Oliver Askew, who was feeling under the weather today, didn’t suffer any ill effects of a carnage filled first lap and pressure from closest rival, Team Pelfrey’s rookie stand-out Kaylen Frederick, as he cruised to a third straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda victory and an ever increasing points lead.
As the front row of Askew and Fredrick brought the field slowly to the green flag, the field got bunched up behind them, but made it through the first two turns cleanly before three separate incidents forced race control to throw the yellow flag. Lucas Kohl, Kris Wright, Bayley Milker, Andre Castro, and Devin Wojcik were all involved in the Turn 3 incident.
Meanwhile, Dakota Dickerson, Robert Megennis and Calvin Ming got tangled up when they attempted to take it three wide into Turn 5. Dickerson and Megennis got the worst of the incident with the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing entry of Dickerson falling to the back of the lead lap and 18th and Meginnis falling down three spots from his staring position to eighth.
The final incident which happened at the downhill Turn 8 and Turn 9 complex, under yellow, was the scariest. After contact in Turn 5, the No. 22 Pabst Racing machine of Calvin Ming ran into the back of and then climbed over the side pod and cockpit area of the No. 2 Cape Motorsports car of Ricky Donison.
Wojcick, Donison, Castro and Ming were all forced to retire on the spot, while Kohl, Wright, Mikler and Dickerson were able to continue.
TSO had the opportunity to catch-up with the 19-year old Donison after the race, and he was happy the Tatuus chassis did it’s job and kept him safe. Ming’s car left marks in two spots where it climbed over the side-pod, but did not make contact with his helmet. The Bangalore, India native who had moved up to eighth from his 14th place starting spot was most disappointed that he was hit under yellow.
The field remained yellow for the next five laps as the Holmatro Safety Team cleaned up the multiple incidents and the top 10 as the field circulated behind the Soul Red Mazda 3 Pace Car were: Askew, Frederick, Thompson, Rinus Van Kalmthout, Kory Enders, Toby Sowery, Moisés de la Vara, Ayla Agren, and Luke Gabin.
The field went back to green on Lap 6 with just under 15 minutes left in the half-hour race. Askew was able to pull a two-car gap over Frederick, but the 14 year-old Team Pelfrey driver was all over the back wing of the Soul Red Cape Motorsports No. 3 off Askew going into Turn 5.
Further back in the field, de la Vera and Sowery went side-by-side through Turn 5 and Turn 6. Sowery, a British F3 veteran, was able to hold onto sixth, eventually passing Enders on Lap 13 to score a top five in Benik’s first USF2000 weekend. .
Frederick was within a half-second of Askew at the start of Lap 10, but made a mistake in Turn 1, losing 1.5 seconds to his rival on that lap and falling just over two second behind his rival when the pair crossed the line to start their 11th Lap.
With a comfortable gap up front, Askew was able to pull away from Frederick turning the quickest lap on the second last lap.
Thompson had a comfortable one second lead over Van Kalmthout heading into the final two laps, but had to fight hard after a stick throttle going into Turn 1 on the final two laps made things uncomfortable for the 2016 USF2000 vice-champion.
Megennis who restarted the race in eighth after his first lap incident was able to recover to finish sixth.
The San Diego, Calif. born Dickerson who admitted he was being aggressive on the first lap, had the best recovery drive of the day. After falling down the order to 18th after his first lap incident, the 20 year-old was able to recover to finish tenth. His final lap included a back and forth battle that had him trade the 10th spot with Benik’s Darren Keane on three different occasions.
Other drivers of note were:
Third generation racer Flinn Lazier, who started 22nd and was able to drive through the first lap carnage and make two more passes in the final-half of the race to end his Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire debut on a high note with an eleventh place finish. (more on Flinn and his dad Buddy in a later notebook)
Chandler Horton, who started 23rd and finished 14th, is finding pace with each session and told TSO that he is really looking forward to his home race during the road-course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, which is the next time that the USF2000 drivers are on track.
Complete USF2000 race #2 results
|RANK||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||GAP|
|1||3||Oliver Askew||Cape Motorsports||1:24.787||—|
|2||81||Kaylen Frederick||Team Pelfrey||1:24.960||3.8037|
|3||90||Parker Thompson||Exclusive Autosport||1:25.345||6.6034|
|4||21||Rinus VeeKay||Pabst Racing||1:25.341||6.9708|
|5||31||Toby Sowery||Benik Kart||1:25.424||9.6439|
|6||80||Robert Megennis||Team Pelfrey||1:25.056||9.8994|
|7||11||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||1:25.509||11.2009|
|8||82||Ayla Agren||Team Pelfrey||1:25.850||16.8560|
|9||12||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing||1:26.353||17.1617|
|10||36||Dakota Dickerson||Newman Wachs Racing||1:25.986||17.4386|
|11||32||Darren Keane||Benik Kart||1:27.188||18.9347|
|12||38||Flinn Lazier||Newman Wachs Racing||1:26.207||20.0408|
|13||91||Luke Gabin||Exclusive Autosport||1:26.580||24.2791|
|14||20||Chandler Horton||RJB Motorsports||1:26.604||24.7459|
|15||27||Colin Kaminsky||Kaminsky Racing||1:25.843||26.3729|
|16||23||Lucas Kohl||Pabst Racing||1:26.158||27.3460|
|17||92||Dev Gore||Exclusive Autosport||1:30.141||36.8307|
|18||97||Bruna Tomaselli||ArmsUp Motorsports||1:30.140||36.9765|
|19||34||Kris Wright||John Cummiskey Racing||1:35.490||37.6989|
|20||33||Bayley Mickler||John Cummiskey Racing||1:26.037||-3 Laps|
|21||22||Calvin Ming||Pabst Racing||2:50.744||-17 laps|
|22||37||Andre Castro||Newman Wachs Racing||2:40.766||-17 laps|
|23||2||Ricky Donison||Cape Motorsports||2:38.099||-17 laps|
|24||7||Devin Wojcik||ArmsUp Motorsports||2:30.024||-17 laps|