Rarick Survives Three-way Battle Clear, sunny and windy weather greeted the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care as the series returned to historic Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond for round 3 as part of VARA’s High Desert Challenge. The temperature may have only been 56 degrees but the battle for the pole position was much hotter as three drivers all in the 1 minute 17 second bracket challenged each other during the 30 minute session.
A resurgent Ira Fierberg secured the number one spot with a time of 1:17.418 a mere 0.172 of a second clear of Scott Rarick in second and series newcomer Conner Ford by 0.343 of a second. Fierberg and Rarick have several years of experience at this venue whereas Ford only saw the track for the first time during Friday testing, a remarkable result under the circumstances. After an excellent third place finish in round 2, this was the first pole for Ira and his #27 Barry I Goldstein, CPA/Sparco/DFR Van Diemen.
|Fierberg holds off Conner Ford|
The green flag waved the cars off at 1:00pm and the battle was on as the field charged toward turn one. Rarick eased his way into the lead which he managed to build into a comfortable gap by the end of the first lap. Scott in the #34 PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen was able to control the race from the front but admitted it was far from easy and that “I only left a little on the table and was basically doing qualifying laps”. He added, “There were a couple of places where I had an advantage and was able to save a little margin for error but they pushed me today.” The victory his first at Willow Springs and second in the series also gave Scott the Expert Class (drivers 35-50) win.
|Rarick in his #34 held off Ira Fierberg and Conner Ford all race long|
The race for second place was on as Fierberg drove “The race of my life” to finish in second place and at no time during the race did he have a moments rest as he was continuously hounded by Conner in the #77 JF Excavating/PR1 Van Diemen. Ira did not put a foot wrong as he also managed the races’ second fastest lap.
Third place and the fastest lap honors went to Conner Ford whose performance was thrilling to watch and showed a high degree of maturity as on the final lap he was able to pull alongside Ira in turn 8 in an attempted pass but wisely backed out realizing that side by side through turn 9 would be too risky and settled for the final step of the podium. It was a stunning drive for the youngster who had raced karts since he was three and driven selected Skip Barber and Jim Russell events.
Fourth place went to the third PR1 Motorsports entry of Miles Maroney in the #11 Maroney Company Van Diemen. Miles had another stellar drive after qualifying in fourth to finish less than four seconds off the lead. The growth of this young driver since the first event has been remarkable and he is becoming one of the future stars of the series.
The battle for fifth place between David Cheng #26 Speedware Motorsports/Zerlag Communications Van Diemen and Bob Negron #9 FengshuiMeBaby.com Van Diemen was finally settled on lap eleven when Cheng’s left rear upper suspension arm broke causing a half spin and the loss of the half shaft leaving the car
without drive. It was fortunate that he was able to be retrieved without causing a full course caution allowing the race to continue unabated.
The irony for Negron was the he suffered the same failure during Friday’s practice. The fifth place finish also gave Negron the Masters Class (drivers 51 and over) win.
Peter Hastrup in the second of the DFR entries, #5 Western Building Materials/Nuttall, Brown & Cloutts Van Diemen the finished in sixth after an uneventful run that had him closing on Negron at the finish.
Bill Kincaid in his #46 Van Diemen on used tires secured the races’ Hard Charger award by finishing seventh after starting eleventh. Bill drove a steady race picking off the competition one by one which was impressive considering the high rate of wear on the left side ties with the three long high speed turns.
Rounding out the field were Peter West #99 Clout Van Diemen eighth, Peter Thomas #7 Refrigeration Control Co., Hytech Exhaust, Church Automotive Testing Van Diemen ninth and Les Phillips #89 Swiss Implants Mygale tenth and last of the cars running.
David Cheng completed more than half a race distance and was credited with eleventh place points.
The series continues Sunday with qualifying at 9:10am and race at 12:00pm.
1. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen RF05), 1m17.418s; 2. Scott Rarick (Van Diemen RF06), 1m17.590s; 3. Conner Ford (Van Diemen), 1m17.761s; 4. Miles Maroney (Van Diemen), 1m18.138s; 5. David Cheng (Van Diemen RF05), 1m18.431s; 6. Bob Negron (Van Diemen RF99), 1m18.707s; 7. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m18.864s; 8. Peter West (Van Diemen RF03) 1m20.013s; 9. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m21.214s; 10. Peter Thomas (Van Diemen RF02), 1m21.823s; 11 Bill Kincaid (Van Diemen RF03), 1m23.502s. (All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines.)
Round 3 (16 laps): 1. Rarick, 21m08.355s; 2. Fierberg, 21m09.620s; 3. Ford, 21m09.843s; 4. Maroney, 21m12.275s; 5. Negron, 21m30.745s; 6. Hastrup, 21m31.662s; 7. Bill Kincaid, 21m36.614s; 8. West 21m47.901s; 9. Thomas, 22m07.239s; 10. Phillips, 22m17.451s; 11. Cheng, 10 laps, not running/suspension.
Margin of victory: 1.265s.
Winner’s average speed: 113.533 mph.
Fastest race lap: Ford, 1m18.536s, 114.597 mph.
Expert class winner (35-50): Rarick.
Sierra Tire Masters class winner (over 50): Negron.
Williams Racing Developments Hard Charger Award: Kincaid (11th to 7th).