- 11 May 2019
Chilly conditions were present for the first qualifying session in the second round of the F2000 Championship Series. Not necessarily a surprise for anybody familiar with temporality of Watkins Glen, but certainly a disappointment for those hoping for warmer conditions. Nevertheless, the cold dense air was good for horsepower if not tire temperatures and certainly it set the stage for a qualifying run where drivers would need to use the majority of the session if they hoped to achieve maximum performance.
As tire temperatures eked upward and the ambient temperature did the same lap times simultaneously fell. It was Brandon Dixon in the #5 Citation to strike first. Three laps in it appeared that his car was starting to work for him, though he was visibly a bit tentative in the bus stop, this may be the result of a late session spin he experienced in the morning practice session in this very area.
Misha Goikhberg in the #07 Citation prepped by Rice Race Prep soon took ownership of the top spot and broke into the middle 1:52’s, still with more than 20 minutes remaining on the session timer. With the clouds now giving way to mostly blue skies track temperatures had to be improving, but it wasn’t until the sessions halfway mark that much progress was made. In a flash Goikhberg upped the ante to a 1:51.7, Dixon a hair behind with a 1:52.2 and Kerry Jacobsen knocking on the door at a 1:52.8.
Meanwhile Alan Guibord held fourth and Peter Gonzalez was fifth fastest with 10 minutes remaining. The top two of Goikhberg and Dixon would continue to lop time off, with Goikhberg registering a 1:50.9. Dixon got himself into 1:51’s and is improving nearly every lap.
With five minutes left Gonzalez jumped to fourth relegating Guibord to fifth, but there was less than a tenth between the two. The sun shining nicely at this junction, but ambient temperatures still below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the checkered flag flew there was no change in order. The starting lineup for race one is Goikhberg, Dixon, Jacobsen, Gonzalez, and Guibord. Goikhberg’s time was indeed impressive, his 1:50.996 was fast enough to reset the qualifying record, lowering it nearly three tenths of a second.