For the third straight year, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Series are officially starting their season on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course. 

The 2.1 mile, Homestead-Miami Speedway 14-turn road course has hosted a number of different road racing series including ACCUS Florida Winter Series, Formula Atlantics Championship, F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, FIA GT, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, SCCA US Road Racing Championship, Trans-Am, and US F2000 Winterfest. The 14-turn circuit features nine left-hand turns and six right-hand turns.

Despite not having any track-time until 12:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, the group of USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 drivers were kept busy during the preceding 24 hours. 

On Friday afternoon the drivers took part in media training from NBC Sports Announcer Kevin Lee and also from Road To Indy TV. 

The first order of business on Saturday morning after going on a track walk was their first official weigh-in of the season. 

The 30 or so drivers were then walked through what is expected of them on track by Road To Indy Director of Competition Tony Cotman and Indy Pro 2000 Race Director Johnny Unser. 

Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires 

The dozen Indy Pro 2000 drivers began their on-track portion of the day in the heat of the day at 1:45 pm.

Veteran Road To Indy competitor Nikia Lastochkin, who made the switch to Exclusive Autosport this year was the quickest driver in his No. 90 2.0L powered Tatuus PM-18. The Russian’s fastest lap was a scant three-hundredths quicker than the pilot of the Exclusive Autosport No. 90 last year, Parker Thompson.

The Canadian is testing with Abel Motorsports this weekend (emphasis on only testing at this point), and this is the first time that the 21-year-old (his birthday is today) has been in an open wheel car since testing a Team Pelfrey Indy Lights machine at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in September.

The entire session was run under green flag conditions, and the top 10 in the early session were separated a second.

Much like the second USF2000 session, the track was relatively quiet early on, but once the air started to cool just a little, new sets of Cooper Tire slicks were bolted on for qualifying simulations.

And if those final new tire runs are any indication, the Indy Pro 2000 season will be tightly contested with the top six drivers ending up only two-tenths behind Kirkwood.

Newly signed Kyle Kirkwood and his Soul Red No. 28 ended the session with a lap at 80.372 seconds, only three-hundredths ahead of Juncos Racing veteran Sting Ray Robb.

Abel Motorsports Kyle Kirkwood, the reigning USF2000 champion led the first day of Indy Pro 2000 testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing), Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing), Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) and Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing) all turned in laps below 81 seconds.

Indy Pro 2000 Homestead-Miami Speedway Test Day #1 Combined Timesheet

1 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1:20.372 –.—- 31
2 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:20.402 0.0301 39
3 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 1:20.550 0.1775 31
4 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 1:20.560 0.1879 41
5 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 1:20.611 0.2392 35
6 6 Moses de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:20.627 0.2546 27
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 1:20.778 0.4060 38
8 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:21.484 1.1120 49
9 5 Damiano Fioravanti RP Motorsport Racing 1:21.611 1.2390 39
10 91 Parker Locke Exclusive Autosport 1:22.281 1.9090 40
11 83 Charles Finelli Fatboy Racing! 1:25.604 5.2320 45
12 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport transponder transponder transponder

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship

Veteran Bruna Tomaselli, who is driving for Pabst Racing this season, was the first of 2.0L Tatuus USF-17 cars on track for the first official test session of the 2019 season.

Outside of a brief red-flag for a tow-in of the No. 2 Cape Motorsports car of Darren Keane due to an electrical issue with 20 minutes remaining, the session was run under green flag conditions.

The majority of the session was led by Braden Eves, who made a pair of starts in the 2018 USF2000 finale at Portland International Raceway. The lap of 85.426 seconds by the Cape Motorsports driver that was set on only his second of eighteen laps and ended up being the most rapid of the one-hour session.

The top five drivers in the early session represented five different teams (Cape Motorsports, DEForce Racing, Newman Wachs Racing, Pabst Racing, and Jay Howard Driver Development) and were separated by just over a half-second.

The 16 drivers that turned laps in the first of five test sessions completed 259 circuits of The 2.1 mile, Homestead-Miami Speedway 14-turn road course.

The second and final USF2000 session of the day began with temperatures in the mid-80s and the famous Florida sun shining brightly.

DEForce Racing rookie Manuel Sulaiman’s eighth of ten laps clocked in at 84.584 seconds, the quickest lap of the session and the first day of testing.

Manuel Sulaiman, a veteran of two seasons of British F4 competition, led the first official test of the 2019 USF2000 season with DEForce Racing (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Once again, the session had a lone red flag with 20 minutes remaining. This red was for a run-away orange cone that found it’s way onto the racing line.

With each team receiving four sets of fresh Cooper Tires for the five sessions, the warmest session of the first day saw somewhat limited running with 125 laps completed.

In total, 18 cars took to the track on the first day of testing and turned a total of 435 laps.

The top seven drivers were all within one second of each other, and 16 of the 18 entries were within 120 seconds.

USF2000 Homestead-Miami Speedway Test Day #1 Combined Timesheet

1 12 Manual Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:24.584 –.—- 24
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:24.657 0.0733 32
3 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:24.897 0.3140 22
4 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:25.011 0.4279 11
5 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:25.339 0.7558 19
6 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development 1:25.381 0.7978 12
7 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:25.677 1.0936 28
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:25.719 1.1356 28
9 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 1:25.804 1.2203 33
10 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:25.836 1.2521 22
11 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:25.877 1.3231 28
12 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:26.186 1.6025 34
13 69 Nate Aranda Team E – Jay Racing 1:26.245 1.6618 39
14 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing 1:26.266 1.6822 16
15 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:26.617 2.0333 33
16 36 Nolan Siegal Newman Wachs Racing 1:26.619 2.0358 39
17 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:26.772 2.1883 5
18 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport 1:27.331 2.7477 10

Both series are back on track for a trio of session tomorrow.

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