NA-F2000: Watkins Glen race one report

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (May 19, 2001)-Billy Asaro, of Unionville, Ont., won Round Four of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Watkins Glen International. Tom Dyer, of San Rafael, Calif. and Paul Dana, of Indianapolis,...

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (May 19, 2001)-Billy Asaro, of Unionville, Ont., won Round Four of the U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision at Watkins Glen International. Tom Dyer, of San Rafael, Calif. and Paul Dana, of Indianapolis, Ind., completed the top-three. Billy Hagar, of Tuttle, Oklahoma won the American Continental Championship race. As in years past the opening laps of the race at Watkins were packed with excitement. Starting on the outside of row one, Mike Andersen, of Green Pond, N.J., took the lead into turn one. The polesitter, Memo Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico, dropped back to fourth as both Jason LaPoint, of Woodburn, Ore. and Dyer made it past. Behind the leaders Vanina Ickx, of Brussels, Belgium and Arnold Brinkmann, of Quito, Ecuador had contact. Brinkmann was unable to continue, while Ickx made to the pits to do repairs. As the leaders went through the bus stop, Rojas jumped the curb and spun into the gravel trap. This incident brought out the race's only full-course caution as he was extracted, to rejoin the race one lap down. On the ensuing restart, Asaro got a great jump and passed LaPoint to move into second place. After holding a constant gap to Andersen, Asaro began to close. On lap 12, Asaro got a great tow off Andersen on the straight and passed for the lead entering the bus stop. Exiting the heel of the boot Andersen suddenly slowed and pulled off. With Andersen's retirement, Asaro, driving No. 69 Van Diemen Ford, had a four second gap on second place. The remainder of the race he ran unchallenged to capture his second win of the season. The win moves Asaro into the points lead with 87 points

"I didn't expect a win after we qualified," said Asaro. "When I got into second I though Mike [Andersen] would run away. I soon realized I was staying with him and I could possibly pass and get the lead. It's too bad what happened to him [Andersen], but that's racing and I'll take the win with a smile."

Driving the No. 33 Cycle Shack Inc./Menards/Paladin Associates Van Diemen Ford, Dyer battled all race long to capture his first-career podium finish. At the start of the race, Dyer maintained his third place starting position. On the restart following the full-course, Dyer was unable to hold off Asaro and was under attack from LaPoint. LaPoint took the position later in the lap. LaPoint and Dyer continued the battle for position for six more laps before Dyer regained the position in the bus stop. After Andersen retired and LaPoint was forced off the course to avoid contact, Dyer ran uncontested to finish second.

"It was a good second place finish," said Dyer, who won the ACC last year. "I was trying to keep my nose clean. I managed to avoid all the commotion and put in some good laps together. The race came to me." Dana, driving the No. 44Forsythe/CAPCO Abrasives/Klein Tools/Mate Van Diemen Ford, avoided the mayhem at the start of the race to move into fifth place. Following the restart Dana battled Tonis Kasemets, of Chicago, Ill., for position. The duo made contact on lap five, but continued undamaged. Kasemets grabbed the position on lap eight. When Kasemets spun in turn one, Dana avoided his car and moved into third. The finish is Dana's first career podium finish.

"This is amazing," said Dana. "To finish on the podium in only my third weekend. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come." Hagar, driving the No. 4 Hagar Restaurant Service Van Diemen Ford, drove a consistent race to capture his second consecutive ACC win. At the start, Hagar managed to avoid the incident in turn one and move up to 15th place. As the race progressed Hagar maintained a constant gap over of his fellow ACC driver's and battled National Championship drivers. At the checkered, Hagar was 14th overall and had extended his lead in the ACC point standings.

"It went real good," said Hagar. "The car was good. It's our second win and we're holding the points lead which is important." Completing the top-five was Arie Luyendyk Jr., of Den Bosch, Holland and Peter Gray, Of Aberdeen, Scotland. Luyendyk's fourth place finish is a career-best and Gray maintains second in the point standings. JW Urlin, of London, Ont., was awarded the Taylor Engineering "Shark" award after moving up 10 places in the race, to finish seventh.


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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Memo Rojas , Tonis Kasemets , Billy Asaro , Tom Dyer , Arie Luyendyk Jr.