For the fifth straight time this year, and for the eighth time in the last 12 USF2000 races, it was the dynamic Dane Christian Rasmussen that visited victory lane in the final race of the event.
Rasmussen has scored all but one point possible in the first five races of the season.
Rasmussen was joined on the podium by Cape Motorsports sophomore Michael d’Orlando. For the third time during the USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders event.
On the pace lap, the Excel Labels No. 23 of Matthew Round-Garrido came to a stop on the outside of Turn 1 with significant damage to the left front suspension. At the same time, the Metalloid sponsored No. 20 of Cameron Shields ground to a halt at the exit of The Keyhole. Both cars required wreckers to clear, and the field was shown the red flag while the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got things cleaned up. Garrido was set to start fifth, and Shields was to start 12th.
The Elite Engines prepared engines were restarted, and the 20-lap race got underway with the front row of Rasmussen and Gold leading the way.
Rasmussen got a slight jump, with Gold, d’Orlando, and Brooks going three-wide into Turn 1. d’Orlando was able to get a better launch off the left-hand Turn 1 and beat his teammate Gold to The Keyhole.
The running order at the end of the first lap was: Rasmussen, d’Orlando, Gold, Brooks, Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing), Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Josh Green (Cape Motorsports), Ayrton Ori (Legacy Autosport), Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), Christian Bogle (Jay Howard Driver Development), Max Kaeser (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Josh Pierson (Exclusive Autosport), Prescott Campbell (Exclusive Autosport), Round-Garrido and Shields.
On the second lap, Siegel, who started fourth, went wide at Turn 9, dropping down the running order to 17th.
On Lap 6, the lead for Rasmussen was 0.9 seconds over d’Orlando. Behind the front group, Miller, in fifth, was facing massive pressure from fellow second-generation racer Barrichello.
Things settled in for the next few laps, and at the halfway point of the 20 lap race was 1.3 seconds over d’Orlando, who was closely followed by Gold and Brooks, who were all covered by 3.7 seconds. Miller, in the Indy Dental Group/LLC/Lumist, sponsored No. 40, was in fifth.
Gold was starting to put some pressure on his teammate, which allowed Rasmussen to pull out to an almost three-second gap when he crossed the start/finish line with five laps remaining.
Green was the quickest driver on the track with four laps left and started to put pressure on Barrichello for the sixth spot.
Rasmussen turned the quickest lap of the race with two laps left, pulling away to a 4.3-second lead. Behind the leader, Gold was pressuring d’Orlando, looking for the outside pass in Turn 4. He wasn’t quite able to get it completed and tucked back in behind his teammate.
On the final lap, Gold once again got a great run off the Keyhole. The teammates went side-by-side through Turn 4 and Turn 5 before d’Orlando shut the door, solidifying the second step of the podium.
Unofficial race results
|1||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||20 laps|
|2||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||6.0752|
|3||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||6.4967|
|4||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||7.1021|
|5||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||11.1801|
|6||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||11.7782|
|7||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||12.0917|
|8||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||15.3848|
|9||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||21.8806|
|10||18||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||24.3285|
|11||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||24.8121|
|12||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||25.1761|
|13||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||27.2051|
|14||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||29.1497|
|15||27||Ayrton Ori||Legacy Autosport||38.5021|
|16||41||Max Kaeser||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||38.8384|
|17||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||39.3888|
|18||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||-2 LAPS|
|19||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||-20 LAPS|
|20||20||Cameron Shields||Legacy Autosport||-20 LAPS|