By Steve Wittich

For much of the 20-minute USF2000 qualifying session, it appeared that Pabst Racing might lock out the front row, but the Oconomowoc, Wisc. team had to settle for putting four drivers in the top five.

For the second race of the season, it will be Mazda backed Road To Indy 200K Scholarship that starts on the pole for a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race. It’s only the second time that Pabst Racing will start on pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

It was Hunter McElrea who grabbed the pole for the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

It was Jay Howard Driver Development pilot Christian Rasmussen, that broke up the Pabst Racing party, and will start on the outside of the front row for the second straight race.

The second row will consist of Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Bruna Tomaselli, who both had their best career qualifying sessions. The fourth member of the Pabst Racing squad, Colin Kaminsky, will start on the inside of the third row beside BN Racing rookie Matthew Round-Garrido.

Cape Motorsports drivers had won 13 of last 17 USF2000 poles at the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course, but struggled today. The best any of the four drivers could do was eighth, by newcomer Jak Crawford. His teammate points leader Braden Eves will start ninth.

The ambient temperature when the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying session began at 1:55 pm was 80F. The track temperature was 118F and the humidity a reasonably comfortable 50%.

Rasmussen grabbed the early provisional pole, throwing down a lap at 83.076 seconds early. That lap held until Manuel Sulaiman briefly held the top spot.

With 12 minutes remaining in the session, Keane was on pit road for adjustments.

McElrea was the quickest driver at the 10-minute mark of the 20-minute session, turning a lap at 82.1933 seconds. The remainder of the top 10 were Colin Kaminsky, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Christian Rasmussen, Jak Crawford, Manuel Sulaiman, Jack William Miller, Bruna Tomaselli, Braden Eves, and Nolan Siegel.

With seven minutes remaining, it was Pabst Racing racing holding down the top four spots. Tomaselli was on top, followed by McElrea, Kaminsky, and Sundaramoorthy.

Two laps later, it was the Soul Red No. 22 piloted by McElrea, went back to the top of the timing screens. He was able to go quicker yet on his next lap.

The top five with two-minutes remaining were: McElrea, Rasmussen, Sundaramoorthy, Tomaselli, and Kaminsky. The Cooper Tires were clearly outside of their optimal grip level, as none of the 17 drivers were able to improve on their final lap.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Qualifying #1 Unofficial Results

1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:21.513 –.—-
2 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.657 0.1441
3 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:21.768 0.2555
4 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:21.773 0.2600
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:21.834 0.3216
6 27 Matt Round-Garrido BN Racing 1:21.901 0.3882
7 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:21.971 0.4583
8 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:21.978 0.4658
9 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:22.018 0.5054
10 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:22.084 0.5713
11 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:22.132 0.6199
12 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.309 0.7965
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.593 1.0803
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:22.619 1.1061
15 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:22.667 1.1542
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.436 1.9232
17 77 Timmy Pagliuso Legacy Autosport 1:25.717 4.2046

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship is back on track for their second qualifying session on Saturday morning at 8:35 am.