#17: Alex Quinn, Velocity Racing Development, VRD/Arden Motorsport. Photo courtesy Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

By Tony DiZinno and Patrick Stephan

Series newcomer Alex Quinn scored a victory on debut in Friday’s fifth round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The win is also the first for Velocity Racing Development in the championship.

Driving the No. 17 Tatuus USF-22, Quinn survived the chaos that unfolded around him involving several championship contenders in what could be an intriguing weekend.

The 15-lap race featured multiple caution flags and multiple incidents, with Billy Frazer and polesitter Jagger Jones able to push on while the trio of Jace Denmark, Myles Rowe and Michael d’Orlando all finished 15th or worse.

Quinn captured the flag by the margin of victory by 2.1657 of a second over Frazer, in his No. 92 Exclusive Autosport entry, with Jones finishing same as his car number, third, in the No. 3 Cape Motorsports car.

“To be honest, that was the most fun I’ve had in a race car,” Quinn said on the podium.

“Got on the track and immediately had a great car. The team has done a great job. They (Velocity Racing Development & Arden) got me over here and provided me with the perfect car, so I’m extremely happy for that, and extremely happy for the win.”

How did he get there?

Jagger Jones led the field to green with all 23 cars tightly bunched along the inside wall as they went under the green flag.

Jones moved over to about the third lane and made a clean entry to Turn 1, while further back the field was fanned out 4-5 wide. They would get through Turn 1 cleanly, but contact as they took the green had dislodged Nicky Hays’ front wing and we went full course yellow  so they could pick up his main plane from the front straight.

On the restart to complete Lap 2, Jones would lose the lead over at the entry to Turn 7 as Myles Rowe dove inside and took the top spot.  Alex Quinn would also get by Jones in the next couple corners. As they took the green, Jackson Lee came down pit lane, also with front wing damage from the initial start, and he would lose a lap making repairs.

Two laps later, Quinn would brake late inside of Rowe entering Turn 1 and with both of them sliding a little wide, Jones as able to do the over/under on Rowe and get back to the lead on the outside of Turn 2, completing the pass at the entry to Turn 3.

A lap after this – Lap 6 – Myles Rowe and Michael d’Orlando (the championship leaders) make contact with d’Orlando winding up in the gravel trap outside of Turn 4.  There was also contact at Turn 6 as Simon Sikes got into a car (not sure who at this time).

This got us another full course yellow as d’Orlando would come back to the pits on the wrecker, while Rowe was able to get restarted, but lost a lap.

The restart occurred at the end of Lap 9 and start of Lap 10, with Jones leading Quinn, Frazer, Nepveu and Kohlbecker. Things got hairy with a four-wide restart going into Turn 1, with Quinn emerging back ahead at the end of the chaotic restart, and another full-course caution occurring shortly thereafter when Bijoy Gorg stopped on track on Hulman Blvd. He had been running seventh.

The final restart came at the end of Lap 12, with Quinn getting a great jump. Frazer got a great draft off Jones’ rear wing and went around the outside of him for second into Turn 1.

When Jones tried the rebuttal on the final lap, the two cars collided but kept moving, with Frazer able to keep the position. The two stayed in position but behind Quinn.

“I kinda got hurt by all the cautions and they were able to draft up and then it was who could brake deeper,” Jones explained.

This result provisionally moves Jones to the points lead, now up by 7 on Frazer (102-95) heading to the second and third races of the weekend on Saturday. Rowe falls to third on 90 with d’Orlando fourth on 87. There’s a further 11 points back to Denmark in fifth, one point ahead of Simon Sikes in sixth and two ahead of Christian Weir in seventh.

“I have never thought about the championship while on the track, just trying to get the best result. Today, a win was the best result, but I didn’t do my part,” Jones said.

USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Race #1 Unofficial Results

P No Name Team Laps Diff
1 17 Alex Quinn Velocity Racing Development 15 LAP 15
2 92 Billy Frazer Exclusive Autosport 15 2.1657
3 3 Jagger Jones Cape Motorsports 15 2.4392
4 32 Christian Weir Turn 3 Motorsport 15 3.6323
5 10 Thomas Nepveu DEForce Racing 15 3.7886
6 33 Spike Kohlbecker Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport 15 4.3180
7 9 Jorge Garciarce Jay Howard Driver Development 15 5.4113
8 6 Frankie Mossman Jay Howard Driver Development 15 5.9011
9 19 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport 15 6.5776
10 63 Trey Burke Joe Dooling Autosports 15 6.6259
11 30 Viktor Andersson Velocity Racing Development 15 7.2075
12 8 Danny Dyszelski Jay Howard Driver Development 15 7.3296
13 5 Nicky Hays Cape Motorsports 15 7.6312
14 90 Jacob Douglas Exclusive Autosport 15 40.0348
15 23 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 15 40.4608
16 2 Jackson Lee Cape Motorsports 14 1 LAPS
17 22 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing 14 1 LAPS
18 11 Dylan Christie DEForce Racing 14 1 LAPS
19 13 Chase Gardner DEForce Racing 11 4 LAPS
20 12 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing 9 Off Course
21 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 5 Off Course
22 91 Joey Brienza Exclusive Autosport DNS
23 7 Yeoroo Lee Jay Howard Driver Development DNS