NA-F2000: Watkins Glen Preview

F2000 BACK TO THE GLEN FOR PARTS AMERICA 150 WEEKEND DOUBLEHEADER FAIRFIELD, N.J. (May 27, 1998) — The U.S. F2000 National Championship makes its seventh annual stop at Watkins Glen International for Rounds Five and Six of the 1998 ...

F2000 BACK TO THE GLEN FOR PARTS AMERICA 150 WEEKEND DOUBLEHEADER

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (May 27, 1998) — The U.S. F2000 National Championship makes its seventh annual stop at Watkins Glen International for Rounds Five and Six of the 1998 season, part of the May 29-30 Parts America 150 Weekend.

The U.S. F2000 the boasts top up-and-coming drivers in open-wheel racing competing in 150 horsepower, 150 mph Ford two-liter racing machines, providing the complete motorsports education to drivers and mechanics. The twin 22-lap, 48.62-mile contests are slated to start at 1:15 p.m. (EDT), Friday, and 10:30 a.m. (EDT), Saturday. Race Two will be broadcast tape-delayed, beginning Friday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

After taking the first three rounds of the season (Disney, Phoenix and Homestead Race One), Australian David Besnard was finally knocked out of Winner’s Circle by Robby McGehee at Homestead, but not before recording two of the most spirited drives in series history.

At Disney, Besnard had trouble in qualifying with the No. 13 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford and was forced to start 31st. Besnard proceeded to pass the entire field, taking the lead from McGehee with two laps remaining, providing the closest finish in F2000 history (0.028-second).

After winning flag-to-flag at Phoenix, Besnard took the pole for Round Three at Homestead, but was passed for the first time in 1998 by Ryan Hampton at the start, setting the stage for a 14-lap scrap which resulted in the two coming together, damaging Hampton’s suspension and tearing off the Australian’s rear wing. Besnard proceeded to retain his lead for the remaining nine laps, sliding the car like a dirt stocker around the 2.21-mile, 14-turn circuit to beat Hampton’s No. 88 American Instruments Tatuus Ford to the stripe. McGehee and the No. 2 Energizer/VisionAire Tatuus Ford came back to score a long-awaited first win in the second Homestead race, followed by Besnard and Hampton. Besnard holds a commanding lead in the point standings with 125, followed by McGehee and Hampton’s 88 each.

Fourth in points with 67 is Northport, N.Y.’s Andy Lally, the 1997 U.S. F2000 Rookie of the Year. Lally, driving the No. 5 Maida/Highcroft Racing/Red Line Bowman Ford, has three top-fives, including a third at Disney, and looks to make his and the Bowman chassis first appearances at the top of the podium at one of his home tracks. Lally ran an SCCA Club race this past weekend and dominated, proving he and teammate Duncan Dayton (No. 4 Highcroft Racing Bowman Ford) will be threats this weekend.

Other drivers looking to jump onto the podium include Sam Hornish (No. 7 Hornish Brothers/Fountain City Leasing Van Diemen Ford), Jon Herb (No. 77 Invincible Sportswear Van Diemen Ford), Ryan Walker (No. 78 First Finance Tatuus Ford), Mike Johnson (No. 8 PCG/Valvoline/Slick Eyewear Van Diemen Ford), Bobby Oergel (No. 52 DSTP/Primus/Quicksilver Van Diemen Ford), Christian Coggins (No. 25 Merryland Apt. Communities Van Diemen Ford), and top Rookie of the Year candidates Rolando Quintanilla (No. 64 Transportes Quintanilla/Alfa Leisures Van Diemen Ford) and Buffalo’s Jonathan Bottoms (No. 28 Roppe/Team Great Northern Van Diemen Ford).

Returning to the Glen for his second time is three-time Tour de France Champion Greg LeMond, who began his transition from bicycles to cars with the U.S. F2000 last year. Driving the No. 51 AutoConnect Van Diemen Ford, LeMond had his best day as a driver in Race One at Homestead with a third place finish.

Results for the U.S. F2000 Watkins Glen rounds will be available immediately following qualifying and the race on the AP SportsWire, http://www.usf2000.com, and CompuServe’s racing forum (GO RACE)

WGI WEEKEND FACTS

WHAT: The Parts America 150 Weekend, featuring the two U.S. F2000 National Championship races in support of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

WHERE: The 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course is located in Watkins Glen, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes area.

WHEN: May 28-30, 1998

RACE LENGTHS: 20 laps, 49.0 miles

TELEVISION: Saturday’s race will be tape-delayed on ESPN2, Friday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). A re-broadcast is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 at 3:00 a.m. (EDT).

SCHEDULE:Practice: Thursday, May 28, 9:00 a.m. Thursday, May 28, 12:20 p.m. Thursday, May 28, 3:40 p.m. Qualifying, Race One: Friday, May 29, 8:00 a.m. Race One: Friday, May 29, 1:15 p.m. Qualifying, Race Two: Friday, May 29, 4:00 p.m. Warm-Up: Saturday, May 30, 9:00 a.m. Race Two: Saturday, May 30, 10:30 a.m.

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying: 1:14.688 (118.091 mph) Zak Morioka, 1997 Race Lap: 1:15.012 (117.581 mph) David Rutledge, 1997

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Robby McGehee , Jon Herb , David Rutledge , Rolando Quintanilla , Andy Lally , David Besnard , Ryan Hampton , Mike Johnson , Sam Hornis