A crazy final two minutes of qualifying for the second Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products of the weekend ended up with Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson putting a beat down on his competitors.
Thompson was joined by championship contenders Oliver Askew, and Rinus VeeKay in a final shootout for the pole, and the important bonus point that goes with it. The three drivers traded the provisional pole a total of five different times in the final 120 minutes of qualifying. But, it was Thompson’s final lap of 82.612 seconds that ended up an expansive six-tenths of a second ahead of Dutch youngster VeeKay.
After high humidity and overcast skies Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Saturday dawned with bright blue skies, low humidity, a brisk breeze from the North, and the temperature around 56F.
For the second straight day, it was 19 Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda drivers and teams that served as the alarm clock for the legion of campers surrounding the 2.258-mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course natural terrain circuit.
The Pabst Racing threesome of Rinus VeeKay, Calvin Ming, and Lucas Kohl were the first three cars on track for the 20-minute qualifying stanza.
At the half-way point of qualifying, the top 10 were: Oliver Askew, Parker Thompson, Rinus VeeKay, Calvin Ming, Andres Guttierez, Lucas Kohl, Jacob Abel, Kaylen Frederick, Devin Wojcik, and Robert Megennis.
The times fell continually throughout the session as the Cooper Tires and Mazda 2.0L power plants got warmed-up.
Yesterday’s winner, Oliver Askew grabbed the provisional pole just past the half-way point, and the Mazda backed driver continued to go quicker, which was a good thing, as VeeKay, Ming, and Thompson all made runs at the top spot.
It was finally VeeKay, who knocked the championship leader’s No. 3 Soul Red Cape Motorsports machine from the provisional. Just a few seconds later, Thompson took over the top spot, and those two drivers traded the top spot two more times.
Of note, yesterday’s race winner Askew, who was on probation for jumping the start on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May, was penalized 10 points for jumping the race start in Friday’s race. That reduced the 20 year-old’s championship lead over the 16 year-old VeeKay to 19 points.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products qualifying #2 results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|9||12||Moises de la Vara||1:24.209||1.5970|
The final USF2000 race of the weekend, and penultimate race of the season is scheduled to get the green flag in less than four hours at 12:10 p.m. this afternoon.
Anthony Martin came to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on an early Saturday morning with a three point deficit to Victor Franzoni in the chase for the $790,000 Mazda Motorsports Advancement Scholarship a driver takes for winning the Pro Mazda Championship, but after a 20 minute qualifying session he will start this afternoons race trailing by two points.
Martin’s best lap of 79.544 seconds earned the 22 year-old his fourth pole of the year, 12th of his Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire and the important bonus point.
The second Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire qualifying session of the weekend, immediately followed USF2000 qualifying on this sunny, but brisk Saturday morning.
Franzoni led for the most of the first half of the session, but just before the half-way point of the 20 minute session, it was the Soul Red No. 8 of Martin that took away the provisional pole from his Brazilian rival.
For much of the second half of the session, Martin’s quickest lap was a full second ahead of Franzoni, but with a few minutes left, Franzoni was able to cut the gap to just under three-tenths of a second.
But, a local yellow flag in Turn 1 for Max Hanratty’s contact, meant that Franzoni was denied the opportunity to make a run at Martin for the pole.
Yesterday’s first time pole sitter Carlos Cunha will start on the inside of the second row and is joined in the top five by his Team Pelfrey teammates Nikita Lastochkin, and TJ Fischer.
Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products Qualifying two results:
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|6||14||Sting Ray Robb||1:21.577||2.0332|
The second leg of the Pro Mazda triple-header weekend is scheduled to get the green flag at 1:05 P.M. this afternoon (Saturday, July 29).
Don’t miss any of the action:
- live timing – Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, and IndyCar Race Control
- 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