Monterey, CA May 20, 2001 -- Although defending Sports 2000 Champion and team mainstay David Ferguson was absent,Team Salinas fielded a season-high four cars for the third race of the ACRL West 2001 season at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. For team...
Monterey, CA May 20, 2001 -- Although defending Sports 2000 Champion and team mainstay David Ferguson was absent,Team Salinas fielded a season-high four cars for the third race of the ACRL West 2001 season at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. For team leader David Jansen, it was a confidence-building race. "The car was solid, the crew did a fantastic job, and it was a building session for us," said Jansen after the race. Jansen's NACS/Nortel Lola finished seventh overall, sixth in the Super Sports 2000 class, and he bettered his qualifying time by half a second during the race. It was a complete turnaround from the most recent race at Phoenix, where a blown engined sidelined the Salinas team leader before the race started.
Sandra Popescu made her 2001 debut withTeam Salinas, in her redesigned and completely refurbished Prodata/NACS/NortelSuper Sports 2000 Swift. Predictably, there were some teething problems with the car, but Popescu was in the thick of things early in the race until the brakes gave out. "I was pumping the brake pedal with my left foot all the way up the front straight so I'd have some pressure when I got to Turn Two," said Popescu. Even with that problem, she managed an eighth-place class finish,twelfth overall. The 1999 ACRL Rookie of the Year will be a contender once the car is sorted.
Roger Heyl made his second start with Team Salinas, and his first outing in 2001. Unfortunately, his race was a short one. Caught up in a melee in Turn One on the first lap when another car broke a half shaft, Heyl spun and was hit from behind, taking his R. Allen & Company Sports 2000 Swift out of the race. "I missed everybody, spun 360 degrees, and was pointed down the track ready to take off when the guy hit me. I think it was the hardest I've been hit in all my years of racing," lamented Heyl. He managed to get the car to a safe spot off track at turn two, and became a spectator for the rest of the event.
This left it up to first-time ACRL competitor Jim Colombotos to bring home some points for the team (up to three cars can score in the ACRL's Team points system). Colombotos, aboard the Metro Mechanical Sports 1600 SVC, staged a race-long duel with fellow Sports 1600 competitor Tim Moore, finishing fourth in class and 20th overall outof 29 starters. Salinas finished with a respectable 173 team points, good for sixth out of nine teams competing.
With Ferguson back in the saddle at the next event, July 1 at Thunderhill Raceway Park, Team Salinas expects to contend for both class and team victories.
The American City Racing League is a professional racing series for Super Sports 2000, Sports 2000 and Sports 1600 cars. The series is sanctioned by Grand American Road Racing and the National Auto Sports Association, and has both an Eastern and Western Division. The Western Division, of which Team Salinas is a part, will run an eight race championship series for 2001.