NA-F2000: PAC: Fontana round one, two summary

Modisette Secures Victory Sweep in Thrilling Pacific F2000 Series Openers Fontana, Calif. (March 8, 2009) -- Shaun Modisette might be only 21 years old but he is already a seasoned veteran in the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal ...

NA-F2000: PAC: Fontana round one, two summary

Modisette Secures Victory Sweep in Thrilling Pacific F2000 Series Openers

Fontana, Calif. (March 8, 2009) -- Shaun Modisette might be only 21 years old but he is already a seasoned veteran in the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal Velocity Processing. Saturday on the 2.88-mile road course at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Modisette, from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., finally claimed his first win.

He did so in style, too, emerging from a frantic four-car battle in the early stages of an exciting 15-lap race before taking the checkered flag 1.515 seconds clear of PR1 Motorsports teammate Max Hyatt.

"It feels so good," exclaimed Modisette, whose long overdue first win in the #26 Carson Trailer Inc/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen came in his 44th start. "I definitely have a feeling of ecstasy right now. I'm on Cloud Nine!"

Less than 24 hours later, Modisette kept up the great work with another hard-fought success. His second triumph was, if anything, even more impressive, and came after an epic race-long battle with Hyatt, fellow PRI Motorsports teammate Scott Rarick and Dave Freitas Racing interloper Robert Podlesni, who took pole for the second straight day.

The same quartet fought out a spirited battle for the lead during the first half of Saturday's 15-lap opener. Pole-sitter Podlesni (#84 Terminal Velocity Processing/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen), from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Hyatt (#22 Performance Drink/PR1 Van Diemen), from Santa Fe, N.M., traded the lead for the first five laps as Modisette, who had qualified second, kept a watching brief in third.

On Lap 6, Modisette pulled off an audacious move for the lead by gaining a big draft on the banking and then out-braking Podlesni on the outside line into Turn Three. He never looked back. Well, perhaps that's not exactly true....

"When I saw the others dicing behind me, I just tried to put my head down," related Modisette. "[PR1 team owner] Bobby [Oergel] was coaching me, 'Just keep it clean.' This win means a lot. I couldn't have done it without my family and this entire PR1 team. I owe them a lot."

Hyatt took advantage of Podlesni being shuffled out of position, then pulled off his own impressive outside-line maneuver in the Turn Five sweeper to move into second place.

Podlesni, hindered by slightly inferior straightline speed, finished third ahead of Rarick, before being penalized one position for a yellow flag infringement. Rarick (#34 PRI Van Diemen), from Santa Monica, Calif., moved up to complete the podium. Rarick also secured the top Expert honors (for drivers aged 35-50).

Sunday's race was even more intense as the four-car lead battle continued unabated for 12 laps. The highlight came on Lap 9, when Hyatt took advantage of a monster draft on the banking while running in third place behind Podlesni and Modisette. When Modisette ducked to the inside of Podlesni to wrest away the point, Hyatt somehow stole a march on both of them by diving in between the first- and second-place cars and emerging in the lead!

Modisette made his decisive move for the lead on Lap 12. A lap later, Hyatt's bold attempt to retake the point in Turn Three ended in a spin, which relegated him to fourth.

"I braked at the same point as usual but the car just didn't stop," related Hyatt. Of course, that might have had something to do with the fact he was carrying a lot more speed than usual as a result of catching a prodigious draft from Modisette....

Hyatt's spin also delayed Podlesni, who had to settle for second. Rarick took third, added another Experts class award and posted the fastest lap of the race, worth two bonus points.

Veteran Peter Hastrup, who is enjoying his 30th season of racing and will turn 60 later this year, was impressive on both days, earning a pair of fifth-place finishes in the #5 Western Building Materials/Nuttall Brown & Coutts/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen. Hastrup, from Madera, Calif., also won a pair of Sierra Tire Masters Class awards (for drivers over 51).


RESULTS -- Rounds 1 & 2 (of 12), Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif., March 7/8, 2009:

Saturday qualifying:
1. Robert Podlesni (Van Diemen DP08), 1m39.197s (new record); 2. Shaun Modisette (Van Diemen RF05), 1m39.581s; 3. Max Hyatt (Van Diemen RF05), 1m39.846s; 4. Peter Hastrup (Van Diemen RF02), 1m40.130s; 5. Scott Rarick (Van Diemen RF06), 1m40.400s; 6. Michael Simpson (Van Diemen RF02), 1m41.278s; 7. Chuck Hulse (Van Diemen RF03), 1m41.435s; 8. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen RF05), 1m41.945s; 9. Peter West (Van Diemen RF03), 1m42.912s; 10. Les Phillips (Mygale SJ04), 1m42.958s; 11. Michael Murphy (Mygale SJ04), 1m46.090s.
(All use Zetec/Quicksilver engines.)

Round 1 (15 laps): 1. Modisette, 25m06.734s; 2. Hyatt, 25m08.249s; 3. Rarick, 25m12.512s; 4. Podlesni, 25m10.405s (Penalized one position for yellow flag infringement); 5. Hastrup, 25m24.787s; 6. Fierberg, 25m42.872s; 7. Hulse, 25m54.304s; 8. Murphy, 27m11.990s; 9. Simpson, 12 laps, not running/radiator; 10. Phillips, 12 laps, not running/loose wheel; 11. West, 12 laps, not running/spun and stalled.

Sunday qualifying:
1. Podlesni, 1m38.991s (new record); 2. Hyatt, 1m39.000s; 3. Modisette, 1m39.000s; 4. Rarick, 1m39.638s; 5. Hastrup, 1m40.125s; 6. Hulse, 1m41.086s; 7. Simpson, 1m41.132s; 8. Fierberg, 1m41.401s; 9. Phillips, 1m43.531s; 10. West, 1m43.944s; 11. Murphy, 1m44.853s.

Round 2 (15 laps): 1. Modisette, 25m08.172s; 2. Podlesni, 25m09.244s; 3. Rarick, 25m09.762s; 4. Hyatt, 25m25.141s; 5. Hastrup, 25m28.790s; 6. Hulse, 25m39.471s; 7. Fierberg, 25m39.731s; 8. Murphy, 26m28.025s; 9. West, 26m30.739s; 10. Simpson, 0 laps, not running/transmission; 11. Phillips, 0 laps, not running/transmission.

Provisional point standings (after 2 of 12 rounds): 1. Modisette, 60; 2. Podlesni, 48; 3. Hyatt & Rarick, 46; 5. Hastrup, 34; 6. Fierberg & Hulse, 29; 8. Murphy, 26; 9. Simpson & West, 13; 11. Phillips, 12.

Next rounds: Willow Springs International Raceway, April 4/5.


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