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

By Steve Wittich

For the fourth time in 2021, Pabst Racing veteran Yuven Sundaramoorthy will start a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race from the pole. The 18-year-old converted two of those poles into wins at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

A Pabst Racing veteran, Eduardo Barrichello, also won the pole for Pabst Racing in Race #1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2020. Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Race #1 marks the 26th time a driver representing Pabst Racing will start a USF2000 from the inside of the front row.

Championship leader Kiko Porto had his string of consecutive USF2000 pole streak end at five, falling a slim 0.0605 seconds shy of Sundaramoorthy. The DEForce Racing sophomore will start on the front row for the seventh time in 2021.

Starting on the inside of the second row is Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), his best starting spot since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Joining Brooks in row two is Josh Green, who led yesterday’s test session. The fourth-place starting spot matches the Mount Kisco, N.Y. driver’s best starting position this season.

Row three consists of championship contenders Josh Pierson (Pabst Racing) and Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports).

The top six were within four-tenths-of-a-second of pole winner Sundaramoorthy, and the top 15 were within one second of the pole sitter.

After five minutes and two laps, Brooks was the early provisional pole-sitter with a lap at 77.5804 seconds. That lap was already six-tenths-of-a-second ahead of the morning’s quickest time and within four-tenths of the New Jersey Motorsports Park USF2000 track record.

At the halfway point of the 20-minute qualifying session, Brooks’ lap was still held the provisional pole. In the top ten, he was joined by Pierson, Green, Sundaramoorthy, Porto, Jace Denmark (Pabst Racing), d’Orlando, Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing), Myles Rowe (Force Indy), and Prescott Campbell (DEForce Racing).

Most drivers came to pit road for fresh Cooper Tire slicks around the halfway point of the session.

The first driver to improve their lap time was Sundaramoorthy, who jumped to the provisional pole with seven minutes remaining.

Locating enough space among the 23 entries on the short 2.14-mile circuit was the key to putting in a good lap, especially with tires only good for one super-quick lap.

Championship leader Porto was the next driver to go quicker, completing a lap only six-hundredths of a second shy of Sundaramoorthy.

Campbell, Green, and d’Orlando all turned their quickest laps later in the session, but nobody could touch Sundaramoorthy and the S team Motorsports No. 18.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying #1 results

1 22 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:17.3411 ——
2 12 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1:17.4016 0.0605
3 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 1:17.5804 0.2393
4 33 Josh Green Turn 3 Motorsport 1:17.6499 0.3088
5 24 Josh Pierson Pabst Racing 1:17.6673 0.3262
6 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1:17.7050 0.3639
7 10 Nolan Siegel DEForce Racing 1:17.7759 0.4348
8 23 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1:17.7866 0.4455
9 11 Prescott Campbell DEForce Racing 1:17.8544 0.5133
10 32 Christian Weir Turn 3 Motorsport 1:17.9231 0.5820
11 99 Myles Rowe Force Indy 1:17.9389 0.5978
12 91 Billy Frazer Exclusive Autosport 1:18.1855 0.8444
13 5 Spike Kohlbecker Ignite Autosports w/Cape Motorsports 1:18.2374 0.8963
14 34 Dylan Christie Turn 3 Motorsport 1:18.2431 0.9020
15 1 Ely Navarro DEForce Racing 1:18.3898 1.0487
16 2 Thomas Nepveu Cape Motorsports 1:18.4689 1.1278
17 42 Michael Myers Michael Myers Racing 1:18.6627 1.3216
18 3 Evan Stamer Ignite Autosports w/Cape Motorsports 1:18.6928 1.3517
19 6 Bijoy Garg Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.7660 1.4249
20 9 Peter Vodanovich Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.9068 1.5657
21 16 Kent Vaccaro Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:19.1328 1.7917
22 63 Trey Burke Joe Dooling Autosports 1:19.1952 1.8541
23 20 Nathan Byrd Legacy Autosport 1:20.1708 2.8297

The first race of the New Jersey Motorsports Park weekend is scheduled to get the green flag for Race #1 at 2:30 pm.