The second of three races in the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series, the first rung on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder, took place once more after the 1 p.m. hour.
Anthony Martin has taken his second successive win for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing in his No. 8 car, ahead of teammate Parker Thompson in the No. 2 car, with the battle between them taking center stage.
Here’s a quick roundup of notes from the USF2000 paddock before the second race.
So we mentioned we’d have more on the Pabst Racing/John Cummiskey Racing car swap back for this weekend after Toronto.
Indeed, TSO caught up with Pabst team principal Augie Pabst who confirmed that Jordan Lloyd’s No. 21 car was repaired from its Toronto accident and brought back to action this weekend at Mid-Ohio, which allowed Lloyd’s 2015 JCR chassis – now driven by Ayla Agren – to go back to Agren.
Pabst said given how late it is in the season it might have been harder to find a new chassis, had Lloyd’s chassis been beyond repair.
Cameron Das didn’t start the first race of the weekend for JAY Motorsports. Das, the 16-year-old rookie out of Baltimore, got caught out by Mid-Ohio’s significantly challenging Turn 1 on Friday. He bottomed out and lost control through there, and that required the Jay Green-led operation to make repairs to the rear of the car with rear end damage.
Worth noting, Das was just at Mid-Ohio a few weeks ago for the Formula 4 United States Championship powered by Honda series debut. Das told TSO it’s hard to gauge the difference in the two cars because the Van Diemen chassis in USF2000 is well developed and at the end of its lifespan, while the new Crawford chassis in F4 is at the beginning of its lifespan.
Das, who was working with IndyCar veteran Raphael Matos as his driver coach at Toronto, continues under the Brazilian’s tutelage this weekend.
On another JAY Motorsports note, Australian Luke Gabin told TSO he was pleased with his performance in Race 1, where he started sixth and made it up to third in the No. 91 car. He said he’s gotten a lot better at his restarts. Gabin entered Race 2 fifth in points, 17 behind countryman Lloyd in his No. 21 Pabst car.
TSO understands this to be the last race weekend of the season for National class competitor Eric Filgueiras, who’s won most of the races in that class this year, as he and the Spencer Racing team plan for 2017.
He’s been the only National class entry this weekend, which comes as a bit of a surprise to TSO considering the SCCA National Championship Runoffs will be at Mid-Ohio from Sept. 19-25 later this year, and these type cars run at the Runoffs.
So, USF2000 race two. Here was the starting grid:
|8||91||Luke Gabin||1:22.1321||Race 1|
|20||20||Clint McMahan||1:24.2356||Race 1|
Contact reportedly occurred between Team Pelfrey’s Robert Megennis and JAY Motorsports’ Luke Gabin on the opening lap. Meanwhile it was also a rocky first lap for the two drivers named Jordan. Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Cane and Pabst Racing’s Jordan Lloyd fell from 12th and sixth to 20th and 21st, respectively, at the end of the opening lap.
Things stabilized a bit until Lap 6, when Dakota Dickerson, who’d started third in the No. 18 Afterburner Autosport entry, ran off course and lost a couple spots in the process. It was a minor setback for the San Diego native, the Team USA Scholarship winner a year ago and this year’s Mazda scholarship driver, who drives the Soul Red No. 18 car.
His issues paled in comparison to Ayla Agren, whose return weekend to the series hasn’t gone as planned after leading opening practice. Agren stopped on course at Turn 4 with a mechanical issue and that brought out the first full-course caution of the race.
Under yellow, the order was Anthony Martin, Parker Thompson, Victor Franzoni, Garth Rickards and Dakota Dickerson in the top five.
The restart came at the conclusion of Lap 9 and the start of Lap 10 and it was the most pivotal point of the race.
Martin backed the field up on the restart and Thompson lost momentum, which opened the door for Franzoni and the rest of the field to get a bit of a run.
Franzoni briefly got around for second in a great move before Thompson got him back on the same lap – it was a great exchange of position.
But the battle for second allowed Martin to check out at the end of Lap 10, with a gap of 2.3723 seconds.
Cane, who’d fallen to 20th on the opening lap, was a huge mover by this lap on the restart – he was up to 12th in the No. 4 Cape car.
Yufeng Luo pitted on Lap 13 with the front wing missing on his No. 23 Pabst Racing entry, and that dropped him to 17th.
By Lap 18, Thompson had closed the gap to 0.8836 of a second, and the other big mover was Cane, again, up to ninth.
Thompson got a few hundredths closer the next lap but then lost pace the last couple laps, and ended 3.8692 seconds behind Martin, who secured his sixth victory of the season.
Thompson was second and Franzoni was third, the Brazilian delivering his ninth podium finish of the season.
Megennis and Dickerson rebounded to fourth and fifth respectively.
Post-race Martin noted the importance of making no mistakes, yet indicated his mistake on the restart to back the field up almost worked to his benefit as he checked out from there.
Thompson noted how emotionally difficult the season can be, given how many points he lost in race one, and said that sometimes things bite. He noted how key the repass of Franzoni was from a points standpoint.
Franzoni praised his ArmsUp team for keeping him in the frame, albeit just shy of the top step of the podium.
Unofficial results are below. Martin unofficially leads Thompson by 15 points, 315-300, after this result. Heading in the gap was nine points, 283-274.
The third and last USF2000 race of the weekend kicks off Sunday’s race activity, with the 30-minute session in the 9:15 to 10 a.m. ET and local time range.