Tom Hope sweeps at Buttonwood

Hope Takes Command of Round 9, Closes Points Race

Tom Hope
Tom Hope

Buttonwillow, Calif. – Round 9 of the Pacific Formula F2000 Championship Series presented by Primus Racing Parts and Pirelli Tires held at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on Saturday was won by Tom Hope, reducing the points gap to championship series points leader Peter West to 10 points.

Racing with the Vintage Auto Racing Association in its Oktoberfest event this weekend, and provided with their own stand alone run group, the series ran the 2.920 mile course in the counter clockwise direction for the first time in several years.

When qualifying began at 8:30 in the morning the weather was, clear, sunny and in the mid-seventies. Tom Hope, #10, H+M Racing, Dart Van Diemen lead the session by nearly 0.7 of a second clear of the field to take the pole position ahead of Peter West, #99, Racing Optics, Kodenko Jeans, Malibu Health, Frank Monise Motors, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, Connor Funk, #97, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, Ira Fierberg, #27, Sparco, LDF, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, Nick Kodenko, #31, Kodenko Automotive, Associated Tire, Kodenko Jeans, Van Diemen, Dave Freitas, #96, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen and Thomas Browne, #2, Van Diemen.

The green flag fell on the field for the 1:20 pm start on time and when the close bunched field arrived at the first turn all made it through cleanly with the exception of Thomas Browne who was fortunate to have spun nearly 360 degrees and continue without further incident. Tom Hope who seized the lead from the start came around to lead the first lap closely pursued by Peter West, Connor Funk, Dave Freitas, Ira Fierberg, Nick Kodenko a small gap and Thomas Browne.

The order remained until lap 3 when Connor Funk spun off course dropping four positions to sixth place. He continued for one more lap before he retired with a broken gearbox side plate, possibly damaged as a result of the spin.

Lap 4 saw Peter West while pursuing Hope come over Phil Hill and lose the rear end of his car causing a huge spin from which he was able to recover and continue having dropped down to sixth place. From here he would begin a charge through the field that saw him make a last lap pass to reclaim the runner-up position at the checkered flag. This second place finish also gave West the Master Class (drivers 50 and up) victory and also minimize the loss of points to Hope.

Tom Hope meanwhile continued on serenely in the lead while all the drama was happening behind him. This was a nervous time for Hope, though he was comfortable leading the race, he had been in this position several times before only to have mechanical issues crop up near the end of the race resulting in retirement. However he was to have none of that on this day and would take the checkered flag over 28 seconds ahead the second place finisher. Hope also claimed the fastest race lap and the two bonus points that go along with it, that combined with the two bonus points for pole position meant that he claimed the maximum of 34 points for the round.

Ira Fierberg, having spent nearly two years away from the series, settled into race mode on lap three and began his move through the field that would take him up to second place where he stayed until lap ten when he lost fourth gear and crawled around to the pits to retire. During his charge he was closely pursued by Nick Kodenko and Peter West contending for third place which would later become second.

The Kodenko/West contest continued with Kodenko maintaining his slight advantage until the penultimate lap when heading into the Grapevine, West made his move seizing second from Kodenko. Kodenko was not done however and shadowed West until the main straight when he dove inside West at Sunset and the two went side by side around the corner as they headed off to the esses where West eased ahead and maintained his advantage to the checkered flag and a fine second place finish.

Kodenko, in only his third race this season, took a hard earned and well deserved third place equaling his best finish of the season also at Buttonwillow in May.

Fourth place went to Team Owner Dave Freitas who drove a steady consistent race in his first competitive outing in several years. Dave was substituting for Harin De Silva who was unable to compete this weekend.

Tommy Browne, in his first outing in the series and driving a new Van Diemen, claimed the fifth position, last of those running.

This was the first series event since the recent announcement of the series inclusion in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout in 2016. The shootout, now in its fourth year, will be expanded to include the champions of junior open-wheel and karting series both nationally and internationally. The winner of the knockout style shootout will be provided with a $200k Scholarship to enter the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2017 – the first rung in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder sanctioned by INDYCAR.

Series action continues with qualifying Sunday morning with the race to be flagged off at 1:20pm.

F2000 Qualifying: 1. Tom Hope, (Van Diemen-P), 1m44.502s; 2. Peter West, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.259s; 3. Connor Funk, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.285s; 4. Ira Fierberg, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.754s; 5. Nick Kodenko, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.801s; 6. Dave Freitas, (Van Diemen-P), 1m46.461s; 7. Thomas Browne, (Van Diemen-P), 1m49.416s. Tires: A-Avon, C-Cooper, G-Goodyear, H-Hoosier, P-Pirelli.

F2000 Round 9 (15 laps): 1. Hope; 2. West, +28.206s; 3. Kodenko, +28.286s; 4. Freitas, +34.460s; 5. Browne, +1m32.380s; 6. Fierberg, +5 laps; 7. Funk, +11 laps.

Fastest race lap: Hope, 1m45.012s.

Master class winner (over 50): West.

Points: 1. West, 158; 2. Hope, 148; 3. Funk, 126; 4. T. de Silva, 68; 5. Kodenko, 66; 6. Armington, 51; 7. H de Silva, 41; 8. Kirby, 34; 9. Rozenboom, 20; 10. Freitas, 19; 11. Browne, 17; 12. Fierberg, 15.

