By Steve Wittich

For the second straight USF2000 qualifying session, the Soul Red No. 22 of Mazda Road to Indy 200K scholarship winner Hunter McElrea, was the fastest car on track. It’s the American born Kiwi’s third pole of the season.

For the third straight race, Christian Rasmussen will start from the outside of the front row. The Jay Howard Driver Development rookie missed out on his second pole of the season by only one-hundredth of a second.

Cape Motorsports and Braden Eves, who struggled in qualifying yesterday, improved the MDRN Livery/Community Choice Financial sponsored No. 8 for this morning and will start on the outside of the second row.

The 17 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers took to the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course for their second qualifying session at 8:35 am. It was hazy, possibly from campfires was still clinging in the air and perhaps from the 74% humidity, or most likely both. The air temperature was 72F, and the track temperature was 76F.

Second-generation driver Eduardo Barrichello was the first driver to set a time.

With just over 13 minutes remaining, the red flag came out for Timmy Pagiliuso, the pilot of the No. 77 from the Legacy Autosport, who spun coming off the keyhole, ending up in the gravel trap on the inside of the track. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to tow him to the pavement, and the newcomer was able to drive back to pit road.

The quickest driver when the red flag came out was Rasmussen with a lap timed at 82.967 seconds. He was joined by Colin Kaminsky, Hunter McElrea, Jack William Miller, Eduardo Barrichello, Nolan Siegel, Christian Bogle, Darren Keane, Manuel Sulaiman, and Reece Gold.

Matthew Round-Garrido, Bruna Tomaselli and Yuven Sundaramoorthy had yet to complete a lap.

The green flag came back out with just under nine minutes remaining, with 16 drivers headed out on the track.

Points leader Braden Eves was the first driver back on track, and the first driver to improve his placement on the timing screens, moving to the outside of the provisional front row.

McElrea went quicker on his first three hot laps, before falling off on his fourth lap. Rasmussen briefly held the provisional pole, but not for long, as McElrea was able to pip him as he crossed the timing line.

The second red flag of the session was shown with the checkered flag with just over 30 seconds remaining when Excel Labs/No Stone Unturned sponsored No. 27 of Matthew Round-Garrido had an incident at the exit of Turn 11.

The BN Racing driver had the sixth quickest lap but lost that for causing the red flag. The Englishman, who is coming off his first podium, with start 14th.

Some drivers, including championship contender Darren Keane, were on hot laps that had to be aborted. The Cape Motorsports veteran will start Sunday’s race #2 from the inside of the eighth row.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Qualifying #2 Unofficial Results

1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:21.386 –.—-
2 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.401 0.0150
3 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:21.727 0.3404
4 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:21.815 0.4283
5 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:21.825 0.4383
6 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:22.270 0.8834
7 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:22.285 0.8982
8 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.350 0.9635
9 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:22.363 0.9761
10 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:22.396 1.0097
11 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:22.463 1.0768
12 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:22.697 1.3100
13 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.780 1.3932
14 27 Matt Round-Garrido BN Racing 1:22.833 1.4464
15 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:22.842 1.4558
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.935 2.5488
17 77 Timmy Pagliuso Legacy Autosport 1:28.605 7.2181

The first Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race of the weekend, a 20 lap or 40-minute race is scheduled to get the green flag this afternoon at 4:05 pm.