Buttonwillow, Calif. (January 18, 2015) – The second round of the Pacific Formula F1600/F2000 Championship was held on the 2.88 mile, 20 turn infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and Daniel Swanbeck claimed victory in the second race of his series debut weekend. The was the second non-points two-race weekend run with Cal Club as part of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour as Luo hopes to establish himself as one of the contenders for the championship.
The Formula F1600 group was again classified as FF and place in the run group with F500 and FV and is designed to allow drivers to compete in the series and SCCA sanctioned events simultaneously. A fifteen minute warm-up session was held in the morning followed the race scheduled to roll off at 10:50. The starting positions were determined by the fastest recorded lap of either of the first two qualifying sessions or Saturday’s race which put Alex Kirby on the pole in his #81, LA Prep Inc., Fast Forward Components, Piper Race Cars, Piper DL7/Honda. Kirby was followed by Denny Renfro #11, Wheely Open Racing, Piper DL7/Honda and Rick Payne; #75, Payton Pools, Van Diemen/Honda with Ed Erlandson; #8, swift DB6/Honda, Daniel Swanbeck; #27, BigWheels.net, Piper DF5/Honda, Chuck Horn; #54, Hotel California, Porter Racing, Swift DB6/Honda and Dave Zurlinden, #31, Pro Pack Systems, Fast Forward, Piper DF5/Honda rounding out the field.
The green waved and it was Denny Renfrow in his yellow and black Piper who surged ahead to take the lead followed by Kirby, Payne, Swanbeck, Horn, Erlandson and Zurlinden. Renfrow’s lead was to last but one lap as he was displaced by Payne and Kirby and now running in third place at the end of the second lap. On lap three Alex Kirby asserted himself, took the lead and was able to hold it while behind him the battle for second place raged on between Swanbeck and Horn with Swanbeck holding station holding off Horn lap after lap. The battle for second pushed itself ahead as Kirby was now under pressure from Swanbeck for the lead which he claimed on lap 12 and was able to hold on to until the end.
Kirby made a pit stop on lap 13 to drop to fourth while Erlandson continued his drive up through the field and took third on lap 12 after being down as far as seventh place. Erlandson and Kirby were to do battle one more time with Kirby relieving Erlandson of third place with three laps remaining and held it to the finish. At the front it was Swanbeck following up his debut second place finish with a brilliant drive to claim his first victory in the Series, his chrome, red and black Piper/Honda performing flawlessly.
Putting the disappointment of Saturday behind him Chuck Horn finished a fine second at one point sweeping by Swanbeck into turn 4 only to be re-taken in turn five in some of the best wheel to wheelaction seen in this series. Chuck also claimed the Expert Class win. Alex Kirby came back after a pit stop to stand on the final step of the podium with another exciting drive by the veteran driver in his third year in the series. Ed Erlandson finished fourth and was never quite able to match the pace of the Pipers ahead of him but persistence and consistency was able to move him forward.
Dave Zurlinden finished in fifth place and would have been placed higher had he used the slick tires of the other competitors, but aware the series would be moving to a spec tire, used this opportunity to gain some valuable information. Rick Payne finished in sixth place and the final car on the lead lap while Denny Renfrow succumbed to mechanical troubles and retired after six laps.
Round three and four will be held at Thunderhill Raceway Park on April 11 and 12.
F2000 Qualifying: 1. Alex Kirby, (Piper DL9/Honda-H), 1m46.015s; 2. Denny Renfrow, (Piper DL9/Honda-H), 1m46.682s; 3. Rick Payne, (Van Diemen/Honda-H), 1m46.821s; 4. Ed Erlandson, (Swift DB6/Honda-A), 1m47.101s; 5. Daniel Swanbeck, (Piper DF5/Honda-H), 1m47.505s; 6. Chuck Horn, (Swift DB6/Honda-H), 1m48.004s; 7. Dave Zurlinden, (Piper DF5/Honda-T), 1m50.590s. Tires:
A-Avon, C-Cooper, G-Goodyear, H-Hoosier.
F2000 Round 2 (18 laps): 1. Swanbeck; 2. Horn; 3. Kirby; 4. Erlandson; 5. Zurlinden; 6. Payne; 7.Renfrow, +6 laps.
Fastest race lap: Kirby, 1m45.850s.
Expert class winner (over 35): Horn.
Points: No points awarded, non-championship event.
The series can be followed at facebook.com/pacificformulafracing