The S team Motorsports No. 22 of Yuven Sundaramoorthy on track at Barber Motorsports Park Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

For the first time in his 35 race USF2000 career, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, a Pabst Racing veteran, will start from the pole. The inside front row start is not the 18-year-old’s North American Junior Open Wheel first. The University Of Wisconsin – Madison freshman, started a pair of F1600 Championship Series races from the pole.

Sundaramoorthy’s pole lap of 81.1201-seconds breaks the seven-year-old track record by almost two seconds. The previous track record – 83.009 seconds – was held by Michael Epps (Belardi Auto Racing) during the 2014 Cooper Tires Winter Fest.

“This is amazing, especially with the spin I had this morning, said Sundaramoorthy after qualifying. “I’ve been at this for three years so to finally get a pole feels so good; I hope it means that there are more good things to come. This track is all about confidence: it’s all high-speed corners and long-duration corners, so you have to get the car perfect, which the Pabst crew did, and then me putting the lap together. I’m happy with pole but I’m looking to convert from first position. It’s so hard to pass here, so getting a good start will be key.”

The pole is the 26th career inside front row start for Pabst Racing. The Oconomowoc, Wisc. based team placed all three of their drivers in the top five, with Josh Pierson starting behind his teammate on the pole and rookie Jace Denmark starting directly behind Pierson.

Starting outside of the trio of Pabst Racing drivers are Prescott Campbell (DEForce Racing), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), and Spike Kohlbecker (Cape Motorsports).

The field is incredibly close; the top 11 are within three-tenths-of-a-second of Sundaramoorthy. The top 20 are within one second of the quickest lap.

The only red flag came out with just over two minutes remaining when Sundaramoorthy and Simon Sikes (Legacy Autosport) both spun. Both drivers lost their quickest lap of the session, but Sundaramoorthy’s second-best lap was good enough to keep the pole.

Qualifying #1 for Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama

1 22 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:21.1201 ——
2 11 Prescott Campbell DEForce Racing 1:21.1341 0.0140
3 24 Josh Pierson Pabst Racing 1:21.1447 0.0246
4 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1:21.1550 0.0349
5 23 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1:21.2462 0.1261
6 5 Spike Kohlbecker Cape Motorsports 1:21.2561 0.1360
7 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 1:21.2734 0.1533
8 33 Josh Green Turn 3 Motorsport 1:21.3320 0.2119
9 99 Myles Rowe Force Indy 1:21.3604 0.2403
10 10 Nolan Siegel DEForce Racing 1:21.3937 0.2736
11 12 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1:21.4138 0.2937
12 91 Billy Frazer Exclusive Autosport 1:21.5422 0.4221
13 1 Ely Navarro DEForce Racing 1:21.5644 0.4443
14 8 Jackson Lee Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.8327 0.7126
15 9 Peter Vodanovich Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.8855 0.7654
16 2 Thomas Nepveu Cape Motorsports 1:22.0193 0.8992
17 20 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport 1:22.0581 0.9380
18 6 Bijoy Garg Jay Howard Driver Development 1:22.0745 0.9544
19 34 Dylan Christie Turn 3 Motorsport 1:22.1599 1.0398
20 90 Grant Palmer Exclusive Autosport 1:22.2160 1.0959
21 19 Andre Castro Legacy Autosport 1:22.2463 1.1262
22 29 Erik Evans Velocity Racing Development 1:22.4870 1.3669
23 3 Evan Stamer Cape Motorsports 1:22.5584 1.4383
24 16 Kent Vaccaro Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.6373 1.5172
25 92 Matt Round-Garrido Exclusive Autosport 1:22.8472 1.7271
26 63 Trey Burke Joe Dooling Autosports 1:27.5223 6.4022

The second USF2000 qualifying session is set to get the green flag at 1:50 pm (central) this afternoon.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Race #1 rolls off bright and early at 8 am (central) on Saturday morning.