimball for the lead in turn five. As the leaders entered the back half of the course it began to rain. The suddenly slick conditions caused Brumbaugh to spin in turn eight. While Barber avoided the incident, he fell back, allowing Kimball to take the lead. Having moved up through the field in the opening lap, Bomarito followed Kimball through the incident moving into second place, with Kasemets close behind. Unable to clear the cars off the course in turn one, a full-course caution was displayed at the end of the first lap. On the lap four restart, Kimball maintained the lead, while Bomarito, in the No. 23 Valley Financial PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, battled Kasemets for position. Entering turn five, Kasemets got to the inside of Bomarito, taking second place. Once past Bomarito, Kasemets set about chasing down Kimball. As the race progressed, Kimball and Kasemets began posting faster laps than in qualifying, with Kasemets slowly closing the gap. On the penultimate lap, Kasemets, driving the No. 9 FlexOvit/MKIndustries/TMI Pabst Racing Services Van Diemen Ford, got an excellent draft on Kimball along the front straight. Pulling alongside Kasemets attempted to pass for the lead, but was unable to take the position from Kimball. For the remainder of the lap Kasemets repeatedly challenged Kimball, in the No. 91 Rentvillas.com PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, until turn eight when Kasemets had a brief off-course excursion. At the checkered flag, Kimball had captured his third career Zetec Championship win by 2.714 seconds. Kimball previously won the inaugural opening two rounds of the Zetec West Championship.
"It's great to beat Tonis [Kasemets] in one-on-one battle like that," said Kimball, who moves into fourth in the championship after the win. "I knew if I got a solid start I had a chance at the lead. When Andy [Brumbaugh] spun in the rain, I was fortunate to keep the car on the track. Late in the race I saw Tonis catching me, which was a scary sight, but I just tried to stay focused. I can't wait for race two on Sunday."
"After a disasterous qualifying it was nice to finish on the podium," said Kasemets, who has now finished on the podium in three consecutive races. "My crew kept yelling on the radio for me to push, unfortunately I went a little to deep there at the end of the race."
"I didn't expect to be in second at the end of the opening lap," said Bomarito, who remains second in the championship after Round Seven. "Going into the race I was confident I had the car to move up. Getting a good start and making the most of my opportunities things worked out. I will be nice to start up front tomorrow."
"I'm thrilled to death," said Rodney, who captures his first ACC win in his first carrer Zetec Championship start. "I spun on the first lap and fell back to last. After working my way back into the fight for the lead, I went side-by-side with the ACC leader in last corner, taking the win by a nose length."
Completing the top-five was Adam Pecorari, of Aston, Pa., in the No. 28 SAI Hydraulics/Earls Indy/Lucky Design/Arai/Biesse Karts Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford and James Gue, of Alpharetta, Ga., in No. 12 Essex Racing GTP Motorsports Van Diemen Ford.