By Steve Wittich
After clinching the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda title yesterday, Kyle Kirkwood can set his sights on putting his name in the USF2000 record book.
Today, Kirkwood moved to the top of the consecutive USF2000 win list by winning his eighth race in a row.
Coming into the day, the Cape Motorsports driver was tied with a trio of big-name drivers.
- Chris Simmons who won his seven race across the 1993 and 1994 seasons.
- The newest USF2000 team owner Jay Howard who completed the feat between the 2004 and 2005 seasons
- In 2006, J.R. Hildebrand won seven races to start his championship season.
“No, not at all,” said Kirkwood when TSO Ladder asked him if was getting easier. “It does not feel easy. We keep pushing harder and harder every single race and that one was a really good race for us. But, we got really lucky, to be honest with Kaylen going off because I don’t know how easy it would have been to get around him, especially on this track. This track is so tough to get around people. You have to time it perfectly. I think we got a little bit lucky this time.”
Lucas Kohl finished second for the second straight, and it was his fourth podium of the season. It also moved the Roberto Moreno mentored driver into fourth place in the championship, only six points out of second.
Exclusive Autosport’s Igor Fraga had his third podium run of the season and moved to within a single of point of second place Rasmus Lindh, who finished fourth in the race.
Both of the Brazilian drivers told TSO Ladder that finishing second in the championship is a very important goal for him.
Pole sitter Frederick won the drag race to Turn 1, but locked up in the braking zone for Turn 2 and went for a ride through the gravel.
The top 10 at the end of the first lap were: Kirkwood, Kohl, Lindh, Fraga, Michael D’Orlando, James Raven, Dakota Dickerson, Kory Enders and Daniel Frost.
Just as the leader came across the line to start the third lap, Oscar DeLuzuriaga had contact for the second straight race. This time the No. 38 Newman Wachs Racing machine ended up in Turn 10 tire barriers.
The top 10 when they went back to green to begin Lap 6 were: Kirkwood, Kohl, Lindh, Fraga, d’Orlando, Raven, Dickerson, Enders, Calvin Ming and Jacob Abel.
As the field exited The Keyhole on the first lap back to green, Raven, who was running sixth dropped four wheels at the exit of the 180-degree corner. The Formula Ford ace was able to get back on track but dropped to down the order to 13th.
Further back in the field, Frederick, who was working his way back through the field after falling to 23rd made contact with Cook just before Turn 4. The No. 31 Team Benik machine of Cook ended up against the barriers on driver’s right. Frederick, who had his fourth incident in two races
At the halfway point of the race, the top five were Kirkwood, who had a 2.36 second lead over Kohl. Fraga was holding off Lindh for the final spot on the podium. Behind them, Dickerson and Enders were going at it for sixth and seventh.
With four laps left, Kirkwood’s lead was almost five seconds over Kohl. Behind the front two, Lindh was putting pressure on Fraga for the last spot on the podium.
Behind them, Dickerson and Enders were still fighting for fifth. Enders made a pass attempt in Turn 4 but ended up losing the sixth spot to Ming. Ming immediately began to put pressure on Dickerson.
For the second straight race, Ming made an outstanding outside pass in Turn 5 to move up to fifth place, a gain of five spots from his starting position.
As Kirkwood was getting the white flag, Keane and Enders made contact in The Carousel while battling for the seventh spot. Keane got the worst of the altercation ending up in the grass on the outside of the turn. The orange and white No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine was forced to pit road and finished 17th.
Enders fell through the field to 14th. Things got even worse for the DEForce Racing driver who was penalized 20 seconds post-race for blocking and dropped another two spots to 16th.
With the grid for the third race of the weekend being set by the fastest lap in Race #2, a few drivers further back in the running order made the gamble to pit for fresh Cooper Tires. It paid off for DEForce Racing and Raven, who will start Sunday’s race from the pole.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Mid-Ohio Grand Prix Powered by Mazda Unofficial Race #2 Results
|1||8||Kyle Kirkwood||Cape Motorsports||20 LAPS|
|2||22||Lucas Kohl||Pabst Racing||5.7167|
|3||91||Igor Fraga||Exclusive Autosport||6.5459|
|4||23||Rasmus Lindh||Pabst Racing||8.2937|
|5||21||Calvin Ming||Pabst Racing||13.4568|
|6||9||Dakota Dickerson||ArmsUp Motorsports||15.6097|
|7||27||Colin Kaminsky||DEForce Racing||16.5358|
|8||80||Julian Van der Watt||Team Pelfrey||17.0189|
|9||92||Danial Frost||Exclusive Autosport||17.4328|
|10||90||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Exclusive Autosport||17.6579|
|11||79||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||18.0403|
|12||29||Russell McDonough||BN Racing||20.1129|
|13||82||Bruna Tomaselli||Team Pelfrey||20.7531|
|14||11||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||21.4728|
|15||81||Kyle Dupell||Team Pelfrey||21.8067|
|16||37||David Osborne||Newman Wachs Racing||22.2756|
|17||36||Darren Keane||Newman Wachs Racing||– 1 LAP|
|18||7||James Raven||DEForce Racing||– 1 LAP|
|19||12||Jose Sierra||DEForce Racing||– 1 LAP|
|20||51||Michael d’Orlando||Team Benik||-2 LAPS|
|21||28||Keith Donegan||BN Racing||-2 LAPS|
|22||31||Sabre Cook||Team Benik||-15 LAPS|
|23||24||Kaylen Frederick||Pabst Racing||-15 LAPS|
|24||38||Oscar DeLuzuriaga||Newman Wachs Racing||-19 LAPS|
The final race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Mid-Ohio Grand Prix Powered by Mazda tripleheader will get the green flag at 12:10 PM tomorrow.