By Steve Wittich
The first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying session, on a damp Road America circuit, ended with prime title contender Christian Rasmussen blowing away the field.
The pole is the Danish driver’s second career Road To Indy pole.
The Jay Howard Driver Development sophomore set a quick time of 145.709 seconds, an astonishing 1.3 seconds ahead of Exclusive Autosport rookie Christian Brooks, who will start his first USF2000 race on the outside of the front row.
Cape Motorsports rookie and Team USA Scholarship winner Josh Green was only four-hundredths of a second behind Brooks.
Rounding out the top five, and making it four teams represented among the quickest five are the Pabst Racing sophomore duo of Matthew Round-Garrido and Eduardo Barrichello.
The lone qualifying session for the USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders rolled off promptly at 8 am. The 20 Elite Engine prepared 2.0L power plants serving as a wake-up call for the drenched campers at Road America.
Heavy overnight rain and storms, became drizzle as the lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires began their 20-minute qualifying session.
Cooper Tire rain tires were the call for all teams and drivers.
— USF2000 Series (@USF2000) July 10, 2020
Rasmussen, who led the lone practice session in the wet on Thursday afternoon, was the early leader with a lap time of 148.633 seconds, almost three seconds ahead of Round-Garrido.
Times continued to drop as the driers got their Cooper rain tires up to optimal operating temperature.
The first half of the session was run under green flag conditions, and it was still Rasmussen who had the quickest lap time. He was followed in the top ten by Round-Garrido, Barrichello, Gold, Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Prescott Campbell (Exclusive Autosport), Josh Green (Cape Motorsports), Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports) and Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development).
The first red flag of qualifying was shown from the flag stand with just over eight minutes remaining. The cause of the red was JHDD, CSU|One Cure / Lucas Oil No. 5 of Wyatt Brichacek, who went off track in Turn 10.
Rasmussen’s quickest lap at this point was 146.325 seconds, over two seconds ahead of Round-Garrido in second. Green, Barrichello, and Brooks made up the rest of the top five.
Race control added some time to the clock, and the green flag came back out with just over seven minutes remaining. The drivers quickly got back on the track to try to improve their spot on the grid.
Round-Garrido was the first across the line to improve on his time, with just over three minutes remaining in the session. He wasn’t alone, as the timing screen lit up green with drivers setting their best lap times.
On his sixth and final lap of the session, Rasmussen was the first and only driver to break into the 145 second lap time bracket.
The timing screen continued to jump around until all drivers had crossed the timing line, but nobody could get within a second Rasmussen.
Spots two through six on the grid were covered by one second, and it was an almost 14-second spread covering spots one through 20.
The first of two USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders races is set to get the green flag at 11:15 am (CDT) or 12:15 pm (EDT)
USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders Qualifying Results (unofficial)
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|1||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:25.709||–.—-|
|2||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||2:27.009||1.3000|
|3||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||2:27.049||1.3400|
|4||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||2:27.255||1.5461|
|5||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||2:27.323||1.6139|
|6||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||2:27.462||1.7532|
|7||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||2:27.577||1.8679|
|8||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||2:27.970||2.2616|
|9||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||2:28.432||2.7233|
|10||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||2:28.739||3.0305|
|11||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:28.825||3.1162|
|12||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||2:29.095||3.3858|
|13||10||Nico Christodoulou||DEForce Racing||2:30.002||4.2932|
|14||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:30.249||4.5402|
|15||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||2:30.832||5.1232|
|16||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:31.119||5.4102|
|17||20||Cameron Shields||Legacy Autosport||2:31.523||5.8138|
|18||27||Ayrton Ori||Legacy Autosport||2:33.254||7.5452|
|19||18||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:34.440||8.7308|
|20||41||Max Kaeser||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||2:39.634||13.9248|