If you only look at the box score, it looks like ArmsUp Motorsports Victor Franzoni had no problems cruising to his first win of the season and third career USF2000 victory.
But, it was anything but easy for the 20 year-old, who had to defend against multiple pass for lead attempts from Anthony Martin.
After taking pole for the first USF2000 race of the weekend, and the single point that goes with it, Martin lead his Cape Motorsports with /WTR teammate Parker Thompson 218-217.
After the checkered flag fell on the 22 lap race, it was Thompson, the only Canadian in the field, who held a fifteen point lead over Australian Martin.
The first race of the weekend in Toronto saw the 19 Mazda MZR 2.0L powered car of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda series take to the 11-turn, 1.786-mile Exhibition Place temporary street course under sunny skies at 11:30am.
Starting in second, Franzoni used a great start to out brake pole-sitter Martin into Turn 1 to snag his first lead of the 2016 season.
On Lap 7, National Class driver Brenden Puderbach tagged the wall at the exit of Turn 1 and the yellow flag came out 10 minutes into the 30 minute race.
The No. 15 came to rest in the middle of the track and as the Holmatro Safety Team attended to his stricken car, the No. 22 of Garth Rickards had to take evasive action when he entered the caution area with too much speed. Rickards later was penalized and had to serve a drive-thru.
The race restarted on Lap 9, and while Matin pressured Franzoni into Turn 3, Thompson was able to get underneath Lloyd to retake the final spot on the podium.
Martin continued to hound Franzoni, while Thompson made head-way and put serious pressure on Martin.
With the top-three all running together, second place Martin made a mistake under pressure from his pressure his teammate Thompson and nosed into the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 8. The yellow flag flew as the Holmatro Safety Team attend to the No. 8 Cape Motorsports with /WTR machine.
The race went back to green on Lap 17 and Lloyd was able to get through Turn 1 and Turn 2 with a better run than Thompson, and was able to get by the 18 year-old points leader in Turn 3.
The driver of the race award goes to Robert Megennis. After a mechanical issue kept current Rookie Of The Year leader from turning any competitive laps in qualifying, the Team Pelfrey was able to get the problem fixed. However, the 16 year-old started the race in the 18th spot and was able to get by 13 of his fellow drivers to finish an impressive fifth. It was the third top five of the season for the New York, New York native.
The No. 20 of Clint McMahan and the No. 77 of Sam Chastain did not start the race.
After Puderbach’s contact, Eric Filgueiras took home National Class honors by finishing 14th overall.
The top five in the USF2000 championship after today’s race are:
1 -> Parker Thompson – 239
2 -> Anthony Martin – 224
3 -> Victor Franzoni – 206
4- > Jordan Lloyd – 184
5 -> Luke Gabin – 168
Results for the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda
|1||Victor Franzoni||22 laps|
|16||Anthony Martin||-9 laps|
|17||Nikita Lastochkin||-9 laps|
|18||Brenden Puderbach||-15 laps|
The second USF2000 race is the opening race on Sunday and rolls off at 8:25am.