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Cheng Takes Final Checkered Flag of 2010 Pacific F2000 Season
David Cheng ended the season the way he began it, with a victory in the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care. The race was held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a special guest of VARA at the Jeff Saltman Memorial Race meeting.

Qualifying was held under cloudy skies and cooler temperatures as Saturday’s winner Scott Rarick and David Cheng, PR1 Motorsports teammates dueled for the pole position with Cheng finally securing the pole with a time of 1m25.055s to edge Rarick by .069 of a second.

Starting third was again the newcomer Gustavo Menezes for Dave Freitas Racing followed by Bob Negron, Ira Fierberg, Conner Ford, Peter West, Les Phillips, Peter Hastrup and Miles Maroney having made only one lap before the car borrowed from Bill Kincaid who offered his car when it was discovered that Miles’ PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen was too badly damaged to be used lost a half shaft. Miles was in a battle with three other drivers for second place in the championship with only six points separating the contenders.

The final two starters were Robert Podlesni filling in for Peter Hastrup who decided not to drive and Peter Thomas whose return to the series was hampered all weekend with clutch/gearbox/engine troubles but finally managed to get the car running to the point he could start the race.

When the green flag waved David Cheng; #26 Speedware Motorsports/Zerlag Communications/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen made a good start to take the lead by turn one followed closely by Gustavo Menezes in the #84 Red Bull/Oakley/DFR Van Diemen, Scott Rarick; #34 PR1 Van Diemen, Ira Fierberg; #27 Pinnacle Performance/Sparco/DFR Van Diemen, Bob Negron; #9 Feng Shui Me Baby.com/Negron Racing Van Diemen, Peter West; #99 Clout/Terminal Velocity Processing/DFR Van Diemen, Conner Ford; #77 JF Excavating/PR1 Van Diemen, Miles Maroney; #23 Maroney Company/PR1 Van Diemen, Les Phillips; #89 Swiss Implants Mygale, Robert Podlesni; #5 Western Building Materials/Nuttal & Coleman/DFR Van Diemen and Peter Thomas; #7 Refrigeration Control Company Van Diemen.

Menezes passed Cheng for the lead on lap two to lead the next several laps always pushing trying to build his lead. Lap two also saw Conner pass West for sixth and Podlesni got by Phillips for ninth.

The next time around Fierberg lost two positions to Negron and Ford dropping him to sixth as Menezes continued in the lead. On this lap Miles was now beginning to get familiar with Kincaid’s Van Diemen and began his charge as both he and Podlesni passed Peter West and Miles continued on up through the field to an eventual fourth place finish, a drive that earned him the Hard Charger Award and fourth in the championship.

On lap seven as the hard charging Menezes’ tires began to lose grip, Cheng who had been reeling Menezes in over took him for the lead after a bobble exiting turn 5 slowed his momentum allowing David to attack. David never looked back, drove away to victory and setting the fastest lap of the race to add a maximum 34 points to his tally which secured second place added to his Rookie of the Year award last season, Cheng has showed marked steady improvement and showed he is capable of running at the head of the field. 

“I have learned a lesson at every race this year and today I was able to concentrate and put all those lessons together and the win was the result”, Cheng stated, continuing, “I was confident that after Gustavo got by that I had the car and the tires to challenge back and re-take the lead.”

It was now Rarick’s turn to take advantage of Menezes slowing and the Champion Elect closed in and overtook Gustavo on the twelfth of fifteen laps his second place also giving Scott another Expert Class win. Gustavo gamely managed only one more lap before the final step on the podium was seized by Conner Ford who after starting seventh drove steadily in only his fourth race in the series claiming his third podium in four races and is poised to have a bright future in the sport. 

Ira Fierberg stormed back to claim fifth place which secured third place in the championship a career best for Ira since his association with Dave Freitas began fifteen years ago. Ira has improved tremendously this season and proved he is capable of racing with anyone in the series.

Sixth place and the Master Class victory went again to Bob Negron who has claimed victory in the class in every event this season in addition to having completed every lap of every race. Bob has challenged near the front of the pack all season and been the lone consistent challenger to the DFR and PR1 teams and finished fifth overall in points.

Seventh place went to Robert Podlesni who was followed home by teammate Peter West in eighth, Les Phillips in ninth on the same lap with Gustavo Menezes two laps back in tenth and Peter Thomas rounding out the field in eleventh a further lap behind.

This bring to a close the seventh season of the Pacific F2000 series and teams are already planning testing to prepare for next season.

Qualifying: 1. David Cheng (Van Diemen RF05), 1m25.055s ; 2. Scott Rarick (Van Diemen RF06), 1m25.151s; 3. Gustavo Menezes (Van Diemen), 1m25.533s; 4. Bob Negron (Van Diemen RF99) 1m25.610s; 5. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen RF05), 1m25.934s; 6. Conner Ford (Van Diemen), 1m26.063s; 7. Peter West (Van Diemen), 1m26.447s; 8. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m 26.983s; 9. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m26.443s; 10. Miles Maroney (Van Diemen), No Time. (All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines.)

Round 12 (15 laps): 1. Cheng, 21m35.145s; 2. Rarick, 21m37.299s; 3.Ford, 21m42.083s; 4. Maroney, 21m53.668s; 5. Fierberg, 21m54.720; 6. Negron, 21m56.580s; 7. Podlesni, 21m56.973s; 8. West, 22m04.846s; 9. Phillips 22m05.241; 10. Menezes, 2 laps; 11. Thomas, 3 laps.

Margin of victory: 2.154s.
Winner’s average speed: 80.887 mph.
Fastest race lap: Cheng, 1m25.405s, 81.775 mph.
Expert class winner (35-50): Rarick.
Sierra Tire Masters class winner (over 50): Negron.
Williams Racing Developments Hard Charger Award: Maroney.

Points(includes 1 race drop): Rarick, 304; Cheng, 242; Fierberg, 228; Maroney, 226; Negron, 222; Hastrup, 154; Phillips, 133; West, 125; Kincaid, 96; Ford, 88; Thomas, 86; Murphy, 68; Podlesni, 51; Menezes, 12.

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