Barrett Scores Two Podiums in Pacific F2000 Season Finale

Patrick Barrett scored two third place finishes in the 2006 Pacific F2000 Championship Series presented by Hankook Tires at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 14th and 15th. Having competed in the previous two rounds at Infineon Raceway in mid September and dominating both days, he had no trouble strapping into the Team GFRO #32 Van Diemen RF05 Jim Russell Racing / Kolliner Long Studio and Gallery / GoPro Digital Hero Camera car on short notice. With no previous experience on the 9 turn 1.8 mile road course, and no Friday practice scheduled, Barrett was able to perform spectacularly despite the weather and minimal track time.

Pat Barrett at Pacific F2000 finale in Las Vegas
(Photo by Patrick Barrett Racing)

Heavy rain and lightning throughout Saturday morning forced cancellation of the scheduled warm-up and cut qualifying down to 15 minutes. Areas of the track were still damp and water was running across turn 6. Barrett took only a couple of laps of qualifying to become familiar with the short technical track. By the end of the session he posted a time of 1:19.579s for second, four tenths behind pole sitter Robert Podlesni.

The Saturday race was reduced to 20 minutes, because of limited daylight. Having that in mind, Barrett knew that making a move for the lead would have to come early. Pole sitter Podlesni maintained the lead with Barrett, Tim Harris and Nick Haye close behind. At the half way point of the race Haye slipped passed Harris for third and passed Barrett for second, setting his sight on the leader. With four laps remaining lapped traffic became an issue, bunching up Podlesni, Haye and Barrett and creating a three way battle for the win. But when the checkered flag flew it was Podlesni taking his fifth win of the season followed by Haye and Barrett.

"About four laps into the race, the car became very loose," said Barrett. There was no way I could have gotten around Haye unless he made a mistake. I'm fairly pleased with today's result, I mean, when I race, I race for the win. I'm just disappointed that I couldn't have challenged more for the lead."

Sunday's weather provided warm sunshine with a slight breeze and temperatures reaching 70+ degrees, ideal conditions for racing. Qualifying became a struggle for Barrett when he went off the track in turn 4. Nothing was damaged, but the time spent checking over the car in pit lane cost him precious track time. Once out on the track, he struggled with an unbalanced car, but posted a time of 1:18.573s, good enough for fifth. Podlesni took another pole position at a 1:17.748s with Haye second, Harris third, and Chris Spreitzer fourth.

Pat Barrett celebrates Pacific F2000 podium in Las Vegas
(Photo by Patrick Barrett Racing)

The opening laps of the 30 minute race saw a five way battle for the top position with Podlesni, Harris, Haye, Spreitzer and Barrett. Nearly six laps into the race the top five had pulled a seven second lead over sixth place Team GFRO driver Jeff Westphal. By the half way mark Podlesni and Harris were able to work together to pull away from Haye, Spreitzer and Barrett. At the same time, a fierce battle between third, fourth and fifth was raging. Barrett soon found his way past Spreitzer and Haye, and was able to maintain a fair gap over Spreitzer for third. At the finish line Podlesni earned his sixth win of the season with Harris following close in second and Barrett a distant third.

"In qualifying the car was extremely loose. I made what adjustments I could during the session but couldn't get it to handle the way I wanted. We made some changes to the chassis before the race, but it took four or five laps for the car to finally get hooked up and running well, said a relieved Barrett. I definitely think we had a car capable of winning today had I started up with the two leaders. Team GFRO gave me a fantastic car for the race and I'm really happy I collected another podium."

Barrett, the 2006 SCCA Formula Russell Champion and Rookie of the Year, ended the Pacific F2000 Championship Series 10th in points having competed in only two race weekends. His next race will be the final round of the Formula Russell Championship Series at Infineon Raceway this weekend, October 21st where he looks to end a nearly perfect season on a high note.

For more information on the Pacific F2000 Series please visit their web site. http://www.PacificF2000.com/


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