USF2000 qualifying notes and results by Steve Wittich

Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda championship leader Oliver Askew overcame a one-hour delay to win his very first Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire pole.

“It’s fantastic,” exclaimed the Cape Motorsports rookie and MRTI $200K Scholarship Shootout winner, who’s quickest lap of 1 minute, 23.572 seconds was over three-tenths of a second ahead of Team Pelfrey rookie Kaylen Frederick, and four-tenths of a second ahead of Pabst Racing rookie Rinus Van Kalmthout.

For once the USF2000 drivers were NOT the dew sweepers at Barber Motorsports Park, as their qualifying session for the first of two Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires races followed an 8am Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice.

However, the drivers on the lowest step of the Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire ladder still had face some adversity. session was delayed to repair the ARMCO barrier in the Turn 3 area, and began exactly on hour late.

“It’s very tough, because when I get in the car the first time, I immediately get in the zone, and to sit there for an hour and overthink things is not good, explained Askew after qualifying. “I had to get myself back into the zone. But, once the engines fire all the negative thoughts go away and you push as hard as you can and I try to trick myself into thinking it’s a practice session.”

The teams who did not run fresh Cooper Tire in yesterday’s lone practice session utilized various strategies with their fresh rubber. The three Pabst Racing drivers only did one lap before coming in, while eventual pole sitter Asker did two laps before pitting for fresh rubber, Exclusive Autosport’s veteran drivers did not take to the 2.3-mile, 17-Turn Barber Motorsports Park road course until there were five minutes left in the 20 minute session.

Robert Megennis (Team Pelfrey), Dakota Dickerson (Newman Wachs Racing), Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport), Askew, and Calvin Ming (Pabst Racing) were the five quickest drivers half-way through the session and had lap times that were all within one-tenth of second of each other.

Complete qualifying results for the first Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires race:

3 Oliver Askew Cape Motorsports 1:23.572 0.000
81 Kaylen Frederick Team Pelfrey 1:23.898 0.3265
21 Rinus VeeKay Pabst Racing 1:23.990 0.4183
80 Robert Megennis Team Pelfrey 1:24.046 0.4749
36 Dakota Dickerson Newman Wachs Racing 1:24.050 0.4789
90 Parker Thompson Exclusive Autosport 1:24.073 0.5020
82 Ayla Agren Team Pelfrey 1:24.181 0.6100
22 Calvin Ming Pabst Racing 1:24.197 0.6250
11 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:24.232 0.6601
37 Andre Castro Newman Wachs Racing 1:24.308 0.7367
91 Luke Gabin Exclusive Autosport 1:24.530 0.9585
31 Toby Sowery Benik Kart 1:24.531 0.9596
33 Bayley Mickler John Cummiskey Racing 1:24.592 1.0205
2 Ricky Donison Cape Motorsports 1:24.773 1.2013
23 Lucas Kohl Pabst Racing 1:24.787 1.2152
12 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:24.915 1.3437
34 Kris Wright John Cummiskey Racing 1:24.923 1.3517
27 Colin Kaminsky Kaminsky Racing 1:25.276 1.7048
92 Dev Gore Exclusive Autosport 1:25.317 1.7455
7 Devin Wojcik ArmsUp Motorsports 1:25.356 1.7845
97 Bruna Tomaselli ArmsUp Motorsports 1:25.381 1.8094
38 Flinn Lazier Newman Wachs Racing 1:25.430 1.8588
32 Darren Keane Benik Kart 1:25.550 1.9784
20 Chandler Horton RJB Motorsports 1:25.877 2.3056