Perennial USF2000 driver and team champions Cape Motorsports with /WTR began 2016 in an unfamiliar manner. After the first event of he season, the St. Petersburg based squad sat third in the team standings and none of their trio of drivers were in the top-five in the driver’s points standings.
The team-wide malaise did not last long though, as Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda sophomore Parker Thompson won both races at Barber Motorsports Park, and the trio of Thompson, Anthony Martin, and Nikita Lastochkin had an average finish across the pair of races.
The two wins combined with a forgettable event for Jordan Lloyd (Pabst Racing), the points leader after St. Petersburg, means that the 18 year-old Thompson comes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an 11 point lead over Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports).
Somphomore Gabin, who due to budget issues is racing on a event-by-event basis, has one podium and top five finishes in all four races so far. Gabin finished fourth and fifth at this event last year as an USF2000 rookie and after an up-and-down rookie season, will hope that he can continue his run of clean, fast and consistent races to continue extending his 2016 USF2000 campaign.
Past Racing duo Lloyd and Yufeng Luo who dominated the opening round at St. Petersburg struggled to find the pace at the last event at Barber Motorsports Park and come to Indiana in third and fourth place on the championship table. The Augie Pabst III led team has had success on the 2.439 mi Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the past, winning a race with Will Owen in 2014 and scoring a podium with Jake Eidson in 2015. The Pabst family also has a winning history on Central Indiana road courses, with Augie Pabst, Jr. piloting his Chevrolet powered Scarab Mk II to victory at the first Hoosier Grand Prix on the 2.5 mile road course at Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway) in Clermont, Indiana on June 25, 1961.
Reigning USF2000 rookie of the year Martin currently sits fifth in the chase for the Mazda Motorsports Advancement Scholarship. The 21 year-old from Kalgoorlie, Australia will need to improve on the third and fourth place finishes at this event in 2015 if he wants to put a dent in the 20 point lead his teammate Thompson has amassed.
In a category that is often dominated by veteran drivers the two podium finishes by 16 year-old Team Pelfrey rookie Robert Megennis have him handily leading the rookie of the year chase and place him sixth overall, only 25 points behind Thompson.
Sophomores Victor Franzoni (ArmsUp Motorsports), Nikita Lastochkin (Cape Motorsports with /WTR), Ayla Agren (John Cummiskey Racing) and Garth Rickards (Pabst Racing) currently hold down the seventh through tenth spots in the championship and will need to have good weekends to climb back into the title hunt.
The National Class (SCCA Formula Continental spec cars), which is currently led by Spencer Motorsports Eric Filgueiras has seen an influx of entries this weekend, which considering the iconic venue, is not a huge surprise. Joining Filgueiras is: Dale VandenBush (ArmsUp Motorsports), Robert Armington (Tomasi Motorsports), Brenden Puderbach (Fat Boy Racing), and Charles Finelli (Fat Boy Racing).
Links to Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda info
Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis Powered by Mazda schedule
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
- 9am – 10am — USF2000 testing
- 2pm – 3pm — USF2000 testing
Thursday, May 12, 2016
- 9:30am – 10am — USF2000 practice #1
- 1:30pm – 2pm — USF2000 practice #2
Friday, May 13, 2016
- 9:30am – 10am — USF2000 qualifying
- 11am – 11:30pm – USF2000 autograph session (IndyCar Fan Village)
- 1pm – 1:40pm — USF2000 race #1 (30 minutes)
Saturday, May 14, 2016
12:15pm – 12:55pm — USF2000 race #2 (40 minutes)
Don’t miss any of the action
- live timing – Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, & USF2000
- on twitter –Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, Cooper Tire, Mazda Racing and TSO Ladder
- via the Road To Indy TV app – Android or Apple iOS
- on all social media channels via the #TeamCooperTire and #MRTI hashtags
You can also catch all the action on IndyCar’s YouTube channel:
You can watch last year’s races here: