By Patrick Stephan and Steve Wittich
Thanks to Patrick for covering the Saturday’s USF2000 race for me while I was in the paddock making sense of the chaotic Pro Mazda race.
I (Steve) had the chance to talk to Kirkwood and Dickerson after the race, and both were extremely pleased.
Kirkwood told us that his fifth straight win and 114 point championship lead would allow him to be even more aggressive in going for wins. By our calculations, a win on Sunday and in the first race at Mid-Ohio in a few weeks would effectively clinch the Mazda Motorsports Advancement Scholarship for the American.
Yes, Dickerson would have loved to collect his first Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires win, but he was still excited to be on the podium. The San Diego, Calif. driver, enjoys the atmosphere in the Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires paddock and confirmed that he would be back for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Portland International Raceway rounds.
Here is Patrick’s report.
The USF2000 Race #1 was delayed for a little while as they retrieved the crashed Pro Mazda car of Harrison Scott which had been left down in Turn 3 while that race finished.
When we went green to start the USF2000 race third place starter, Kyle Kirkwood tucked behind pole sitter Dakota Dickerson and then popped out at the entry to Turn 1 and took the lead. Behind him, the field fanned out 5- wide but was able to funnel through the first turn.
Things wouldn’t stay that clean for long though. On the second lap Jose Sierra had moved up to about 5th, but then wound up side by side with Darren Keane through Turn 3 – and that didn’t work. They made contact and Sierra wound up in the tire barrier.
After the race, Sierra was docked ten driver points for avoidable contact.
Keane was able to continue back around to the pit area for repairs, but he lost two laps.
With the yellow out, the order is Kirkwood, Dickerson, Lindh, Frederick, Donegan, Ming, Enders, Frost, DeLuzuriaga, and McDonough is 10th.
On Lap 5 we went back to green, and Kirkwood holds the lead. Frederick and Lindh would battle with Frederick eventually getting the final podium spot for now.
Lots of action a little further back as Lucas Kohl who started 18th is now up to 9th by Lap 8.
At the head of the field, Kirkwood has a 0.8666 gap over Dickerson, with Frederick now in third and Lindh, Donegan, Ming, Frost, Kohl, Fraga, and Enders rounding out the Top 10.
Igor Fraga gets around Kohl for 8th.
On Lap 15, Kirkwood was able to stretch his lead to 1.245 over Dickerson slightly, but a couple of spots back, Frederick has Lindh right behind him as they battle for the third spot.
Fraga again grabs a spot as he gets past Danial Frost for 7th – very impressive run from the 17th starting position.
We now go yellow on Lap 18 as Kory Enders who was running 10th finds the tire barrier at Turn 8.
As this is a 20 lap race, we’ll end under yellow. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see if Lindh could make a late move back to the podium.
Again, excellent races for Fraga from 17th and Kohl from 18th to make it to 7th and ninth respectively.
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