By Steve Wittich
Second-generation racer Eduardo Barrichello has now matched his dad in one career endeavor. He won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Pabst Racing sophomore used textbook over-under move to take the lead, leading the last two laps to win his first USF2000 race.
“I will never forget this race,” an emotional Barrichello exclaimed after the podium ceremony. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long; I’ve been working so hard for this; me and my dad. Fortunately, it’s the first time this year that he’s here with me. It has been three months since I’ve seen him, and he surprised me a week ago. I’m really fortunate for this win, and I can’t believe my eyes.”
On the podium, the 18-year-old dedicated the victory to his mom.
Just missing out on his first win was Cape Motorsports sophomore Reece Gold, who finished on the podium for the sixth race in a row.
“I think we had the winning car, the pace was really good,” explained Gold after getting out his car.” I tried a little too hard. I wanted to get around him (Porto) before Barrichello got mixed up with us. I went in too deep and lost a spot, but I’m happy to recover to second. It’s the fifth podium in a row and really good points.”
With points leader, Jay Howard Driver Development veteran Christian Rasmussen finishing in sixth and his Cape Motorsports, Gold moved into second place in points and gained 11 points on Rasmussen.
Finishing in third place, after starting on the pole, was DEForce Racing rookie Kiko Porto. The Brazilian was making only his fifth career Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship start.
The command to fire the 22 USF2000 engines was given by race control at 2:26 pm, with Kiko Porto leading the field off pit road behind the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires pace car.
The ambient temperature was 82F, and the skies were partly sunny as the front row of Porto, and Reece Gold brought the field slowly to the green flag.
The field could get cleanly through the first turn, but in the second turn, points leader Rasmussen got sideways, falling through the field to 13th. Just missing the spinning Dane was Barrichello, who took to the grass to avoid him.
On the first lap, Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), who started fourth, was able to go around the outside of Gold in Turn 7 to move up to second.
The running order at the end of the first lap was Porto, Miller, Gold, Barichello, Siegel, Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Matthew Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing), Cameron Shields (DEForce Racing), Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Rasmussen, Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Simon Sikes (Legacy Autosport), Prescott Campbell (Exclusive Autosport), Max Kaeser (Jay Howard Driver Development), Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), Christian Bogle (Jay Howard Driver Development), Michael Myers (Legacy Autosport) and Josh Pierson (Exclusive Autosport),
On Lap 2, behind leader Porto, Gold, Barichello, Siegel, and Miller went four-wide down the front straight with Miller missing the braking zone in Turn 1. The Hoosier driver was forced to use the escape route, falling down the running order and retiring due to contact a lap later.
When crossing the line to start the fourth lap, Porto had a comfortable 2.2 second lead over Gold. Barrichello, in third, had a second over Green, who was followed by Green and Siegel in the top five.
On Lap 6, Rasmussen, who had moved back up to seventh, popped to the inside of d’Orlando on the run down to Turn 7; Rasmussen locked up his right front, which forced the No. 4 Cape Motorsports machine off the track and into the grass where he fell down the running order to 12th and fell to 20th when he came to pit road for repairs.
At the halfway point of the race, Gold had whittled Porto’s lead down to one-second and was closing quickly. The rest of the top ten were Barrichello, Green, Siegel, Rasmussen, Round-Garrido, Brooks, Sundaramoorthy, and Shields.
After the race, Porto told TSO Ladder that the car was really good over a single lap and that they made a mistake in the car’s balance, and it was challenging to drive, but they made the most of what they had.
The best battle on the track was between Brooks and Sundaramoorthy, with the Pabst Racing sophomore passing Brooks in Turn 7 on the next lap to move up to the eighth spot.
With five laps left, Gold had caught up to Porto, putting pressure on the Brazilian into Turn 1 and Turn 7, but was not able to get by him. That let Barrichello back into the fight.
The threesome went three-wide on the run down to Turn 1 just after starting the fourth lap. Gold pulled in front for a few feet but ran wide at the corner exit, allowing Porto to regain the lead and Barrichello to move to second.
When they crossed the line to begin Lap 13, Porto’s lead was 0.5 seconds over his fellow Brazilian. The threesome made it cleanly through the next lap, but as they started the penultimate lap, the second generation Pabst Racing driver executed a textbook over under to take over the lead.
After the race, Barrichello told TSO Ladder: “I was just driving really, really hard to catch the leaders. Once I found myself battling, I just had to make an aggressive move and think ahead. It worked out, and I’m very proud of myself.”
Barrichello was able to stretch his lead just a little as Gold could get by Porto for second in Turn 7.
After the race, Barrichello confirmed to TSO that he was thrilled to see Gold and Porto battling because The Ticket Clinic sponsored No. 3 of Gold had more pace.
Gold, Porto, and Green were able to close up on the Ale sponsored No. 22 of Barrichello, but he could hold on for what he and his dad both called the “longest laps of their lives” to grab his first Indy Pro 2000 win. Gold crossed the line 0.2 seconds behind the winner, and the top four covered by only 1.1 seconds.
On the last lap, Miller Vinatieri Motorsports rookie Kaeser was able to get around Shields to grab his first top ten finish.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Indy Grand Prix unofficial race results
|1||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||15 laps|
|2||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||-0.2834|
|3||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||-0.9051|
|4||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||-1.1206|
|5||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||-3.3016|
|6||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||-3.8252|
|7||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||-4.9916|
|8||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||-10.3849|
|9||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||-10.9327|
|10||41||Max Kaeser||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||-15.7466|
|11||10||Cameron Shields||DEForce Racing||-16.4082|
|12||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||-16.9467|
|13||18||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||-17.2307|
|14||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||-22.7944|
|15||20||Simon Sikes||Legacy Autosport||-22.8405|
|16||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||-23.1961|
|17||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||-26.7701|
|18||24||Michael Myers||Legacy Autosport||-27.4986|
|19||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||– 1 LAP|
|20||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||-6 LAPS|
|21||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||-12 LAPS|