Braden Eves on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 91 Exclusive Autosport USF Pro 2000 machine (Photo Courtesy of TSO Ladder – Steve Wittich)
By Steve Wittich
Braden Eves, who last sat in a USF Pro Championships car at Portland International Raceway in 2022, didn’t take long to knock a year’s worth of rust off, leading the combined time sheet of the first day of USF Pro 2000 action during the two day combine on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The Gahanna, Ohio native, a winner of five series races, turned in a quick lap of 82.5428 seconds on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Eves was piloting the No. 91 for Exclusive Autosport, a team he made 26 USF Pro 2000 starts for in 2020 and 2021.
The top six drivers – Eves, Jacob Douglas (Pabst Racing), Francesco Pizzi (TJ Speed Motorsports), Mac Clark (DEForce Racing), Christian Brooks (Turn 3 Motorsport) and Lochie Hughes (Jay Howard Driver Development) – represented six different teams, showing the competitiveness of the last step before INDY NXT.
The 17 drivers completed 769 laps (1875.591 miles) during the trio of 35-minute test sessions. Reigning USF2000 champion Simon Sikes (Pabst Racing) was the busiest driver, completing 56 laps.
Eves finished the two sessions he didn’t lead with the second-quickest lap time, making him the most consistent of the 17 competitors. Hughes and Clark led the other test sessions.
Very unofficial combined USF Pro 2000 timesheet from Saturday of the Fall Combine
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP (secs)||DIFF.||SESS.||LAPS|
|1||91||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||82.5428||——||1||52|
|2||19||Jacob Douglas||Pabst Racing||82.6260||-0.0832||1||51|
|3||26||Francesco Pizzi||TJ Speed Motorsports||82.8869||-0.3441||1||41|
|4||8||Mac Clark||DEForce Racing||82.8892||-0.3464||1||55|
|5||2||Christian Brooks||Turn 3 Motorsport||83.0016||-0.4588||1||37|
|6||5||Lochie Hughes||Jay Howard Driver Development||83.0029||-0.4601||1||44|
|7||7||Ricardo Escotto||DEForce Racing||83.1332||-0.5904||1||45|
|8||6||Frankie Mossman||Jay Howard Driver Development||83.2718||-0.729||1||33|
|9||12||Jorge Garciarce||DEForce Racing||83.4608||-0.918||1||50|
|10||44||Danny Dyszelski||Turn 3 Motorsport||83.4809||-0.9381||1||45|
|11||18||Simon Sikes||Pabst Racing||83.6011||-1.0583||2||56|
|12||27||Liam Sceats||TJ Speed Motorsports||83.7056||-1.1628||3||39|
|13||28||Adam Fitzgerald||TJ Speed Motorsports||83.8390||-1.2962||1||54|
|14||3||Tyke Durst||Turn 3 Motorsport||83.8636||-1.3208||1||45|
|15||11||Logan Adams||Jay Howard Driver Development||84.2291||-1.6863||3||37|
|16||4||Niels Koolen||Jay Howard Driver Development||84.2789||-1.7361||1||49|
|17||83||Charles Finelli||Fatboy Racing!||85.9649||-3.4221||1||36|