By Steve Wittich

Dakota Dickerson, who returned to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series with ArmsUp Motorsports at Road America will start on the pole for the first of the series doubleheaders on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit.

Dickerson inherited the pole after Kyle Kirkwood and Kaylen Frederick were penalized for not slowing down enough though a local yellow. The one-time Skip Barber USF2000 shootout scholarship winner from San Diego, Calif. is currently leading the F4 United States Championship Powered By Honda championship through nine of 17 rounds.

“It’s been three years in the making, but it feels really good to get the pole position finally, said the 21-year-old when TSO Ladder caught up with him at the ArmsUp Motorsports transporter. “It was definitely an interesting way to do it. It feels really good to be starting on the front row, especially after all the effort that we put in. We had a really good test day at Blackhawk (between Road America and Toronto), and I think it’s really paying off. These guys (ArmsUp Motorsports) have a really good car here, but I think we’ll be able to continue this progress to Mid-Ohio (Sports Car Course) and Portland as well.”

The pole sitter for USF2000 race #1 on track in Toronto (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Dickerson credited team owner Greg Borland for reminding him to slow down in the yellow flag zone.

We asked Dickerson how hard it was to slow down and go against his nature and he told us: “It’s tough. We already had a red flag earlier in the session, so the time is compromised and you are trying to put down a good time. It’s definitely a gamble to slow down and obey the rules, but it paid off for us. Credit to the officials for doing that (penalizing the other drivers).”

Kirkwood and Fredrick, who were initially the front row starters for Saturday’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products had their best laps deleted for violating Rule, which states: Drivers shall reduce speed by a minimum of 15% in that sector and be prepared to stop. Drivers who do not slow down may be penalized. Overtaking is not permitted between the first Yellow Condition and the subsequent Green Condition.

They weren’t alone in blasting through the local yellow for Igor Fraga, as Rasmus Lindh, Calvin Ming, Jose Sierra, Kory Enders, Colin Kaminsky, Keith Donegan, Danial Frost, Julian Van der Watt, and Darren Keane were all dinged for the same infraction.

Kohl and Fraga also lost their quickest laps for causing a red flag.

ArmsUp Motorsports has had some success on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place, winning with Victor Franzoni in 2016 and collecting three total podiums.

The new qualifying results are as follows:

1 9 Dakota Dickerson 62.6620
2 24 Kaylen Frederick 62.7311
3 8 Kyle Kirkwood 62.7807
4 23 Rasmus Lindh 63.057
5 36 Darren Keane 63.165
6 28 Keith Donegan 63.310
7 21 Calvin Ming 63.6742
8 12 Jose Sierra 63.9156
9 80 Julian Van der Watt 63.9277
10 11 Kory Enders 64.1023
11 92 Danial Frost 64.3270
12 38 Oscar DeLuzuriaga 64.5483
13 82 Bruna Tomaselli 64.5591
14 29 Russell McDonough 64.6033
15 27 Colin Kaminsky 64.8094
16 81 Kyle Dupell 65.1263
17 91 Igor Fraga 355.9447
18 22 Lucas Kohl no time
19 14 Max Peichel no time

The biggest winner after the 11 drivers had their laps deleted was Darren Keane, who will start five spots higher on the inside of the third row. Colin Kaminsky lost three places, the biggest loser of the bunch.

Winners and loser after the penalties were applied.

Darren Keane 5
Kyle Dupell 3
Dakota Dickerson 2
Keith Donegan 1
Oscar DeLuzuriaga 1
Bruna Tomaselli 1
Russell McDonough 1
Kaylen Frederick 0
Rasmus Lindh 0
Julian Van der Watt 0
Danial Frost 0
Igor Fraga 0
Lucas Kohl 0
Max Peichel 0
Kyle Kirkwood -2
Calvin Ming -2
Jose Sierra -2
Kory Enders -2
Colin Kaminsky -3

The first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products races rolls off at 11:45 AM on Saturday morning.