SBRS: Laguna Seca race report

(MONTEREY, Calif.) Sept. 10, 2000 - A victory for Nilton Rossoni capped off a perfect weekend wherein he took the lead in the chase for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award. He now leads Jon Fogarty, who would finish the race second, by four ...

(MONTEREY, Calif.) Sept. 10, 2000 - A victory for Nilton Rossoni capped off a perfect weekend wherein he took the lead in the chase for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award. He now leads Jon Fogarty, who would finish the race second, by four points with two rounds remaining. A driver's ten best finishes count toward his points total. Andy Lally finished third.

The 19-year old Brazilian started the race from pole but was overtaken into turn-2 by Vancouver race winner Matt Plumb. Midway through the fifth lap, Rossoni saw an opportunity to get alongside Plumb at the Corkscrew and took it. As the two braked hard into the harrowing turn, Rossoni went deeper than planned forcing Plumb to go deep as well. With little room to maneuver both went for the same piece of track and made contact. Plumb got the short end of the stick spinning in the middle of the turn. Jon Fogarty, and Andy Lally were in pursuit and made it through the maelstrom. Jamie Menninga was less fortunate. In avoiding Plumb, he went straight off the track and speared the tire barrier, knocking him out of the race.

Once the stricken cars were removed, the race would continue with the top-3 in lockstep. The car on the move was the No.5 Blue Bay Curacao Golf Resorts Dodge Reynard of Sepp Koster. After starting 18th, the Dutchman was not about to settle for a mid-pack finish and relinquish his title hopes easily. By the end of the first lap he had vaulted to 12th. Midway through the race he was in sixth. On lap 17, he was in fourth, and all over the back of Lally. Entering turn-6 the car snapped out of control and he was sent spinning into the gravel. A rear toe-link cried uncle after his storming drive and broke, sending him off the course.

"I knew I had to get around (Plumb). The fight for this championship is really hard, and when you have the chance to win you have to make the move. I knew that he was not going to make it easy on me. I saw that his weakness was under braking for the Corkscrew, and I knew he wouldn't expect me to pass him there, so I made my move and braked really late. I don't know if we touched, but I pushed the car really hard through the Corkscrew," said Rossoni, driver of the No. 36 Oil Extreme Dodge Reynard.

Fogarty was aggressive in the early stages of the race in his No. 52 Thomas Fogarty Winery Dodge Reynard. Starting fifth, he was in third by the time they reached the starter's stand for the first time. In the ensuing Rossoni/Plumb/Mennnga melee, Fogarty gained another spot, but never made a serious challenge to Rossoni's lead though he remained in his wake for the entire race.

"I would have like the win," said Fogarty "I was hoping I'd get an opportunity when Nilton tried his move on Plumb but it didn't work out that way. We knew that we had to finish and score points, and we did that."

Returning to the podium for the first time since round 4 at Lime Rock Park was Lally. Starting the race from the fourth spot on the grid, he avoided trouble and held off the charging Koster to score much needed points in order to keep his Rookie of the Year hopes alive.

"I set the second fastest race lap and that's very positive. I'd never been here before, only played it on my Play Station, so I'm pretty happy," said Lally who drove the No.62 ePerformance Dodge Reynard.

Jon Fogarty's brother Tom earned the Consceco Step Up Award for the driver who improves the most over is starting position. Tom started the race 23rd, passing ten other competitiors to finish 13th. With two rounds remaining, the title chase has in effect become a two-horse race between Fogarty and Rossoni. They now lead Koster by 30 points, though mathematically the Dutchman still has a chance, albeit a fading one. The Barber Dodge Pro Series moves onto Road Atlanta at the end of September where it will race in support of the American Le Mans Series at Petit Le Mans. Fogarty may have the upper hand having raced there previously, whereas Rossoni has not. Whatever the case, it should be spectacular.

Round 10 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series from Laguna Seca Raceway can be seen on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sept. 25.

Points after Round 10

Rossoni, 144; Fogarty, 140; Koster, 114; Hunter-Reay, 95; Plumb, 85; Yasukawa, 75; Andy Lally, 74; Menninga, 73; Bjork 73; Nicastro 69; Valiante, 66; Alexandre Sperafico, 63; Boss, 54; Brent Sherman, 34; Marc Breuers 32


Monterey, California September 10, 2000

FN ST CR PS PS # DRIVER/ HOMETOWN PTS PURSE LP STATUS 1 1 36 Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 21 $12,000 24 Running 2 5 52 Jon Fogarty/Portolo Valley, Calif. 16 $8,000 24 Running 3 4 62 Andy Lally/Northport, NY 14 $6,000 24 Running 4 6 20 Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil 12 $4,000 24 Running 5 7 31 Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla. 11 $2,500 24 Running 6 8 95 Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 10 $2,000 24 Running 7 11 28 Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 9 $1,800 24 Running 8 9 11 Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden 8 $1,700 24 Running 9 12 8 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 7 $1,600 24 Running 10 10 4 Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill. 6 $1,500 24 Running 11 13 23 Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn. 5 $1,400 24 Running 12 16 25 Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc. 4 $1,300 24 Running 13 23 53 Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif. 3 $1,700 24 Running 14 17 99 Davy Cook/Tallahasse, Fla. 2 $1,100 24 Running 15 21 21 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California 1 $1,000 24 Running 16 20 97 Ryan Howe/Temecula, Calif. $500 24 Running 17 15 73 Jeff Glenn/Oakland, Calif. $500 24 Running 18 25 22 Jay Ricci/Grosse Pointe, Michigan $500 24 Running 19 24 77 Scott Mayer, Franklin, Wisc. $500 24 Running 20 26 42 John Hall/Houston, Texas $500 24 Running 21 26 42 Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind. $500 24 Running 21 22 26 Sepp Koster, The Netherlands $500 23 Running 23 27 12 Keith Dusko/Red Bank, N. J. $500 23 Running 24 19 19 Sara Senske/Kennewick, Washington $500 23 Running 25 14 9 Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. $500 21 Contact 26 2 17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn. $500 5 Contact 27 3 7 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa $500 5 Contact

Length of Race: 24 laps of 2.238-mile circuit for 53.712 miles Time of Race: 40 minutes 51.691 sec. Average Speed: 78.869 mph Margin of Victory: 3.169 sec. Lap Leaders Matt Plumb 1-5, Nilton Rossoni 6-24 Fastest lap of the Race: Nilton Rossoni 1:26.395 (93.255 mph) lap 22 Fastest Qualifier: Nilton Rossoni 1:25.728 (93.981 mph) Consceco Step Up Award: Tom Fogarty 23rd to 13th Total Payourt; $53,600

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Peter Boss , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Jay Ricci , Andy Lally , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Brent Sherman , Davy Cook , Tom Fogarty , John Hall , Marc Breuers , Roger Yasukawa , Jon Vannini , Nilton Rossoni , Thed Björk , Sepp Koster , Rhonda Trammell , Scott Mayer , Matt Plumb