Sonoma, California, November 24, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas settled for second in the final race of the ACRL's fifteenth anniversary season, but it won him the Super Sports 2000 Drivers Championship. It was his third title in a row,...
Sonoma, California, November 24, 2002 - Peter Zarcades of Team Las Vegas settled for second in the final race of the ACRL's fifteenth anniversary season, but it won him the Super Sports 2000 Drivers Championship. It was his third title in a row, and the first threepeat in ACRL's history.
Fresno driver John Ostlund took the win from the pole after a hard-fought qualifying session that saw both drivers with identical times of 1:13.554 at one point. Unfortunately for Ostlund, his pole and runaway victory were too little, too late in the championship chase. "I did my best Peter Zarcades impression," joked Ostlund, referring to his runaway victory.
Zarcades, torn between driving for the win and protecting his championship lead, compromised. "Fiorenzo (Tirinnanzi) got me on the start, and by the time I got back by him John had a 10-second lead," said Zarcades. For his part, Team Hollywood driver Tirinnanzi admitted to making a tiny mistake under braking on lap eight, and Zarcades took advantage to retake second spot. While Ostlund ran off into the sunset, Zarcades and Tirinnanzi, were joined by John Lombardo, Jr. (Hollywood) and Brad Pierce (Las Vegas) in a nose-to-tail battle that lasted the entire 18 laps. Marvin Jones ran a rather lonely race in sixth, but seventh and eighth overall were hotly contested by the Sports 2000 leaders. Fresno's David Ferguson nipped Polesitter Michael Scully on the first lap and held the position the entire race, but it was by no means a runaway. Scully, driving for Team Las Vegas, set fastest S2 lap while pursuing Ferguson's flying Van Diemen. "The new car worked very well in S2 configuration," opined Ferguson, an opinion borne out by the result.
"I think my car was quicker in the fast stuff, but he was really getting off the corners well," rejoined Scully. Ferguson's victory was the first for a Van Diemen chassis in ACRL competition. John Cavanaugh, the lone Team San Diego entrant and leading Rookie in SS2, stalked the S2 leaders in the final laps, passing Scully on lap 16 and getting by Ferguson as the white flag came out. Team Denver's George Nolte finished 10th, followed by Joe Casanova (Hollywood) and Fresno S2 driver Fred Michael, driving Ferguson's usual mount, a Swift DB2. "The car is a rocket ship! I just need to get better," enthused Michael after the race.
Zarcades' and Pierce's top five finishes, combined with Scully's ninth, gave Las Vegas the team victory by 9 points over Fresno, 242 to 233. Fresno won the season Team Championship with 1945 cumulative points, 61 markers ahead of Las Vegas's 1864.
The ACRL series, using a unique team racing concept, races Cosworth-powered Super Sports 2000 and Ford-engined Sports 2000 cars, with drivers required to run Hoosier ACRL-stamped R-45 compound tires and Union 76 110 Octane Leaded Racing Fuel.