Slow Start at Watkins Glen in the Rain Watkins Glen , NY – After a very damp morning, the dark clouds moved away to give the huge F2000 field a few minutes of dry running before the skies opened again, making it a very short opening practice session for rounds seven and eight of the season.
The very short session saw championship points leader Matthew Inge top the charts with a lap of 1:58.461, which is quite a few seconds behind last year's track record of 1:53.874.
“The car felt good but we're going to make some changes,” said Inge, who is coming off his first career win at Mosport. “I hate the rain and when it started raining there were people passing me left and right acting like they had rain tires on, it was very entertaining watching them all slide off the track.”
Unfortunately, the damp track caught out the Masters Class points leader, Tom Fatur, as he slid his #70 into the tire wall, destroying his front wing and the left front corner. Lime Rock Masters Class victor John Dole was involved and returned to the paddock with a broken front wing. Tyler Hunter took the worst of it all in his first F2000 session of the year, ripping off his rear wing and right rear corner as he slid backwards into the turn eight tire wall. Teammate Mark Felsen lost a front wing in turn eight moments later.
“It was raining so hard all of a sudden you just couldn't see anything,” said Felsen, who also makes his first appearance of the 2009 season. “I stuffed it in the tire wall in turn eight and my teammate (Hunter) backed it in.”
The extensive session stoppage along with the rain sent many teams back to the paddock, calling it a day. But a handful of teams changed to wet-weather Hoosier tires to allow their drivers those precious extra minutes to learn the track. Alegra Motorsports went to the Hoosier wets for Fabio Orsolon while JDC wasn't far behind, changing tires for Chris Miller while Z-Sports did the same for Caitlin Johnston.
“I was trying to learn the track and then it just started pouring,” Orsolon commented. “We put the rain tires on during the black flag and the car felt good in the wet, but we're going to need to make some changes to the dry setup.”
Jonathan Scarallo added: “I was just about to start getting going and then the rain came out. We went out again on slicks but the track was wet so it was a waste. Colin (Alexander) and I are going to have to learn the track in a hurry tomorrow morning.”
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