After a 2015 rookie season in cars and USF2000 that saw Canadian Parker Thompson flirt with the podium on seven different occasions with fourth and fifth place finishes, the 18 year-old’s first step on the podium included a trip to the top step.
“Oh man, I can’t tell you how good it felt to get that first win, especially for the Cape Motorsports boys after a rough St. Petersburg,” beamed Thompson. “We really pulled back and came strong here in Barber with one goal in mind, to take back the championship lead.”
The Mazda MZR 2.0L engines for the Friday’s first of two weekend Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda races fired at 4:55 pm, and the green flag flew at 5pm after two pace laps.
Lucas Kohl had contact before the drop of the green flag and fell to back of the field and was forced to pit for repairs. The Roberto Moreno coached Brazilian was able to continue but finished two laps down in 21st.
At the end of the first lap, the top ten were: Thompson, Victor Franzoni, Anthony Martin, Jordan Lloyd, Luke Gabin, Ayla Agren, Nikita Lastochkin, Jordan Cane, Garth Rickards and James Munro.
The start of the race was fairly clean with the only incident occurring when Yufeng Luo hip-checked Dakota Dickerson off track at the exit of T5.
Franzoni, who scored his 6th podium at Barber Motorsports Park was able to move by Lloyd (T1) and Martin (T5) to move up to second, and was able to finish the race in that position.
The ArmsUp Motorsports deal for the 20 year-old came together quite late, but he has quickly gelled with quickly with engineer John Walko. The Sao Paulo, Brazil has also had much success at Barber in the past. Today marked his sixth podium in nine starts.
Gabin was able to use an inside move to get by current points leader Lloyd in T5 on the 2nd lap.
Michai Stephens who moved up six spots to 15th from his 21st starting spot was the biggest mover in the first five laps.
The running order after five laps were: Thompson, Franzoni, Martin, Gabin, Lloyd, Cane, Lastochkin, Agren, Rickards and Munro.
Thompson settled in and held a comfortable one second lead over Franzoni, but Munro, Robert Megennis, Autsin McCusker, TJ Fisher, and Cameron Das were having a furious battle for the final spot in the top 10.
Soon after that furious battle, Das was forced to pit for for damage to the front end of the No. 92 JAY Motorsports machine.
Ten laps into the race, Thompson was able to increase his lead over Franzoni to 2.1 seconds. The No. 9 of Franzoni was another 4.1 seconds ahead of sophomore Martin. The rest of the top 10 were: Gabin, Lloyd, Cane, Lastochkin, Agren, Rickards and Munro.
On the 10th lap, Megennis made a pass attempt on Munro, and Megennis was forced off track and lost a position to MCusker.
After a five lap battle, McCusker was able to get Munro for the final spot in the top 10 on Lap 15.
The final three laps featured a great battle between the No. 8 of Martin and the No. 91 of Gabin for the final spot on the podium.
The full results of the race were:
POSITION DRIVER GAP BEHIND LEADER
1 Parker Thompson 0.0000
2 Victor Franzoni 4.2783
3 Anthony Martin 9.5266
4 Luke Gabin 9.9822
5 Jordan Lloyd 17.2102
6 Jordan Cane 18.0242
7 Nikita Lastochkin 20.4471
8 Ayla Agren 26.7660
9 Garth Rickards 29.4370
10 Austin McCusker 33.7752
11 James Munro 35.9825
12 Robert Megennis 36.3573
13 TJ Fischer 37.7017
14 Yufeng Luo 40.8967
15 Tazio Ottis 53.1082
16 Max Hanratty 53.5390
17 Dakota Dickerson 60.8078
18 Sam Chastain 67.1897
19 Michai Stephens 81.8660
20 Cameron Das 2L
21 Lucas Kohl 2L
22 Eric Filgueiras 6L
23 Clint McMahan 11L
The second and final Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda race of the weekend occurs tomorrow (Saturday) at 5:35pm.
Don’t miss any of the action
- live timing – Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, & USF2000
- on twitter –Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, Cooper Tire, Mazda Racing and TSO Ladder
- via the Road To Indy TV app – Android or Apple iOS
- on all social media channels via the #TeamCooperTire and #MRTI hashtags
You can find our Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda preview and Thursday recap here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/2016/04/22/barber-motorsports-park-cooper-tires-usf2000-powered-by-mazda-preview-and-todays-recap/
You can find qualifying results here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/2016/04/22/barber-motorsports-park-usf2000-qualifying-update/