A rookie pole for a rookie team.
Christian Rasmussen, a 20-year-old from Copenhagen, Denmark scored his first and Jay Howard Driver Development’s first USF2000 pole in a red flag shortened session.
“It feels amazing,” said Rasmussen to TSO Ladder. “Being on the streets of Toronto feels amazing. I’m glad I could finally do it; it’s been a long way here. We’ve been struggling a little the first part of the season, so it’s good to back where I feel I belong. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
For the fourth time this season, Cape Motorsports veteran Darren Keane will start a race from the front row. The driver who led the morning session turned a quick lap of 73.758 seconds.
Starting behind Rasmussen is the Soul Red No. 22 of Hunter McElrea. The American born Kiwi wasn’t sure he would make the qualifying session after a meeting with the Turn 8 tire barriers in the morning practice.
Keane’s rookie teammate, 14-year-old Reece Gold will start a career-best fourth.
Current points leader Braden Eves will have some work to do tomorrow. The 20-year-old start the race from the outside of the third row.
Before we get into our qualifying report, here are few clarifications on the USF2000 incidents from this morning.
The first red flag occurred when Yuven Sundaramoorthy made heavy contact in Turn 10/11. The S-team Motorsports No. 21 was subsequently clobbered by Jak Crawford’s No.52, which also sustained substantial damage.
The second red flag came out when Hunter McElrea was swallowed by the tire barriers at the exit of the right-hand Turn 8. His teammate Colin Kaminsky was following closely behind him and was unable to avoid t-boning the Mazda/Doric NZ/Miles Advisory Partners No. 22. Reece Gold, who was right behind Kaminsky, made the smart choice of nosing it into the tire barriers instead of tagging the two stranded Pabst Racing cars.
All three Pabst Racing cars made it out for qualifying and ended up third (McElrea), fifth (Kaminsky) and 14th (Sundaramoorthy). Crawford made a last minute appearance, completing one lap. He’ll start the race in the 17th spot.
I’ll have more on the impressive effort by the Pabst Racing crew to fix their three damaged cars between practice and qualifying later tonight.
The USF2000 session began on time under hazy skies.
Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Rasmussen was the early leader in a 20-minute session that was interrupted by a 13+ minute red flag.
The cause of the red flag was hard contact with the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 8 by Zach Holden in the No. 14 Legacy Autosport USF-17. It appeared the Greenfield, Ind native got too deep into the bumpy right-hander. The rear of the car made contact with the tire barriers tearing of the rear wing and damaging at a minimum the left rear suspension.
It took a while to get the track crew a while to get the tire barrier appropriately situated, and when the green flag came out, only 90 seconds were remaining in the session. None of the 17 drivers were able to get enough heat in their Cooper Tires to improve their lap times.
It the first career USF2000 pole for Rasmussen and Jay Howard Driver Development.
The season-opening races of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla. was the first time the Dane had driven on a street course, and it’s a discipline he appreciates.
This is my second street race,” explained Rasmussen to TSO Ladder. “I like it. There are consequences if you go off. If you go off, you actually hit a wall. On a lot of the other tracks, you can push it a bit too far, and you can rejoin the track with no harm done. If you do that here, there is a consequence. I appreciate that.”
USF2000 Unofficial Qualifying Results For Race #1
|RANK||CAR NO||NAME||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.545||–.—-||6|
|2||2||Darren Keane||Cape Motorsports||1:13.758||0.2131||6|
|3||22||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||1:14.135||0.5903||6|
|4||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||1:14.499||0.9542||6|
|5||23||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||1:14.527||0.9814||6|
|6||8||Braden Eves||Cape Motorsports||1:14.559||1.0140||6|
|7||24||Bruna Tomaselli||Pabst Racing||1:15.051||1.5057||6|
|8||73||Cameron Shields||Newman Wachs Racing||1:15.057||1.5120||6|
|9||41||Eduardo Barrichello||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:15.143||1.5975||6|
|10||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:15.253||1.7078||6|
|11||27||Matt Round-Garrido||BN Racing||1:15.270||1.7248||5|
|12||14||Zach Holden||Legacy Autosport||1:15.524||1.9790||2|
|13||12||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing||1:15.662||2.1164||6|
|14||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:15.800||2.2551||6|
|15||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:15.817||2.2719||6|
|16||36||Nolan Siegel||Newman Wachs Racing||1:16.014||2.4686||6|
|17||52||Jak Crawford||DEForce Racing||1:22.316||8.7710||1|
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship teams and drivers will start a full day of on-track activity at 8 am on Saturday at the Honda Indy Toronto.