(ELKHART LAKE, Wisc.) Aug 20, 2000 -Nilton Rossoni arrived at Road America with a 26-point deficit to Barber Dodge Pro Series championship leader Jon Fogarty. A perfect weekend for the 19 year-old from Itatiba, Brazil, included a point for the...
(ELKHART LAKE, Wisc.) Aug 20, 2000 -Nilton Rossoni arrived at Road America with a 26-point deficit to Barber Dodge Pro Series championship leader Jon Fogarty. A perfect weekend for the 19 year-old from Itatiba, Brazil, included a point for the pole and 20 for the win, his fourth of the season. Fogarty conversely had what as been for him this year, a rare off weekend where he never featured strongly in the outcome. In spite of a car that didn't perform to his liking, Fogarty did salvage a ninth-place finish; however, Rossoni took a huge bite out his lead. They now head to round 9 of the 2000 series in Vancouver, B.C. with Rossoni facing a 12-point difference between he and Fogarty.
Rossoni in the No. 36 Foster Group Dodge Reynard surrendered the lead only briefly to fellow front row-sitter Matt Plumb. Approaching the first corner, Plumb drafted Rossoni to make the pass at the start of round 8 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series racing in support of the CART FedEx Motorola 220. On the next go around, Rossoni returned the favor on Plumb and from thence was never bested. Plumb and eventual second-place finisher Jamie Menninga would tangle four turns later, putting an end to Plumb's drive.
Menninga, feeling no after affects of the incident with Plumb tried in vain to challenge Rossoni. He set the fastest lap of the race, a new record at 2:12.240 on the eighth lap, but would never close the gap that hovered at more or less one second for the duration. Rookie of the Year candidate and Barber Dodge Pro Series Big Scholarship winner Ryan Hunter-Reay scored another podium finish after a fighting drive to finish third.
"Jamie (Menninga) made my life pretty hard. Matt Plumb made a run on me at the start, and I didn't want to force the issue because I didn't want my race to end right there. I knew my car was good on cold tires so I made a run on him into turn-1 and it worked perfectly," said Rossoni, a former Formula Chevrolet champion in Brazil. "Now is the time that I have to continue finishing ahead of (Fogarty) and keep my streak. Two firsts and one second in three races is great. Let's see if we can keep the momentum going."
Menninga continues to knock at the top step of the podium and came as close as he has ever come today. The 21-year old American from Pella Iowa had the speed to keep pace with Rossoni, and certainly even the slightest mistake from the Brazilian would have presented the opportunity. It never came, and getting around Rossoni was another question all together; thus, Menninga would settle for second.
"On the start Nilton was better on cold tires," said Menninga "If the race had stayed green and my tires stayed warm I might have gotten him, but it's hard to say."
He looks forward to the next round at Vancouver where the playing field may be a bit more level as it is a new venue for the Pro Series.
Hunter-Reay came up from the seventh spot on the grid to finish third. He drove a stellar race that included duels with Roger Yasukawa, Michael Valiante, Thed Bjork and Andre Nicastro. The aforementioned drivers all displayed flashes of brilliance throughout the race in some superbly entertaining driving.
"The first to laps where really something else. To tell you the truth, they were so hectic that I don't even remember what came first," said Hunter-Reay, 18 from Boca Raton, Fla. "This is going to improve my Rookie of the Year standings quite a bit"
Not only do the points help Hunter-Reay in the rookie category, but he now slips past Plumb into fourth overall.
The next round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series heads to Vancouver, B.C. at the Molson Indy Vancouver on Sept. 1. The Road America race will be televised on ESPN2 on Aug 31 at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
Championship Standings after Round 8:
Fogarty, 123; Rossoni, 111; Koster, 98; Hunter-Reay, 75; Menninga, 71; Yasukawa, 70; Plumb, 65; Andy Lally, 60 Valiante, 58; Bjork 55; Andre Nicastro 46; Boss, 43; Alexandre Sperafico, 42; Brent Sherman, 28; Marc Breuers 20
<pre> 2000 BARBER DODGE PRO SERIES RACE PROVISIONAL RESULT ROAD AMERICA Elkhart Lake, WI August 20, 2000 FN ST CR PS PS # DRIVER/ HOMETOWN/PTS/PURSE/LP/STATUS 1 1 36 Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil/21/$12,000/16/Running 2 3 7 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa/16/$8,000/16/Running 3 7 31 Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla./14/$6,000 /16/Running 4 4 9 Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif./12/$4,000/16/Running 5 6 5 Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/11/$2,500 /16/Running 6 9 11 Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden/10/$2,000/16/Running 7 5 95 Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada/9/$1,800/16/Running 8 10 28 Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/8/$1,700/16/Running 9 8 52 Jon Fogarty/Portolo Valley, Calif./7/$1,600/16/Running 10 12 20 Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil/6/$1,500/16/Running 11 13 23 Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn./5/$1,400/16/Running 12 14 18 Bryan Sellers/Centerville, Ohio/4/$1,300/16/Running 13 16 25 Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc./3/$1,200/16/Running 14 21 73 Jeff Glenn/Oakland, Calif./2/$1,100/16/Running 15 17 53 Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif./1/$1,000/16/Running 16 23 22 Jay Ricci/Grosse Pointe, Michigan/$500/16/Running 17 25 77 Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wisc./$1,000/16/Running 18 18 99 Davy Cook/Tallahasse, Fla./$500/16/Running 19 19 21 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California/$500/16/Running 20 24 19 Sara Senske/Kennewick, Washington/$500/16/Running 21 22 42 John Hall/Houston, Texas/$500/16/Running 22 26 33 Milka Duno/Caracas, Venezuela/$500/16/Running 23 20 26 Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind./$500/15/Running 24 11 4 Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill./$500/7/Contact 25 15 8 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I./$500/7Contact 26 2 17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn./$500/2/Contact