Cheng Takes Pole and Victory in Round Nine at Infineon
Infineon Raceway is the site for rounds nine and ten of the Pacific F2000 Series Presented by Corsa Car Care. In addition to the 2-liter cars this weekend, the Pacific Formula F Super Series, it its inaugural season, will hold rounds five and six.
Qualifying began under sunny skies with temperatures in the low seventies and that began a spirited duel for the pole between Bob Negron, Fengshuimebaby.com/Terri Negron, Negron Racing Van Diemen and David Cheng, PR1 Motorsports, Van Diemen. Negron made an overnight gear change and David Cheng just returned from Malaysia where he competed in the 12-hour Scirocco R-Cup Enduro, finishing second 12 seconds back. Cheng finally seized the pole with a lap of 1:43.039 on his eighth lap with Negron also posting his best time on his eighth lap but 0.895s off the pole time.
The Formula F group saw Jon Brandstad, BJF Racing, Swift DB6 take the pole in the lone kent powered car at 1:41.495, besting Alex Schutte in a Piper DF5/Honda by 0.459s.
When the green flag fell for the 2:40pm race, David Cheng took the lead and led the tight pack of cars through the first few corners but when they reached the carousel Bob Negron spun causing Peter West to take avoiding action around the outside allowing Les Phillips through into second place. Phillips was also balked leaving a sizable gap to Cheng who was able to cruise home to his first win of the season and second overall. The Sammamish, WA, resident drove a measured consistent race increasing his gap with each lap finally finishing 24.266s ahead of second place. Cheng also took the 2 points for the races fastest lap and this maximum points haul vaulted him into second place in the standings.
Bob Negron having spun to the rear of the field recovered to work his way back through the field to claim the second step on the podium. The second place finish also gave Negron another Master Class (drivers 51+) win and moved him into third in the overall standings.
Les Phillips drove his Swiss Racing Mygale to third place, the final step on the podium and stubbornly fought to hold back Negron during his charge. Les was back in his familiar seat in the French car having resolved his engine difficulties and finished only 3 seconds behind Negron.
Fourth place went to Peter West, his best series finish, in his Frank Monise Motors, Wendricks Real Estate, DFR Van Diemen. West held on to third for a majority of the race but was unable to fend off the challenge of Negron though he did manage to keep up with him for a couple laps before finishing 21 seconds back.
Meanwhile in the Formula F group, Jon Brandstad used his pole position to gain an advantage at the start taking the lead and inching ahead with every lap to finish 13 seconds clear of second place
finisher Doug Brenner in his Brenner Fabrication Van Diemen RF99/Honda. Brandstad did not appear to be seriously challenged throughout the race and also claimed the Master Class win.
Brenner’s second place finish was hard fought when he slipped behind John Robinson II in his Fast Forward Piper DF5/Honda at the start and used a late race pass to secure his second place which also earned him $300 contingency from Honda as the highest Fit engine finisher.
John Robinson II in a one off drive in the Fast Forward Piper DF5/Honda, a former Formula Ford National Champion used the opportunity to claim third place at a track he had seen for the first time during Friday’s test day. This gave Robinson the Expert Class (drivers 35-50) win and $200 in Honda contingency money.
Alex Schutte who had qualified second had difficulties and was late to grid and thus started with a sizable disadvantage clawed his way back to finish fourth and take the two bonus points for the fastest lap.
Will Gallaher in the First Community Bank/Piper DF5/Honda finished fifth 4 laps in back.
Sunday’s round ten gets started at with morning warm-up at 8:40am, qualifying at 12:55pm and the race at 4:30pm.
F2000 Qualifying: 1. David Cheng (Van Diemen), 1m34.039s; 2. Bob Negron (Van Diemen), 1m34.934s; 3. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m37.096s; 4. Peter West (Van Diemen), 1m37.519s. (All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines unless otherwise noted.)
F2000 Round 9 (12 laps): 1. Cheng, 19m38.710s; 2. Negron, +24.266s; 3. Phillips, +27.247; 4. West, +48.851s.
FF Qualifying: 1. Jon Brandstad (Swift/Ford), 1m41.495s; 2. Alex Schutte (Piper/Honda), 1m41.954s; 3. Doug Brenner (Van Diemen/Honda), 1m44.154s; 4. John Robinson II (Piper/Honda), 1m44.185s; 5. Will Gallaher (Piper/Honda), 1m44.342s.
FF Round 5 (12 laps): 1. Brandstad, 20m49.409s; 2. Brenner, 21m01.914s; 3. Robinson, 21m03.370s; 4. Schutte, 21m09.963s; 5. Gallaher, 4 laps.
Margin of victory: 24.266s.
Winner’s average speed: 92.359 mph.
Fastest race lap: Cheng, 1m36.559s, 93.953 mph.
Expert class winner (35-50): F2000; None, FF; Robinson.
Sierra Tire Masters class winner (over 50): F2000; Negron, FF; Brandstad.
Williams Racing Developments Hard Charger Award: None.
F2000 Points: Ford, 245; Cheng, 187; Negron, 186; Kuntze, 175; Fierberg, 169; Phillips, 115; West, 114; Thomas, 94; Hastrup, 57; Pinkman, 34; Kincaid, 28; Murphy, 24; Podlesni, 2.
FF Points: Sakowicz, 62; Erlandson, 51; Wittrock, 47; Brandstad, 32; Brenner, 25; Robinson II, 22; Schutte, 21; Andersen, 19; Gallaher, 17.