Oct 25, 2001
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Ever notice how some websites just post press releases without identifying where they came from? Ever wonder why roadracingworld.com labels press releases as being press releases, and identifies their source?<BR><BR>Maybe this press release from Formula USA, covering the final round of the 2001 Formula USA Series with no mention of the controversial finish of the second Unlimited Superbike race, will illustrate the point:<BR><BR><BR>HIGBEE TAKES LOCKHART PHILIPS SUPERBIKE CROWN IN NAIL BITER FINALE<BR><BR>DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Monday, October 22 , 2001) - Shawn Higbee came into the final event of the Formula USA National Road Racing Series season at Daytona International Speedway with an 11-point lead in the Lockhart Philips Unlimited Superbike Championship standings over Lee Acree. By the time the checkered flag fell on the final race late Sunday afternoon, Higbee would earn the crown, but the drama and intensity of the weekend had made it a most memorable day for the Millenium Technologies/KWS racer.<BR><BR>Following Saturday's Superbike qualifying, Higbee found his polesetting qualifying time of no value when he was disqualified for being overhorsepower in post-qualifying inspection. Asked how that impacted his plans for the weekend, Higbee was being philosophical. "It's not that bad," he said. "This happened to me here in March too, but then I had to start from the second wave. This time it's just a one-wave start, so I should be able to get near the front."<BR><BR>When race time came on Sunday afternoon, things seemed to be going according to plan as Higbee quickly moved into the top-ten. But then an oil leak caused him to be black-flagged by race officials. As his crew worked feverishly on pit road, Higbee sat dejectedly on pit wall thinking that his championship hopes were evaporating before his eyes.<BR><BR>With Acree taking a third-place finish in the opening leg, he had in fact turned the title chase upside down. Instead of trailing Higbee by 11 points, he now led the standings. In the second leg, Higbee charged quickly from the back of the field and miraculously moved to the front of the pack by the third lap. As the race settled in, the lead battle was intense with Higbee, Mike Barnes, Mike Ciccotto and Grant Lopez all racing for the win. Acree was close, but not close enough. Nevertheless, the critical space between him and Higbee opened and closed continuously throughout the race, with the championship not determined until the final turn.<BR><BR>In the end, Higbee held on for a second place finish behind Barnes with Acree slipping to fifth after racing in fourth through most of the contest. When the points were tallied, Higbee took the crown with a four-point edge.<BR><BR>While Acree came up four points shy of earning his first ever Superbike crown, he had no such problems winning his second Formula USA SportBike title. The Arclight Suzuki rider was the model of consistency all weekend, keeping on top of qualifying and race results in both classes.<BR><BR>Michael Barnes most certainly had the most fruitful weekend. Barnes put an exclamation point on the Buell Lightning Series championship he had secured before Daytona by adding a fifth win in six starts. He also took race wins in the Formula USA SportBike and Lockhart Philips Superbike races. The only race he ran on Sunday that he did not win was the first Superbike leg, won by Grant Lopez.<BR><BR>With Aprilia announcing a change in the structure for the Aprilia Cup Challenge beginning in 2002, Jeff Wood put himself in the record books as the final champion in the Aprilia Cup national championship series. Wood came into the Daytona round with a single point lead over Dan Fischer, but a strong third place finish for Wood and a distastrous 23rd for Fischer widened the gap to 17 points at the end.<BR><BR>For more information visit formulausa.com.