By Steve Wittich

If the first official test session of the USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders portends anything, it will be that the fight for the USF2000 advancement scholarship should be a good one.

With four teams in the top five, and a bakers-dozen drivers within one second of the top of the timesheet, the championship should be wide open.

Leading the way from the four-car Cape Motorsports stable, with a lap timed at 131.099 seconds, was sophomore Reece Gold in his The Ticket Clinic Sponsored No. 3 USF-17.

Gold was followed closely by Cape Motorsports teammate Michael d’Orlando, along with Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), and Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development) in the top five.

The first of three 45-minute test sessions for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship got underway at Road America at 8 am (CDT), with the lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires serving as the due sweepers for the day.

At the half-way point of the 45-minute session, Rasmussen had turned the quickest lap, timed at 131.710 seconds. The rest of the top 10 were: Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing), Gold, d’Orlando, Josh Green (Cape Motorsports), Matthew Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing), Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Miller and Prescott Campbell (Exclusive Autosport).

With 20 minutes remaining, the first and only red flag of the session came out. From timing and scoring, it appeared that the issue was with Nico Christodoulou. The newcomer had just turned his quickest lap of the session.

The red flag lasted seven minutes before the 4.014-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course was once again buzzing with the sound of the Elite Engine 2.0L power plants.

It took a couple of laps for the Cooper Tires to come back up to optimal operating temperature, but with eight minutes remaining, the lap times started to fall. Barrichello was the first driver to go quicker but was quickly eclipsed by Gold.

Over the final five minutes of the session, Sundaramoorthy and Gold both held the top spot.

The 20 entries turned a total of 244 laps. The busiest drivers were a pair of Christians, Rasmussen, and Bogle, from Jay Howard Driver Development, who completed 16 circuits.

The drivers and teams of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series will be back on track at 10:45 am (CDT)

USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders Test Session #1 Results

1 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 2:11.099 –.—- 15
2 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 2:11.178 0.0796 15
3 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 2:11.287 0.1880 14
4 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 2:11.322 0.2227 11
5 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 2:11.461 0.3622 16
6 2 Josh Green Cape Motorsports 2:11.574 0.4748 15
7 22 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing 2:11.628 0.5296 14
8 1 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport 2:11.642 0.5435 13
9 9 Nolan Siegel Jay Howard Driver Development 2:11.991 0.8919 14
10 8 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports 2:12.001 0.9022 14
11 23 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing 2:12.052 0.9527 15
12 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 2:12.123 1.0243 14
13 20 Cameron Shields Legacy Autosport 2:12.150 1.0509 11
14 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 2:12.314 1.2157 8
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 2:13.101 2.0025 16
16 27 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 2:13.122 2.0227 15
17 10 Nico Christodoulou DEForce Racing 2:13.836 2.7367 10
18 41 Max Kaeser Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 2:14.951 3.8518 14
19 16 Josh Pierson Exclusive Autosport 15:49.174 0.0000
20 18 Bijoy Garg Jay Howard Driver Development No Time