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Cheng Takes Victory in Wet and Wild Pacific F2000 Opener
David Cheng
The predicted rains came just in time for round 1 of the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal Velocity Processing and Sierra Tire at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana as part of VARA’s Route 66 Classic Formula Festival and David Cheng a Chinese born Seattle resident demonstrated driving in the wet at its finest by taking victory in a heavy downpour.

The morning qualifying was dry as Robert Podlesni, two time and defending series champion took pole position by over half a second over Scott Rarick with a lap of 1:39.307.

Driving his #26 Speedware Motorsports/Zerlag Communications/PR1 Van Diemen, last season’s Rookie of the Year, started behind pole sitter Podlesni in the #84 Terminal Velocity Processing/Alpinestars/DFR Van Diemen, made what he called a “Bad start with too much wheel spin” but still managed to complete the first lap in the lead followed by Robert Podlesni, Scott Rarick, series rookie Miles Maroney who had started tenth and Ira Fierberg. Maroney, 16 and in his first car race after having raced carts since he was 4, managed to get by four cars at the start and two more when conditions caught the other drivers out causing spins. Miles, driving the #22 Maroney Company/PR1 Van Diemen held third until lap four, when entering turn 3 a 90 degree left hand turn exiting the speedway portion of the track was hit in the left rear with the right rear of Ira Fierberg’s now out of control #27 Barry I Goldstein, CPA/Sparco/DFR Van Diemen leaving both cars heavily damaged and later causing a full course caution to retrieve them.

On lap two Podlesni got past Cheng who then spun immediately as visibility kept him from seeing one of the many puddles now forming around the track. Fortunately he was able to continue without a loss of position staying ahead of Rarick in the #34/PR1 Van Diemen.

Podlesni, Cheng and Rarick circulated for the next several laps with no one having any advantage and managing to avoid spinning in the treacherous conditions until the full course caution came out for the Fierberg/Maroney incident. Running behind the pace car Podlesni suddenly lost power with an electrical problem and came to a halt just after the spectator bridge before turn 12. Robert pushed the car to a safe position behind the barriers as the Safety vehicles were otherwise occupied to help speed up the return to green flag racing.

Once the green flag flew, the field was completely jumbled as drivers pressed a little too hard trying to lost positions due to spins caused by the conditions, with every driver having spun at least once and some as many as nine times!

Cheng was again in the lead and began to draw away from the battle for second place between Rarick and Bob Negron in the #5 FengshuiMeBaby.com Van Diemen now trailed by Peter Hastrup in the #5 Western Building Materials/Nuttal, Brown & Coutts/DFR Van Diemen running fourth. Rarick spun in turn 6 surrendering second place to Negron and briefly third place to Hastrup before he regained that position.

As the race neared its conclusion David eased off a bit to preserve his position and beat Negron and Rarick to the checkered flag by just 1.154 and 3.626 seconds respectively. It was a stunning victory for David and solidified his position as a legitimate challenger for the series title.
For his efforts, in addition to the second step on the podium Negron was also rewarded with the Master’s Class win, a fine performance under the conditions.

Rarick by finishing third also collected the Expert Class victory as well as posting the race’s fastest lap.
Finishing an excellent fourth and earning the hard charge award was Peter West in the #99 Terminal Velocity Processing/DFR Van Diemen. Peter drove steadily and managed to avoid many of the pitfalls suffered by those who finished behind him.

In his return to the series and despite his numerous spins, Bill Kincaid #46 Van Diemen came home in fifth place followed by Hastrup in sixth, Scotsman and the series’ other rookie, Peter Thomas in the #7 Refrigeration Control Co./Hytech Exhaust/Church Automotive Testing/DFR Van Diemen in seventh and Les Phillips #89 Swiss Implants Mygale the last finisher in eighth.



No. Name Team Best Time Diff Make
1 26 David Cheng PR1 Motorsports 2:06.385 -- Van Diemen RF05
2 8 Bob Negron Negron Racing 2:03.143 +1.154 Van Diemen RF02Z
3 34 Scott Rarick PR1 Motorsports 2:02.568 +3.626 Van Diemen RF05
4 99 Peter West Dave Freitas Racing 2:03.582 +14.906 Van Diemen
5 46 Bill Kincaid Bill Kincaid 2:04.045 +23.732 Van Diemen RF03
6 5 Peter Hastrup Dave Freitas Racing 2:06.938 +31.445 Van Diemen RF02Z
7 7 Peter Thomas Dave Freitas Racing 2:08.661 +39.166 Van Diemen
8 89 Les Phillips Les Phillips 2:12.669 +1:04.866 Mygale SJ04
9 84 Robert Podlesni Dave Freitas Racing 2:07.439 8 laps Van Diemen RF08
10 22 Miles Maroney PR1 Motorsports 2:11.806 11 laps Van Diemen RF05
11 27 Ira Fierberg Dave Freitas Racing 2:12.215 11 laps Van Diemen RF05
DNS 18 Michael Murphy Michael Murphy -- -- Mygale SJ04

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