SBRS: Mid-Ohio race report

(LEXINGTON, Ohio) Aug. 13, 2000 -Championship leader Jon Fogarty had fortune smile down on him at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for round seven of the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series at the CART FedEx Miller Lite 200. Not that he really needed much...

(LEXINGTON, Ohio) Aug. 13, 2000 -Championship leader Jon Fogarty had fortune smile down on him at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for round seven of the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series at the CART FedEx Miller Lite 200. Not that he really needed much help. Fogarty, in the No. 52 Thomas Fogarty Vineyards racecar, took his third victory of the season and his second in two years at Mid-Ohio over title rival Nilton Rossoni of Brazil and Sepp Koster of the Netherlands.

Rookie sensation Thed Bjork started the race from his first career Barber Dodge pole on his first visit to the sinuous 2.258-mile road course. Fogarty made every attempt to unseat the young Swede with previous Swedish Formula 3 experience at the first corner after the drop of the green flag. He tried to go around the outside but Bjork would have none of it and Fogarty duly fell in line. Bjork went on to record some very quick laps including a new track record fastest race lap on the 15th of the 26 run in his Corecharge Barber Dodge Reynard. That lap was almost as quick as the one that put him on pole at 1:23.740 sec. for an average speed of 97.072 mph. On the following lap the field was gathered for a full course caution, and when they were let go again two laps later, Bjork found himself without power as Fogarty, Rossoni and Koster would swarm around him at the entry to the Keyhole and race off into the lead. Bjork would finish 11th, and afterwards the amiable 19-year old was philosophical stating that he would get them next time. To a man, everyone in the paddock had nothing but sympathy for unfortunate Bjork and the leaders indeed marked him as one they would keep a close eye on for the balance of the season.

Over the final six laps, Fogarty was able to keep Rossoni, Koster and now fourth-placed Jamie Menninga at bay as the four distanced themselves from the others. Koster was quick at the end but not quick enough, and Rossoni thought about attempting a pass on Fogarty, then thought about the championship, then opted for the safer of the two. The group crossed the line with all four cars within 1.8 sec.

"I actually slid wide at the apex," said Fogarty of his move for the lead, "Then at the Keyhole, I had gathered up my speed and got a really good run out of there. That pretty much set up the rest of the race.

"I wasn't hoping for a yellow, I was hoping for an opportunity, and that's what I got," continued Fogarty.

All things considered, Rossoni's weekend turned out quite well. The first qualifying session turned out to be a struggle for Rossoni who drives the No. 36 Foster Group Dodge Reynard. He bounced back in the final session to start third, and capitalized on opportunity during the race to finish second. Like Fogarty he is a three-race winner on the season

"I think the championship is going to be like this with the three of us (Fogarty, Rossoni, Koster) fighting for it all the rest of the way. Hopefully at Road America (the next round, Aug. 18-20) where I have the qualifying and race record, I can step it up," said Rossoni. "Jon was faster than me through the Keyhole and that was killing me because the best place to overtake is turn-7. I was never close enough to get around him there. I thought I better take it easy and finish second"

Koster had been fastest through most of the sessions through the weekend. He lamented not being able to find a clear lap in qualifying. Thus he reckoned that his race had really been lost then as he felt he had the speed. Yet on a track that presents so few opportunities to pass, and with such tight competition, the point was moot.

"My car was really good. It was just such a pity that I got myself in to trouble in the second qualifying session trying to find a break in the traffic," Koster mused. He drives the No. 5 Blue Bay Curacao Golf Resorts Dodge Reynard. "I think it's a good save though coming from fifth on the grid. You know these guys are not waiting for you."

Fantastic action abounded throughout the field in the 40-minute race. Rookie of the Year protagonists Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andy Lally finished with a brilliant duel that saw Lally force the issue in the last corner on the last lap to take a hard earned fourth with Hunter-Reay just behind in an equally impressive drive. The Conseco Step Up award winner was Brent Sherman. He was recognized for passing the most cars on his way from 22nd to a fine 13th place finish.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series moves on with the CART FedEx Series to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. in one week's time for the eighth round. Fogarty has begun to edge away slightly from his closest pursuers as he now has a 26-point advantage heading into the next round.

The Mid-Ohio race will be broadcast on ESPN 2 on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Points after Round 7 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series:

Fogarty, 116; Rossoni, 90; Koster, 87; Plumb, 65; Hunter-Reay, 61; Andy Lally, 60 Yasukawa, 58; Menninga, 55; Valiante, 47; Bjork 44; Boss, 43; Andre Nicastro 38; Alexandre Sperafico, 36; Brent Sherman, 28; Jonathan Macri 16. ###

<pre> Provisional Result for Round Seven of the Barber Dodge Pro Series at the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio All cars Dodge powered Reynards on Michelin tires

FN  CR                                      RACE
1  52 Jon Fogarty/Wellington,Nevada.  20 $12,000  26 Running 1:23.870
2  36 Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil  16 $8,000  26 Running 1:24.009
3  5 Sepp Koster/The Netherlands  14 $6,000  26 Running 1:24.011
4  7 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa  12 $4,000  26 Running 1:23.946
5  62 Andy Lally/Northport, NY  11 $2,500  26 Running 1:24.275
6  31 Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla.  10 $2,000  26 Running 1:24.215
7  17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn.  9 $1,800  26 Running 1:24.088
8  9 Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif.  8 $1,700  26 Running 1:24.427
9  95 Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada  7 $1,600  26 Running 1:24.320
10  28 Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  6 $1,500  26 Running 1:24.435
11  11 Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden  6 $1,400  26 Running 1:23.740
12  19 Joey Hand/Sacramento, Calif.  4 $1,300  26 Running 1:24.271
13  4 Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill.  3 $1,700  26 Running 1:24.816
14  8 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I.  2 $1,100  26 Running 1:24.536
15  51 Jon Morley/Columbus, Ohio  1 $1,000  26 Running 1:25.045
16  25 Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc.   $500  26 Running 1:25.039
17  23 Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn.   $500  26 Running 1:25.040
18  20 Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil   $500  26 Running 1:24.657
19  97 Ryan Howe/Temecula, Calif.   $500  26 Running 1:25.076
20  22 Jay Ricci/Grosse Pointe, Michigan   $500  26 Running 1:26.164
21  15 Jonathon Bottoms/Buffalo, N.Y.   $500  26 Running 1:25.058
22  26 Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind.   $500  26 Running 1:25.325
23  53 Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif.   $500  26 Running 1:26.060
24  33 Milka Duno/Caracas, Venezuela   $500  26 Running 1:27.374
25  77 Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wisc.   $500  26 Running 1:26.518
26  42 John Hall/Houston, Texas   $500  26 Running 1:27.119
27  21 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California   $500  26 Running 1:25.584
28  55 John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Canada   $500  14 Contact 1:25.091
29  73 Jeff Glenn/Oakland, Calif.   $500  4 Contact 1:27.446

LENGTH OF RACE: 1 lap of 1.291 and 25 laps of 2.258-miles for 57.741-miles TIME OF RACE: 40 min, 48.951 sec. AVERAGE SPEED: 84.880 mph MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.943 sec. LAP LEADERS: Thed Bjork,laps 1-19 Jon Fogarty, laps 20-26 FASTEST RACE LAP: Thed Bjork, 1:23.740 sec (97.072 mph) FASTEST QUALIFIER: Thed Bjork, 1:23.676sec (97.146mph) CONSECO STEP UP AWARD: Brent Sherman from 22nd to 13th TOTAL PAYOUT: $54,600

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