Morgan wins wild Race 1
Cole Morgan got around Steven McAleer on a restart and held off a late-charging Daniel Erickson on a green-white-checkered finish to take his second win of the year and gain back huge championship ground in race one at Lime Rock. Morgan capitalized from a fifth-place starting position to take the win for K-Hill Motorsports and new sponsor, Ranger Up military and patriotic apparel. McAleer finished second as Daniel Erickson went off on the last lap, also vaulting Phil Lombardi to third from his seventh place starting position.
“We had a good start, I went to the left and held on,” said Morgan. “I got McAleer on the restart and then I knew Erickson was coming on the next one so as the track went green again I just took the inside line.”
Morgan grabs 47 points back on Victor Carbone, who failed to finish due to contact in his Alegra Motorsports Van Diemen.
An epic start saw Fabio Orsolon get bumped off the track as McAleer made it four wide from his fourth place starting position to take the lead from pole-sitter Erickson, who set fast lap of the race, going into turn one.
The race marked the best finish ever for McAleer’s Race House team, which moves over from the sprint car ranks, and the best finish for the rookie in his third start to date.
“On the start I had the motor way up in the revs and went to the outside,” McAleer explained. “I wanted to see how late everyone was going to brake and was able to get into the lead. On the restart I got caught out paying attention to the pace car and didn’t want to do anything stupid since Cole had a good run on me.”
Phil Lombardi rounded out the podium with the Masters Class win as Tim Minor and Keith McCrone, also Masters Class drivers, followed in fourth and fifth. McCrone posted a solid comeback following a massive qualifying crash that saw air-time yesterday.
Felix Serralles finished sixth in his first F2000 start ever, continuing to showcase his talent in the GTP Motorsports Van Diemen. “This feels great,” said the rookie. “I was trying to be cautious on the start and on the restarts and ended up falling back to 14th, so I just worked my way up.”
Jonathan Scarallo followed in seventh with Jeff McCusker, Tom Fatur and John Dole in positions eight through 10. Bobby Caldwell stayed out the fray to finish 11th with Daniel Erickson, winner of both Watkins Glen races, recovering from a last-lap off course excursion for 12th.
Erickson, the quick Australian rookie driving for Primus Racing/Quantum Mechanics, shared his version of the F2000 race: “At the start we ran a lower first gear which caught us out, going into turn one I was in a sandwich that was four wide and backed out.
“Unfortunately Fabio (Orsolon) was on the outside and turned in on me. We touched and after that we fell back to fifth and the car was great so I was able to work by way back up to second. Then on the final restart and I tried a wider line going into turn one trying to catch Cole and lost it. I went for the glory and it didn’t work out.”
Morgan’s win has huge championship implications as points leader Victor Carbone failed to finish due to a on track incident with Chris Livengood. Carbone’s championship leads gets sliced from 83 to 34.
“On the restart we were going into turn one and Chris Livengood just ran straight into me,” Carbone said.
Livengood added: “I didn’t know we were three wide and I hit Victor. It was my fault. I’m very disappointed because the car had the speed for a top five finish.”
Local driver Chris Gumprecht won the CellMark Hard Charger award with his 14th place finish. Gumprecht started 27th and improved 13 positions. It was a solid effort for Gumprecht as the fourth-year F2000 driver is bouncing back from a qualifying incident yesterday.