By Steve Wittich
Coming into today’s USF2000 race Kyle Kirkwood had led every lap in the last three races. The championship leader’s impressive streak came to an end when he led only one lap. Thankfully for him, it was the right lap.
Kirkwood told TSO that it was satisfying to win from fourth, showing that the team can race well.
It’s the Cape Motorsports rookies fourth straight win and fifth win in the first seven races. It was the 12th win at Road America for Cape Motorsports.
Kaylen Frederick grabbed his second straight middle step of the podium finish and was joined on the podium by his teammate Lucas Kohl.
The 12-lap race was chaotic with a dozen cars retiring due to contact.
Pole sitter Rasmus Lindh got the jump as the field of 26 Mazda powered Tatuus USF2000 entries took the green flag, but it was his teammate Kohl who pounced, going around the outside in Turn 1.
Further back in the field Russell McDonough and Sabre Cook ended up in the gravel trap outside of Turn 1.
Also just before Turn 5, Jose Sierra and Max Peichel ended up against the barriers on drivers left coming down the Moraine Sweep.
The full course caution came out and all four cars retired.
At the end of Lap 1 the top 10 were: Kohl, Lindh, Frederick, Kyle Kirkwood, Julian Van der Watt, Colin Kaminsky, Keith Donegan, Kory Enders, Alex Baron, and Kyle Dupell.
Darren Keane, Danial Frost, Mathias Soler-Obel and David Osbourne all came to pit road for repairs. Osbourne was forced to retire, but the other three drivers continued.
The green flag came back out at the start of Lap 4. Lindh was able to get around Kohl to go back to the lead in Turn 1, but the veteran Brazilan was able to get back by his rookie teammate in Turn 6.
At the end Lap 4, the top 10 were: Kohl, Lindh, Frederick, Kirkwood, Van der Watt, Kaminsky, Donnegan, Enders, Fraga, \and Baron.
On Lap 5, Kirkwood was able to get by Frederick on in Turn 5 to grab the final podium spot.
Just as Lap 6 started the yellow flag came out again, for an incident in Turn 12. There was contact between Darren Keane, who was attempting to pass Kyle Dupell going into Canada Corner and there were reports that the Team Pelfrey No. 81 rolled before landing back on four wheels. Both drivers climbed out on their own.
The top 10 as the field took the second yellow flag was: Kohl, Lindh, Kirkwood, Frederick, Van der WattKaminsky, Enders, Donegan, Baron, and Fraga.
Van der Watt, who was running fifth came to pit road as the green flag came back out to begin Lap 8.
When the leaders got to Turn 5, Lindh blew through Turn 5, allowing Kirkwood to move into second and Frederick to third.
As the field got to Turn 6, Enders and Ming made contact precipitating the third full course caution.
As the field took the yellow, the top 10 were: Kohl, Kirkwood, Frederick, Kaminsky, Fraga, d’Orlando, Dickerson, Donegan, Soler-Obel, and Baron.
The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to get things cleaned up in time for one more lap of action, and as the drivers were shown the green and white flags Kirkwood was right under the rear wing of Kohl.
The green and white flag came out at the same time.
Kirkwood was right on the gearbox of Kohl coming up the hill to the green and white flag and was around Kohl before they got to Turn 1. Kohl attempted an outside pass
Kohl, who had built a slight gap over his closest competitors, told TSO that he knew he was in trouble when he saw the caution come out and that it was Kirkwood behind him. Kirkwood was running more trimmed out and was able to get by Kohl before Turn 1 on the final restart.
Pabst Racing now has seven of the 12 podiums in the USF-17 era of racing at Road America.
Not only were there a lot of DNFs, there were also five post-race 30-second penalties.
- McDonough for avoidable contact.
- Soler-Obel for too many men over the wall
- Enders for avoidable contact
- Lindh for blocking
- Donnegan for jumping the restart
Kirkwood now holds a commanding 217 to 123 lead over Baron in the chase for the Mazda Motorsports Advancement Scholarship.
Provisional results of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Race #2
|19||80||Julian Van der Watt||7||Contact|
The lowest rung of the Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on the track with it’s bigger siblings in Toronto, Ontario beginning on July 12th, 2018.