Perhaps luckily for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires got its first of three 30-minute races in before the rains hit the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The one driver reining at the end of the day was Australian Anthony Martin, who scored a pivotal win after a tough weekend in Toronto for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
And with his title rival and teammate, Parker Thompson, out of the running following a cut right front tire, Martin turned a 20-point championship deficit into a nine-point championship lead at the end of the day.
The race didn’t get off to the best of starts with a full course caution from Laps 2 to 3 after Robert Megennis stalled on course at Turn 7. Megennis, of Team Pelfrey, resumed although down a lap.
Martin led from Thompson, with Victor Franzoni of ArmsUp Motorsports moving forward from fifth on the grid up to third.
Dakota Dickerson of Afterburner Autosport was down to fourth with Luke Gabin of JAY Motorsports in fifth.
Gabin and countryman Jordan Lloyd of Pabst Racing would eventually get around Dickerson after the restart. Dickerson, despite starting third, did not have the same amount of race pace.
The race turned on its head with Thompson stopping after puncturing his right front tire owing to debris. While he resumed a lap down in 17th, he was 17th, and thus into a season-worst position.
Contact between Yufeng Luo (Pabst) and Austin McCusker (Chastain Motorsports) would eventually bring out the second full-course caution of the race, and bring the race to a conclusion under the yellow flag.
Martin won from Franzoni and Gabin, with Lloyd and Dickerson completing the top five. This is Dickerson’s second top-five finish in a row.
Of note, Ayla Agren’s return to the series featured a 10th place finish for John Cummiskey Racing.
Results are below. The second USF2000 race of the weekend is scheduled for the same time, 1 to 1:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.