For the first time in his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career, Eduardo Barrichello will start a USF2000 race from the pole.

The second-generation driver turned a lap of 81.733 seconds in his Ale sponsored No. 22 Pabst Racing machine. That gave him a gap of only four-thousandths-of-a-second over fellow sophomore Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports).

With only two-tenths of a second covering the top six drivers, it was one of the closest USF2000 qualifying sessions that we’ve witnessed.

The first of two qualifying sessions for the USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders got started right on time at 1:30 pm.

There were a few fluffy white clouds in the brilliant blue sky, with an ambient temperature of 83F.

The first driver to complete a lap at speed was Rasmussen, but early in the session, the drivers were busy getting their Cooper Tires up to the optimal operating temperature. Most teams had bolted on a sticker set of Coopers for qualifying after utilizing a set carried over from Road America during the morning practice session.

When most drivers had completed only three laps and with just under 15-minutes remaining in the session, Barrichello, who led the morning practice, was the quickest driver.

With eight minutes remaining in the session, it was Cape Motorsports sophomore Reece Gold with a lap at 82.044 seconds that was the quickest driver, with Rasmussen, Green, Barichello, and Duppel in the top five.

Rasmussen was the first driver to turn a lap below 82 seconds, but every driver on track got quicker and quicker.

With five minutes remaining in the session, the top ten drivers on the timing screen were all within a half-second of Rasmussen, and 16 of the 20 drivers were within one second.

Gold was the second driver to hold the provisional pole in the last five minutes of the session, but he wouldn’t last.

With three minutes remaining, Barichello had moved back to the provisional pole, with the top five drivers all within two-tenths-of-a-second of the top spot.

With just over one minute left in the session, the red flag came out for Bijoy Garg, ending the session and giving Eduardo Barrichello his first career pole.

Unofficial Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying results

1 22 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing 1:21.733 –.—-
2 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:21.738 0.0045
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.857 0.1238
4 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1:21.892 0.1583
5 2 Josh Green Cape Motorsports 1:21.925 0.1917
6 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 1:21.937 0.2033
7 9 Nolan Siegel Jay Howard Driver Development 1:22.050 0.3166
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:22.059 0.3254
9 1 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport 1:22.152 0.4185
10 8 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports 1:22.229 0.4954
11 12 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1:22.264 0.5303
12 20 Cameron Shields Legacy Autosport 1:22.318 0.5851
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.336 0.6030
14 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:22.451 0.7175
15 23 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing 1:22.664 0.9303
16 18 Bijoy Garg Jay Howard Driver Development 1:22.745 1.0113
17 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:22.790 1.0569
18 27 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:23.096 1.3631
19 41 Max Kaeser Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:23.196 1.4626
20 16 Josh Pierson Exclusive Autosport 1:23.467 1.7341

The first of three USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders get the green flag at 4:30 pm.