By Steve Wittich
Pabst Racing sophomore Eduardo Barrichello led the first official race weekend Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires session of the 2020 season that was dominated by veteran drivers.
The second-generation driver was joined in the top five by 2019 USF2000 race-winner Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports) and Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport).
Brooks and DEForce Racing rookie Kiko Porto were the only drivers with no St. Petersburg track experience to end the practice in the top ten.
The first track activity of a condensed and surreal race weekend was a 30-minute Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. The 21 2.0L Elite Engine powered cars served as an 8 am alarm for the downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. condo dwellers.
Drivers quickly started turning laps, until the red flag came out 10-minutes gone for an incident involving Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Wyatt Brichacek in Turn 5. The Colorado-based driver had just turned his quickest lap of the session.
He was able to get back out on track and turned a total of 14 laps during the session.
At that point in the session, most drivers had been able to complete 4 to 6 laps of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. Rasmussen held the quickest lap at 75.143 seconds. The rest of the top five were Round-Garrido, Barrichello, Porto, and Siegel.
The green flag came back out with 15-minutes remaining.
Drivers were only able to complete a couple of laps before the track went back to red. Sophomore Yuven Sundaramoorthy just tapped the wall in Turn 12. He was able to keep going, bringing the No. 21 Pabst Racing USF-17 to pit road.
The car suffered no damage, and Sundaramoorthy was able to get back out on the track, turning the seventh quickest lap on his final lap of the session.
The green flag quickly came back out with just over 10 minutes remaining, and the track was immediately busy with veteran drivers getting a handle on the set-up of the cars and newcomers still trying to learn the track.
The first driver to improve on their quickest lap was Barrichello, but it didn’t take long for the entire timesheet to show a lot of green with drivers turning their fastest laps. The quick laps included Rasmussen setting the first sub-75 second lap.
Rassmussen still had the quickest lap with five minutes remaining, and seven drivers were able to break the 75-second barrier.
With just over three minutes remaining in the session, Barrichello was the first driver to break in the 73-second lap bracket.
The red flag came out for the final time with just under two minutes remaining, bringing the session to a close.
USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented By Andersen RacePark/Cooper Tires Practice Results.
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||1:13.515||–.—-||17|
|2||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.714||0.1987||16|
|3||4||Michael d Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:13.772||0.2564||16|
|4||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||1:13.970||0.4546||16|
|5||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:14.168||0.6532||11|
|6||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||1:14.197||0.6820||16|
|7||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:14.342||0.8266||14|
|8||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:14.622||1.1066||17|
|9||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:14.836||1.3204||14|
|10||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:14.881||1.3656||15|
|11||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||1:14.882||1.3665||14|
|12||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||1:15.055||1.5394||15|
|13||20||Cameron Shields||Legacy Autosport||1:15.061||1.5459||12|
|14||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:15.126||1.6105||15|
|15||38||Jordan Missig||Newman Wachs Racing||1:15.148||1.6326||15|
|16||91||Manuel Cabrera||Exclusive Autosport||1:15.290||1.7745||14|
|17||10||Mathias Ramirez||DEForce Racing||1:15.392||1.8768||15|
|18||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||1:15.622||2.1066||14|
|19||27||Ayrton Ori||Legacy Autosport||1:17.116||3.6004||14|
|20||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:17.193||3.6780||14|
|21||41||Max Kaeser||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:17.689||4.1735||14|