National Class Driver Rarick Wins First USF2000 Non-Points Race Sunday At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca SALINAS, Calif., May 23 - National class competitor Scott Rarick of Santa Monica, Calif. only led three laps but one of them was the last one,...
National Class Driver Rarick Wins First USF2000 Non-Points Race Sunday At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
SALINAS, Calif., May 23 - National class competitor Scott Rarick of Santa Monica, Calif. only led three laps but one of them was the last one, so he won a special 30-minute exhibition race Sunday morning at Mazda Raceway that was administered by the USF2000 National Championship. That series, which is presented by Cooper Tires and powered by Mazda, is part of both the Road to Indy ladder system and the MAZDASPEED driver development program.
There were no USF2000 points up for grabs in this race or a similar one that will be staged here on Sunday afternoon, but the action was so fierce one would have thought the title was on the line.
Rarick, the 2004 SCCA Formula Ford champion, got the lead in the 17-lap race after Martin Sala of Bogota, Columbia reported to the pits for a stop-and-go penalty for jumping a restart. Rarick, who drives for PR1 Motorsports, went on to win the event overall as well as to take the top honors in the National class.
Championship-class winner Mikhail Goikhberg of St. Petersburg, Russia finished second overall, while third overall (and second in the National class) went to Miles Maroney of Topanga Canyon, Calif. Maroney and Rarick both drive for PR1 Motorsports, while Goikhberg is a member of JDC MotorSports.
Sala ended up second in the Championship class (seventh overall) for JDC MotorSports, while Ardie Greenamyer was third in that division and tenth overall. The latter is from Louisville, Ky. and he drives for AcceleRace Motorsports.
Another PR1 Motorsports driver, David Cheng of Sammamish, Wash. took the final podium position in the National class as well as fourth overall. National class driver Bob Negron of Negron Racing finished fifth overall and will take a special award from Staubli home to Morgan Hill, Calif.
Polesitter Sage Karam of Nazareth, Pa. led the first five laps in his Andretti Autosport car until both Goikhberg and Sala passed him on a restart working lap six. Karam and Veach both passed Sala on the next lap to regain second and third.
Lap 12 proved to be pivotal, as there was a tussle between Goikhberg and Karam and the latter was forced to retire. Veach had to drop out at the same time due to mechanical difficulties. Goikhberg went from leading to ninth place, but he regrouped and had worked his way back up to fourth by the white-flag lap. He passed Maroney and Cheng on the last lap to regain second position.
The lap charts show Goikhberg led laps 6-11; Sala topped the charts from laps 12-14 and Rarick led the rest of the way. Rarick's margin of victory over Goikhberg was just 0.026 of a second.
Three cautions slowed the event.
Karam set the fastest lap of the race to win his second "Cooper Tires, Don't Give Up A Thing Award" for the weekend. He'll start on the pole again in Sunday afternoon's race. His fastest race lap was a new record at 1:25.301. Cheng set a similar record for the National class with a 1:27.812.
Peter Thomas of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. won the Tilton Hard Charger Award for improving the most positions. He started 15th and finished eighth in a National class car fielded by RCC Racing.
PFC gave gift certificates to the car owners of the class winners, PR1 Motorsports and JDC_Motorsports.
Post-race quotes follow:
Scott Rarick (first overall and National class winner): "I got the lead two laps from the end when they black-flagged the 19.
"I had led the class from the start; I passed David Cheng, and then it was just a matter of trying to manage cold tires on the restarts.
"The Cooper tires held up great. I have a Quicksilver-prepped Zetec engine.
Mikhail Goikhberg (second overall and Championship class winner): "I was thankful for the restarts; they helped me.
"I got by Sage right before Turn 1. Then on the second restart I got the lead.
"Sage and I had a moment in Corner 2. My car didn't get damaged like his did. I fell back but I was able to get back to the top again.
"I'm very happy for JDC MotorSports for the one-two finish [in the Championship class]. They worked very hard."
Miles Maroney (third overall and second in National class): "It was hard for me to keep up with Scottie. My car was quick in the back sections, but I just wasn't close enough to get him.
"My car handled great though. My hats are off to my team, PR1 Motorsports."
David Cheng (fourth overall and third in National class): "Scottie got a good jump on the start. My lap times weren't quite up to his. Then I made a mistake in Turn 6 once and Miles got me. But it was still a good race for us, and I want to thank my team, PR1 Motorsports."
Martin Sala (seventh overall and second in Championship class): "It was a really crazy race. Sage was leading, Mikhail was leading, and then I was leading. I got a black flag though because they said I jumped the start. I didn't think I did, but that was the ruling.
"This was my first time here, and I love this track. I used rFactor to prepare, and it helped a lot.
"We'll have new tires for this afternoon's race, which I think will give us an advantage over the Andretti guys because they are going to run used tires I think."
Ardie Greenamyer: (third in Championship class and 10th overall): "I was third in the Championship class. Honestly, I just had to hang on to finish. My right-front wing was damaged at the start in Turn 11. I radioed to my crew to have a look at it when I went by. They were brilliant, and said to come in and they'd just yank it off. They did just that and I didn't lose any positions."