Canadian pilot scores two USF2000 podiums on IMS road course to extend championship lead

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 16, 2016) – They call it ‘The World’s Greatest Race Course’ and, on Saturday (May 14), the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the location for a masterful performance by Canadian Parker Thompson, as he scored his third win of the year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.  The 18-year-old took full control of the second race of the weekend doubleheader, which was held on the facility’s 2.439-mile 14-turn road course, and bested his teammate Anthony Martin by 0.514 seconds to extend his lead in the championship standings.  The Red Deer, Alberta high school senior kicked off a successful weekend in his quest for the series title by finishing second in the first race of the event on Friday afternoon.

Red Deer, Alberta's Parker Thompson won his third Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda race of the year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to extend his points lead. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Red Deer, Alberta’s Parker Thompson won his third Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda race of the year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to extend his points lead. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Coming off a stellar performance at Barber Motorsports Park in mid-April, where Parker swept the weekend to record the first two USF2000 wins of his young career, Thompson was greeted to warm temperatures and sunny skies when he hit the track for two test sessions on Wednesday.  He led the first session of the day and finished up second in the final run.  The unique schedule for the IndyCar Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis would see Parker running official practice sessions on Thursday, Timed Qualifying and Race 1 on Friday, and Race 2 on Saturday.  Practice and qualifying went well and Thompson would qualify second, putting him on the outside of row one for the start of the first 30-minute race.  His consistency in qualifying paid off as he gained the pole position for Race 2 thanks to having the fastest second-qualifying lap in the field.

Friday’s race saw Parker drop to third at the green flag, but after an opening lap caution, he took full advantage of the restart to move back to second.  He quickly tucked in behind Martin’s rear wing as the Cape duo stretched away to a commanding advantage at the checkered flag, as the remainder of the race went to the checker free of caution periods.  Thompson was just a half-second behind the race winner and was a full 2.5 seconds ahead of third place.  This was Parker’s third straight podium finish and extended his point lead even further.

Saturday dawned extremely cool with temperatures in the mid-40s, conditions that would certainly challenge the talented Canadian.  Thompson’s Cape Motorsports squad made the right adjustments to his #2 Weyburn Energy / Uber / #AlbertaStrong Van Diemen so that it would handle the extremely low track temperature, and he would take the lead from the green flag after starting from the pole position.  Parker paced the field through the opening lap, but contact between three cars in Turn 7 brought out a quick yellow flag.  Just as he did at Barber, Thompson handled the restart expertly and was again able to maintain the lead, holding the top spot for the remainder of the race add another USF2000 victory to his resume.

For the Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Thompson had much of his heart back in Alberta as he was also focused on his efforts to raise awareness of the recovery program surrounding the devastating fires that have destroyed Fort McMurray, along with other upper Albertan communities. Parker ran a logo for the #AlbertaStrong hashtag on the side of the #2 Cape Motorsports entry, and all week long, he was campaigning for donations towards the cause.

“It was another extremely successful weekend for myself and the entire Cape Motorsports organization,” commented Thompson, who now leads the series standings by 28 points. “It feels great to put the team where they belong, on the top step of the podium. At the same time, grabbing my first win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I won’t soon forget. It was extra special putting the #2 #AlbertaStrong car in victory lane in support of the wildfires that have taken Fort McMurray, Alberta. I can’t thank Weyburn Energy, Uber and my remaining partners enough for putting me in this position. There’s still a long way to go in the championship, but we will be looking to maintain this form headed into the midway point of the season.”

The talented Canadian will return to Indianapolis later this month positioned as the championship point leader of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda for the series’ only oval race of the year, taking to the banked 5/8-mile Lucas Oil Raceway for the Carb Night Classic on Friday, May 27.  Thompson finished sixth in his rookie run on the challenging speedway last year, and will return focused on a win in the Freedom 75.

Parker is thankful for the opportunities provided to him by his valued partners, including Weyburn Energy, Uber, Sylvan Lake RV, Bell Helmets, OMP Racing, Lapizta Watches, Openhwy, Mazda and Cooper Tires.

The on-track sessions from the Carb Night Classic and the Freedom 75 at Lucas Oil Raceway will be broadcast live on roadtoindy.tvand can be streamed through the Mazda Road to Indy app, which is available on iTunes and Google Play for Android devices.  Parker Thompson fans can also find these shows available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku TV on the new Road to Indy channel.