NA-F2000: Sebring qualifying report

SEBRING, FLA. (September 29, 2001) --Piero Rodarte, of Mexico City, Mexico and Tom Dyer, of San Rafael, Calif. captured the poles for Saturday's and Sunday's Rounds Twelve and Thirteen of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by ...

SEBRING, FLA. (September 29, 2001) --Piero Rodarte, of Mexico City, Mexico and Tom Dyer, of San Rafael, Calif. captured the poles for Saturday's and Sunday's Rounds Twelve and Thirteen of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Sebring International Raceway respectively. Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore. and Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill. completed the top-three for Saturday's race. Kasemets and Mike Potekhen, of Phoenix, Ariz. will start second and third for Sunday's race.

Qualifying for race one, Round Twelve, was run early in the morning on a wet track. Early in the session the track began dry, forcing numerous drivers to pit and switch to slicks, after starting on rain tires. Rodarte, driving the No. 55 Telmex Van Diemen Ford, had started the session on slicks and was able to post a quick lap of 1:15.436 (88.286 mph) during this period. Almost immediately after teams had made the tire changes, it began to sprinkle lightly, effectively ending anyone's chance to better Rodarte's time. LaPoint, driving the No. 89 Infinity Motorsports/Regency Aviation/TrackMagic Van Diemen Ford and Kasemets, in the No. 6 MKInd/FlexOvit/TMI/Pabst Racing Services Van Diemen Ford came closest posting times a half second slower. The pole is the first of Rodarte's career.

Under ideal weather conditions, qualifying for race two began in the mid-afternoon. At the start of the session LaPoint, who is second in the National Championship, had a severe engine failure ending his session. As the session progressed the times dropped steadily as the drivers became more familiar with the track. At the checkered flag, Dyer, in the No. 33 Cycle Shack/Menards/Cowboy Charcoals/Flamingo Hotels & Resorts Van Diemen Ford had captured his first career pole with a lap of 1:09.796 (95.420 mph). Kasemets, who had been in the top-five the entire session, captured the outside front-row position. Potekhen, who was fourth quickest in the first qualifying session in the No. 87 P.D.R./Twinseason.com Van Diemen Ford, qualified third.

"This is a fantastic result," said Rodarte, who has one win in 2001. "We decided to run the entire session on slicks. I adjusted my driving style as the weather dictated and was able to do a good lap when I had the opportunity. While I have a mathematical chance to win the chance, I know I need to win."

"It's great to finally be here [on pole]," said Dyer. "The crew gave me car that felt very comfortable and was easy to drive quick. The object now is to end the season a high note and maybe come away from here with a win."

"We just didn't get a good lap when the track was right," said LaPoint. "Then goal now is to run a smart race, take home as many points as I can and try to win the championship."

"I'm very happy with the results," said Kasemets, who has three wins in 2001. "The car was great in both sessions. I'm going to push right from the green flag and try to score some more wins."

"We just didn't have that little extra needed for the pole," said Potekhen. "We've been running upfront all year and I'd really like to close the season out with a win."

Completing the top-five for Round Twelve on Saturday is Potekhen and Dyer, while Rodarte and Memo Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico, complete the top-five for Round Thirteen on Sunday.

-usf2000-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Memo Rojas , Piero Rodarte , Tonis Kasemets , Mike Potekhen , Tom Dyer