Monterey, CA. – The 2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs was the site of round nine of the Pacific Formula 1600/F2000 Championship with thirteen of the twenty-three Runoffs qualified drivers participating and dominating the results taking eleven of the first twelve places. Just one month after claiming his second series victory, Andrew Evans returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and won round nine and became the series champion for 2014.
The Runoffs format provided three days of qualifying on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over the undulating, 2.238 mile, eleven turn course and was the first visit by the series since 2010.
Tuesday’s qualifying saw Zach Craigo, #27, Rocky Mountain Medical Lasers, Van Diemen with the fastest time of 1m 28.727s just edging out Andrew Evans, #62, ProFormance Racing School, PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen by .098 of a second. James Hakewill, #88 Van Diemen was next followed by Bob Negron, #8, Hoosier, Rosie’s At The Beach, Terri Negron Web Design Van Diemen and Peter West, #99 Frank Monise Motors, Ken Partch, Racing Optics, Zombo.com, DFR Van Diemen as the only drivers in the 1 minute 29 second range. Peter Thomas, #7 Refrigeration Control Co., PR1 Van Diemen; Michael Manning, #25 Cypress Lane Racing, Fast Forward Racing Components, Dauntless Racing Cars, Van Diemen; Yufeng Luo in the #00, DFR Van Diemen; Robert Armington, #11 Premium Power Systems Inc., Metro Cab SF, MCI Van Diemen; Harin de Silva, #96, DFR Van Diemen, Bill Kincaid, #46, La Curva, Van Diemen, and Chuck Raggio, #14, Apex Orthopedics of California, Inc., Scuderia Raggi Van Diemen completed the field with Tom Hope, #18 Primus Racing Parts, H & M Racing Van Diemen having his time disallowed for a fuel infringement.
Qualifying on Wednesday produced faster times for most of the field but again it was Craigo and Evans, the only drivers in the 1 minute 28 second range heading the time sheets, this time Evans with the fastest time. Wednesday also saw Peter West’s time disallowed as the rear wing was found to be too wide.
Thursday’s qualifying produced the best times and again it was Andrew Evans with the fastest time claiming the pole with a time of 1 minute 27.998 seconds. Craigo was again second fastest followed by Tom Hope, having made up for his earlier disqualification, James Hakewill, Yufeng Luo, Bob Negron, his best time having been set on Tuesday, Robert Armington, Michael Manning, Harin de Silva, Peter Thomas, Peter West, his best time disallowed and reverting to his Tuesday time, Bill Kincaid, and Chuck Raggio.
For the final Pacific Formula F2000 Championship round of 2014, double points are to be awarded, increasing the pressure on both teams and drivers to achieve their best results.
The green flag waved and as everyone sprinted down to the Andretti hairpin it was Andrew Evans who surged into the lead ahead of Zach Craigo, Tom Hope, James Hakewill, Bob Negron, Yufeng Luo, Michael Manning, Robert Armington, Peter West, Peter Thomas, Harin de Silva, Bill Kincaid and Chuck Raggio.
On lap two Hakewill eased his way past Hope and when Negron approached the gap closed and unfortunately there was contact sending Hope into the gravel at turn 5 and Negron continuing with a severely damaged right front upper wishbone. This caused a two lap caution period while Hope’s stricken Van Diemen was removed. For Hope it was a bitter disappointment having come into the race with a chance to win the championship only to have his race ended on the second lap.
When the race resumed, Evans again began to streak away from the field with Craigo and Hakewill filling the top three positions. Yufeng Luo had passed the wounded Van Diemen of Negron for fourth place while the remainder of the field remained constant with Manning leading the group in sixth place.
On lap six Armington spun dropping to the rear of the field but was able to continue and began his pursuit of Raggio in eleventh.
With Evans continuing to lead and pull away from Craigo, Zach in turn began increasing his gap over Hakewill, who was being closed in on by Luo. The battle between Hakewill and Luo would continue to the end maintaining a .2 second advantage to the flag.
In the closing stages of the race Kincaid moved past DeSilva, Thomas and West for sixth place.
As the laps would down, it was Andrew Evans who cruised to a 13 second win in the twenty lap race. It was a fine result for the Sammamish, Washington resident, in his second season in the series and first in the F2000 group, to take his third race victory and the season championship.