Hope Claims Victory in Round 10, Evens Up Title Chase

Hope wins again
Hope wins again

Buttonwillow, Calif. – Tom Hope followed up his performance on Saturday with another dominant performance in Round 10 of the Pacific Formula F2000 Championship Series presented by Primus Racing Parts and Pirelli Tires held at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on Sunday, claiming his fourth victory of the season and evening the points championship.

The Vintage Auto Racing Association was the host this weekend with its annual Oktoberfest event, providing the series with their own stand alone run group on the 2.920 mile course, run in the counter clockwise direction.

Once again the morning qualifying session was run in near perfect weather, clear, sunny and in the mid-seventies. Tom Hope in the #18, H+M Racing, Dart Van Diemen established himself as the driver to beat leading the session, setting the fastest time, claiming pole position, however this time by a very slim margin of only 0.182 seconds. Taking up the other front row starting position was Connor Funk in the #97, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen. The second row of the grid was made up of Dave Freitas Racing teammates Peter West in the #99, Racing Optics, Kodenko Jeans, Malibu Health, Frank Monise Motors, DFR Van Diemen and Ira Fierberg in the #27, Sparco, LDF, DFR Van Diemen. They were followed by Dave Freitas, #96, Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen, Nick Kodenko, #31, Kodenko Automotive, Associated Tire, Kodenko Jeans, Van Diemen, and Thomas Browne, #2, Van Diemen.

The green flag fell and the tightly knit field raced off to turn one on the first of the fifteen tours of the track and by the end of the lap it was Tom Hope in the lead closely pursued by Connor Funk, Peter West, Dave Freitas, Ira Fierberg, Nick Kodenko a small gap and Thomas Browne.

Lap 2 saw Ira Fierberg edge past Dave Freitas for fourth place, while at the head of the pack Hope was inching away from the rest of the field.

The order remained constant throughout the race which is not to say the race was not exciting as behind Hope there was a three car tussle for second place between Funk, West and Fierberg followed by the two cars of Freitas and Kodenko also running nose to tail.

The only casualty of the race was Tommy Browne who unfortunately had his engine expire in a huge cloud of smoke just past half distance. Browne continued to improve all weekend as he settled in, running his first series event.

Tom Hope’s victory never seemed in doubt as he was able to manage 5 to 6 second gap throughout and eventually finish 7.166 second ahead of the second place finisher. His near perfect points weekend was only marred by the fact that he lost the two bonus points by not claiming the fastest lap on Sunday. He has now drawn even in the title chase as the series heads to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for the series finale.

Second place was finally claimed by Connor Funk, the Glendale resident spent his race fending off the challenges of teammate Peter West who in turn was having to hold back the hard charging Ira Fierberg. Funk’s strong performance enabled him to make up for the points lost by Saturday’s retirement.

Third place went to Peter West, unable to get past Funk, still claimed the Master Class win and is even on points with Hope entering the final round of the championship.

Fourth place went to Ira Fierberg who raced hard all weekend losing second place on Saturday to a broken gearbox was rewarded on Sunday with the fastest race lap and keeping Hope from taking away maximum points for the weekend.

The Freitas/Kodenko contest continued with Kodenko unable to get by the crafty Freitas who managed to put the car in Kodenko’s way at every turn and it was not until lap 12 that Kodenko finally seized the opportunity to get by settling fifth position once and for all.

Sixth place went to Team Owner Dave Freitas who drove a steady consistent race in his first competitive outing in several years. Dave was substituting for Harin De Silva who was unable to compete this weekend.

This was the first series event since the recent announcement of the series inclusion in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout in 2016. The shootout, now in its fourth year, will be expanded to include the champions of junior open-wheel and karting series both nationally and internationally. The winner of the knockout style shootout will be provided with a $200k Scholarship to enter the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2017 – the first rung in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder sanctioned by INDYCAR.

The series now moves back where the season began at Auto Club Speedway, October 17th and 18th.

F2000 Qualifying: 1. Tom Hope, (Van Diemen-P), 1m44.619s; 2. Connor Funk, (Van Diemen-P), 1m44.801s; 3. Peter West, (Van Diemen-P), 1m44.821s; 4. Ira Fierberg, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.145s; 5. Dave Freitas, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.389s; 6. Nick Kodenko, (Van Diemen-P), 1m45.903s; 7. Thomas Browne, (Van Diemen-P), 1m50.112s. Tires: A-Avon, C-Cooper, G-Goodyear, H-Hoosier, P-Pirelli.

F2000 Round 10 (15 laps): 1. Hope; 2. Funk, +7.166s; 3. West, +8.337s; 4. Fierberg, +8.602s; 5. Kodenko, +26.803s; 6. Freitas, +28.348s; 7. Browne, +7 laps.

Fastest race lap: Fierberg, 1m44.327s.

Master class winner (over 50): West.

Points: 1. West, 180; 2. Hope, 180; 3. Funk, 151; 4. Kodenko, 83; 5. T. de Silva, 68; 6. Armington, 51; 7. H de Silva, 41; 8. Fierberg, 36; 9. Kirby, 34; 10. Freitas, 34; 11. Browne, 31; 12. Rozenboom,

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