Herta Claims Second Victory while Fierberg Extends Win Streak to Five
For the second time this weekend, Colton Herta and Ira Fierberg claimed victories in their respective classes as the Pacific Formula F1600/F2000 Championship held its second of three races this weekend on Auto Club Speedway’s 2.880 mile infield road course on Sunday morning in Fontana, California.
Grid positions for the morning race are to be the result of taking the aggregate of Saturdays round three qualifying and Saturdays round three fastest race lap and determining an average one lap time. The Formula F1600 group was led by Colton Herta, #98, PR1 Motorsports w/BHA Curb-Agajanian entry sponsored by DVSshoeCompany, CurbRecords, Mygale N.America, OMP, BellHelmets, PenskeShocks, Mygale/Honda who took pole ahead of PR1 Motorsports teammate Joey Bickers, #34, PR1 Motorsports Mygale/Honda. The second row of the grid was all Lynx Racing with teammates Alex Keyes, #32 and Andrew Evans, #19 side by side in their Spectrum/Hondas. They will be followed by Dave Zurlinden, #31, Fast Forward, Pro Pack Systems, Piper/Honda, Alex Kirby, #81, Fast Forward Components, Piper DF5/Honda, Mike Miserendino, #89, Mygale SJ04/Honda newcomer Roy Steele, #17 Piper/Honda.
Ira Fierberg again led the Formula F2000 group in his #27, Pinnacle Performance, Sparco USA, DFR, Van Diemen. Sharing the front row with Fierberg is Les Phillips, #2, Swiss Implants, Porterfield Brakes, Van Diemen. The second row of the grid will be led by the #18, H&M Racing, Dart, Carbir of Tom Hope alongside Bob Negron, #9,Terri Negron Web Design, fengshuimebaby.com, Van Diemen and followed by Peter West, #99, Frank Monise Motors, Zombo.com, Kodenko Jeans, T.J. Martell Foundation Van Diemen and Jim Stewart, #38, True Ventures, Van Diemen and Harindra DeSilva, #6, DFR Van Diemen making his third start in the series.
Overcast skies greeted the drivers for the 8:00am start as they rolled off the grid for the pace lap and when they took the green flag Les Phillips charged ahead leading the Formula F2000 group followed by Peter West, Tom Hope, Ira Fierberg, who slipped back three places, Bob Negron, Jim Stewart and Harindra DeSilva.
Contact on lap two between Stewart and DeSilva forced Stewart into retirement with a broken right rear suspension while DeSilva managed to continue. Ahead of DeSilva, Fierberg and Negron both passed Hope for third and fourth, as they still trailed Phillips, who was pulling away from West in second place.
With Phillips still leading, West was able to hold on to second place for as long as he could while Hope and Fierberg would finally get by him on lap six, relegating him back to fourth place. None of this was lost on Phillips who had built up a six second advantage and seemed to be pulling away, however Hope and Fierberg worked together to use the draft and began to whittle away at Phillips’ lead.
Meanwhile on lap seven Negron displaced West for fourth place as Hope and Fierberg were closing on Phillips.
On lap eight the lead was to change hands as Phillips “threw it in the weeds”, spun and made light contact with the wall forcing him to pit to have the car checked for any damage and with none evident was able to continue in sixth place.
Hope led lap nine in the fourteen lap event but was soon passed by Fierberg who was not going to be denied and held the lead to the finish for his fifth consecutive victory at Auto Club Speedway which he described as his “most satisfying”, while also claiming the Master Class victory. Hope for his efforts did manage the races’ fastest lap and the two bonus points that go along with it in addition to taking the Expert Class win.
Negron finished in third with West moving back up to fourth followed by DeSilva and Phillips.
Colton Herta led the field on the inside lane as Formula F1600 group took the green flag storming past Joey Bickers, in the outside lane, as he initially fell back to fourth place, but as they completed their first lap Bickers had worked his way back to the lead. Bickers was followed closely by Herta, Keyes and Evans as the lead group began to pull away from the second pack led by Zurlinden and followed by Miserendino, Kirby and Steele.
Lap two saw both Keyes and Evans get by Herta giving Bickers some breathing room at the front. This was short lived as by lap four Herta was back by the Lynx pair and on lap five passed Bickers for the lead as these two began to break away from their pursuers intent on continuing their own private duel.
With Herta in the lead it was Bickers turn to apply the pressure and determine where he would make his final lunge. The two exchanged positions twice more before the finish with Bickers making his final attempt as they raced for the checkered flag only to fall inches short at the line and 0.021s behind. This was Herta’s second win of the weekend and fourth overall. He also recorded the fastest race lap.
The Lynx Racing pair of Alex Keyes and Andrew Evans again had a spirited battle for third. Keyes maintained his advantage and took third place with a pass on the penultimate lap while Evens ended up fourth.
Fifth place went to Mike Miserendino, who was followed by Steele in sixth, Zurlinden in seventh after an early spin and Kirby in eighth.
Round eight is scheduled for a 10:55am start.
The single-seat, open-wheel F2000 cars are powered by 2-liter Ford Zetec engines and run on Hankook tires supplied by Sierra Tire. The F1600 cars will be powered by either the 1500cc Honda Fit engine or the 1600cc Ford ‘Kent’ engine and will run on Hoosier tires.
F1600 Qualifying: 1. Colton Herta (Mygale/Honda), 1m44.790s; 2. Joey Bickers (Mygale/Honda), 1m45.421s; 3. Alex Keyes, (Spectrum/Honda), 1m46.446; 4. Andrew Evans (Spectrum/Honda), 1m46.678s; 5. Dave Zurlinden (Piper/Honda), 1m47.193s; 6. Alex Kirby (Piper/Honda), 1m47.315s; 7. Mike Miserendino (Mygale SJ04/Honda), 1m47.884s; 8. Roy Steele (Piper/Honda), 1m49.166s.
F1600 Round 7 (14 laps): 1. Herta; 2. Bickers +0.021s; 3. Keyes, +18.491s; 4. Evans, +18.779s; 5. Miserendino, +39.963; 6. Steele, +1 lap, 7. Zurlinden, +1 lap; 8. Kirby, +1 lap.
F2000 Qualifying: 1. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen), 1m40.927s; 2. Les Phillips (Van Diemen), 1m40.984s; 3. Tom Hope (Carbir), 1m41.692s; 4. Bob Negron (Van Diemen), 1m41.717s; 4. Peter West (Van Diemen), 1m42.748s; 6. Jim Stewart (Van Diemen), 1m43.384s; 7. Harindra DeSilva (Van Diemen), 1m43.440s.
F2000 Round 7 (14 laps): 1. Fierberg; 2. Hope, +0.447s; 3. Negron, +3.434s; 4. West, +9.668s; 5. DeSilva, +33.541s; 6. Phillips, +1m09.676s; 7. Stewart, +13 laps.
Fastest race lap: F1600 Herta, 1m44.390s. F2000 Hope, 1m40.743s.
Expert class winner (over 35): F1600 Steele, F2000 Hope.
Master class winner (over 50): F2000 Fierberg.