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.
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
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|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.
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
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|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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