Watkins Glen Coverage:|
Chris Livengood Overcomes F2000 Qualifying Crash to Finish Second
Watkins Glen, N.Y., June 5 — Early in the morning qualifying, it was looking good for Chris Livengood (10th in the American Driver Ranking) in the F2000 Championship Series, posting a time which put him third on the grid. However, near the end of the session, he went off in the left hander coming back onto the main course from the Boot, crashing into the barriers. With just two hours to turn the car around, it was touch and go for the Work Racing/John Walko Racing crew.
They did make the grid, certainly glad for a 10-minute delay to the start. After dropping down the order at the start, which saw four-wide racing going into Turn 1, Livengood repaid his crew's hard work with a drive up through the field to finish second to Remy Audette, who completed the sweep at Watkins Glen.
Chris Livengood took second place after starting third.
"It was hard work but a lot of fun," Livengood said. "Fell back in the beginning. Started out really slow. The car got better every lap. As the tires heated up, I was able to get faster, which means by the end of the race I was able to run with Remy."
Livengood regained third place on the fourth lap. Then the full course yellow came out, much to the chagrin of Livengood later in the race.
"It was unfortunate that yellow was so long," he said. "I would have liked to have been able to do a few more flat out laps to see if I could catch him."
When the green came back out, Livengood took over second place, holding off Audette going into the Inner Loop, while Tim Minor held the lead. The next lap, he was tucked right underneath Minor's gearbox. Livengood couldn't find a way by, then fell back to third as Audette made the pass himself. Livengood had to hold off Robert La Rocca for third spot on the following lap, before the top three pulled away from the field.
Audette then took the lead on lap 11, and on the following lap, Livengood made his move on Minor for second place.
"I got a really nice run out of 1," Livengood said. "Looks like he was a little oversteering in 1. We came over the crest heading down the backstretch. I pulled out immediately and outbraked him into the Inner Loop."
For the final two-and-a-half laps, Livengood tried in vain to chase down Audette.
Meanwhile, yesterday's runner up finisher, Kyle Connery (ranked 7th), had the complete opposite day than his fellow young American. It started out great, but ended miserably.
He grabbed the pole with a track record time of 1:51.842. Connery led the first lap-and-a-half, even pulling away a bit, before disaster struck, spinning coming out of the Inner Loop.
"We got a great start and pulled away from Audette," Connery said. "Coming around the second lap the rear tire pressure came up to temperature too fast and unfortunately it took a step in the Bus Stop and never came back and just stayed in a control slide all the way through."
Connery was able to keep the car running and returned to the track, albeit at the back of the field. Unlike Livengood, Connery was happy to see the full course yellow come out, enabling the field to bunch up in front him.
Kyle Connery (91) working his way back through the field.
"After the yellow I started picking my way back up through the field," he said. "I think we got back up to 18th from 27th."
That's where the march up the field ended, as he ran over debris, cutting his left front brake line, ending his day.
With Connery scoring minimal points even with the bonus points for pole position, he falls significantly behind Audette.
"A really disappointing day after such a promising start," Connery said. "We're quick. We have the speed. We just need the consistency to chase Audette down. We'll take everything we learned from this weekend and apply it to Mid-Ohio."
The F2000 Championship Series reassembles at Mid-Ohio the first weekend in July.
Copyright © 2011 by Russell Jaslow and American Driver Ranking. All Rights Reserved.