Saturday’s sixth round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season saw Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing continue its winning streak, with Parker Thompson winning the team’s fourth race in a row after a rare off weekend at the season opener in St. Petersburg.
The 18-year-old out of Red Deer, Alberta started on pole and led flag-to-flag in the 30-minute, 15-lap race, which was under full course yellow for the first eight laps and nearly 21 minutes owing to a chaotic start involving multiple cars.
Here was the starting grid:
At the conclusion of the first lap, Thompson in the No. 2 Cape car led Victor Franzoni in the No. 9 ArmsUp Motorsports car, having gained two spots, Jordan Lloyd in the No. 21 Pabst Racing entry, Friday winner Anthony Martin in the No. 8 Cape car and Luke Gabin, up from seventh on the grid in the No. 91 JAY Motorsports car. Gabin sought to atone from electrical woes that sidelined him late in Friday’s race, following a big comeback drive.
Further down the order there were several cars off course at Turn 7, which triggered the full-course caution. Dakota Dickerson of Afterburner Autosport and Gabin’s teammate at JAY, Cameron Das, were reported off there with National class driver Eric Filgueiras also reported off at Turn 1 in his Spencer Racing entry. Dickerson resumed. Later on, Jordan Cane spun at Turn 7 in his No. 81 Team Pelfrey entry.
The race was due to restart once the cleanup around the track was completed. However, the caution period was extended with Austin McCusker’s No. 5 Chastain Motorsports car reportedly leaking oil on track. McCusker had been running 10thh and with him out of the way, it promoted Michai Stephens of RJB Motorsports into a top-10 position.
The restart came on Lap 9 with Thompson leading Franzoni, Martin, Lloyd and Gabin with Yufeng Luo in sixth, Lucas Kohl seventh, then Nikita Lastochkin, Garth Rickards and TJ Fischer completing the top 10.
A lap later, Gabin passed Lloyd for fourth, with Rickards then moving up two spots past Lastochkin for eighth and Kohl for seventh.
Then on the final lap, Gabin made it around Martin for third and the final podium position.
At Lap 15 and the conclusion of the race, points leader Thompson secured his third win in six races this season, by 0.7114 of a second over Franzoni.
Gabin was third ahead of Australian countrymen Martin and Lloyd.
Dale VandenBush (ArmsUp) took the National class win.
Post-race, Thompson didn’t hide his emotions. He noted how overwhelming it is to win here, and thanked the fans who came out on a day that he called “colder than a Canadian winter.” He also expressed some nerves about Franzoni being behind him on a restart, noting how impressive Franzoni tends to be on cold tires.
Franzoni, for his part, said he tried to warm his tires as best as he could during the extended yellow. He said passing was difficult because of the dirty air; it’s hard to run close behind other cars.
Gabin, meanwhile, in third capped off an emotional roller coaster of a weekend relieved and thankful to end on the podium after starting seventh. He made his move of Martin down the front straight and said on the cold day, he had to be on the edge.
Thompson extends his points lead after this race win.
Unofficial results are below.
P No Name Laps
1 2 Parker Thompson 15
2 9 Victor Franzoni 15
3 91 Luke Gabin 15
4 8 Anthony Martin 15
5 21 Jordan Lloyd 15
6 23 Yufeng Luo 15
7 22 Garth Rickards 15
8 34 Lucas Kohl 15
9 82 TJ Fischer 15
10 80 Robert Megennis 15
11 3 Nikita Lastochkin 15
12 33 Ayla Agren 15
13 77 Sam Chastain 15
14 72 Tazio Ottis 15
15 19 Michai Stephens 15
16 20 Clint McMahan 15
17 7 Dale VandenBush 15
18 11 Robert Armington 15
19 6 Max Hanratty 14
20 18 Dakota Dickerson 14
21 81 Jordan Cane 13
22 15 Brenden Puderbach 9
23 5 Austin McCusker 3
24 92 Cameron Das 1
25 12 Eric Filgueiras —
26 44 Charles Finelli —
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