- 27 June 2012
Sharon, CT – Six races down, eight races to go; Robert La Rocca has five wins, five poles, one third place and a commanding lead in the F2000 Championship Series point standings. Those looking to steal race wins and valuable points from the HP-Tech driver may be running out of time as 34 F2000 cars, on a swelling entry list, head for New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt course this coming weekend.
La Rocca has perhaps been the busiest driver since winning at Lime Rock in late May, having commuted back and forth across the pond to run F3 in Europe, most recently racing at the legendary Spa circuit as he looks to work his way up the open wheel ladder.
“We just need to keep doing what we've been doing,” said La Rocca. “It's been working so far, so no need to change anything.”
Sitting second in points is Niki Coello, who said that this weekend will be his RFR's best chance yet of the 2012 campaign to win a race. Just a few points behind him is Wyatt Gooden, the only other driver to win a race this season.
“The team's morale is high coming from Lime Rock where we once again had good speed despite me making a bad call on the setup for race two,” said Gooden, driving a Van Diemen for Quantum Racing Services. “It'll be nice to get to a track that I've actually been on before though, really looking forward to just getting out there and going for it. I know we can continue to win races, there's a lot to take in but I have been improving all season.”
Riding a string of six top tens so far in 2012 is Tim Paul, tied for fourth in points with Tim Minor, in the Citation chassis for Ski Motorsports, with Kevin Kopp sitting just ten points behind those two.
Kopp leads the CellMark Paper Hard Charger standings, having passed the most cars in 2012, and his WISKO F2000 team will expand from one to three cars for New Jersey, adding entries for Paul Alspach and Jason Rabe.
“My main goal for the weekend is to podium the WISKO F2000 No. 66 Van Dieman,” said Kopp. “We have improved with each race and have learned about the car and competitors. The amount of time between Lime Rock and NJMP, combined with the conclusion of my summer semester have allowed for a lot more time prepping the car than we have previously had. I'm confident we will do well at Thunderbolt.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Connery has reverted back to the RFR chassis package after a large shunt at Lime Rock is the No. 91 Van Diemen.
Chris Livengood sits tenth in points, also adapting to a new chassis in the RFR package in 2012, but is coming off the best weekend of his season at Lime Rock with a podium.
Making his first F2000 start at New Jersey will be rookie Collin Daley, from Kingston, Jamaica, driving the Group A Racing Van Diemen. The 15-year old moves up from the karting ranks adding yet even more depth to the grid for the doubleheader weekend which includes the Atlantic Championship Series, the F1600 Series, Trans-Am and ARCA.
Friday June 29 starts with F2000 practices at 11:35 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Saturday features a 9:00 a.m. qualifying session and race one weekend of the weekend at 1:40 p.m. Sunday concludes with a 9:00 a.m. qualifying session and 3:50 p.m. race. Live audio, updates and results will be available on www.f2000series.com