The Race #2 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship podium on the victory podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

It’s been two races and two trips to victory podium at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Pabst Racing sophomore Eduardo Barrichello. But, the two wins couldn’t have been more different.

Yesterday, the second generation driver led only two laps, while today, he led all 15-laps, facing almost no pressure from his competitors.

“Yes,” said Barrichello when asked if that was his best drive so far, adding that. “It’s really hard to be in first and get a level of concentration good enough to do qual(ification) laps. It’s really, really hard. I figured that I could pull a big enough gap and be a little more comfortable at the start. We did the fastest lap of the race, so we’re really happy.”

The 18-year-old moves into second place in the championship and enters the event’s third race with a 74 point deficit. Before the event began, the gap between the race #2 winner and championship leader was 89 points.

Barrichello’s win is the third on the IMS Road Course for Pabst Racing.

Coming home in second place, his second podium in the last three races was Jack William Miller. The second-generation race made a textbook pass on championship leader Rasmussen. The podium has brought the native Hoosier into a tie for eighth on the championship table.

It was only a matter of time before Christian Brooks found himself on a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship podium. The Exclusive Autosport rookie has finished in the top five three times before race #2.

Christian Brooks in the Hot Wheels/Chaco Flaco/Bell Helmets sponsored No. 44 from Exclusive Autosport stable on track during a podium run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

After his podium, Brooks is now only five points behind Josh Green as the highest-scoring rookie.

At 10:55 am, the voice of race control, Jim Swintal, gave the call for the drivers to start their Elite Engine prepared 2.0L. Engines.

After one pace lap, the all-Brazilian front row of Porto and Barrichello brought the 21 cars to the ‘yard of bricks’ and the green flag.

Porto got a decent start, with Barrichello dropping in behind his fellow Brazilian. From his fourth starting spot, Rasmussen also got a good start, making it four-wide going into Turn 1. It was Barrichello that was the first driver to get to Turn 2, followed by Rasmussen and Miller.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship field goes four-wide into the Turn 1 braking zone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

As they got to Turn 7, Miller made a daring pass on Rasmussen to move to second place.

Pole sitter Porto fell down the running order to sixth on the chaotic opening lap.

The running order after a clean first lap was Barrichello, Miller, Rasmussen, Brooks, Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), Porto, Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Max Kaeser (Jay Howard Driver Development), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Cameron Shields (DEForce Racing), Matthew Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing), Simon Sikes (Legacy Autosport), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Christian Bogle (Jay Howard Driver Development), Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), Josh Green (Cape Motorsports), Prescott Campbell (Exclusive Autosport), Josh Pierson (Exclusive Autosport), Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development) and Michael Myers (Legacy Autosport).

On Lap 2, Brooks, who started sixth, was able to get by Rasmussen to grab the final spot on the podium.

Further back in the field, Garg and Dupell disagreed over space in Turn 12, with the Jay Howard Driver Development car falling to last and Dupell coming to pit road.

On Lap 4, Rasmussen, Gold, and Porto were fighting for the fourth spot, with Porto getting by Gold for fifth. Further back in the field, Gold lost places to his teammate d’Orlando and Siegel to fall to eighth.

Barrichello’s lead over Miller to start Lap 5 was 1.3 seconds, with Brooks another 1.6 seconds back.

The battling for 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th between Kaeser, Green, Sikes, and Round-Garrido was fast and furious, with Kaeser eventually ending the race with his second top ten.

At the halfway point of the 15 lap race, Barrichello’s lead over Miller had grown to 1.6 seconds. Brooks was 1.4 seconds behind Miller and had his mirrors full of Rasmussen and Porto.

With five laps remaining, Miller has slowly started to eat into Barrichello’s lead, crossing the ‘yard of bricks’ 1.3 seconds adrift of the leader with five laps to go.

The gap remained the same as they started the next lap, with the best battle on track between Brooks and Rasmussen for the podium’s final spot.

Brooks was able to hold the position, which allowed Porto a chance to enter the fight. The pole-sitter was able to get around the championship leader in Turn 1 to move to fourth place.

With two laps remaining, Barrichello held a 1.2-second advantage over Miller. Behind Miller, Brooks, Porto, Rasmussen, Gold, and d’Orlando were nose to tail with a spot on the podium the prize.

The gap between the front two was only one second as they got the white flag.

Further back, the battle for the podium’s final spot was a train of five cars following Brooks.

Barrichello was able to hold on, crossing the ‘yard of bricks a slim 0.5 seconds ahead of Miller. Further back, Brooks held on for third, with the four drivers behind him within less than two seconds.

Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Indy Grand Prix race #2 race results (unofficial)

1 22 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing 15 laps
2 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports -0.5366
3 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport -3.7237
4 12 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing -4.1313
5 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development -4.5408
6 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports -5.0767
7 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports -5.7951
8 9 Nolan Siegel Jay Howard Driver Development -7.5669
9 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing -10.8909
10 41 Max Kaeser Miller Vinatieri Motorsports -14.0728
11 2 Josh Green Cape Motorsports -14.5798
12 20 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport -15.6621
13 10 Cameron Shields DEForce Racing -18.3129
14 23 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing -19.7855
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development -23.0505
16 1 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport -23.4003
17 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development -23.5578
18 16 Josh Pierson Exclusive Autosport -23.7734
19 18 Bijoy Garg Jay Howard Driver Development -30.4487
20 24 Michael Myers Legacy Autosport -42.9045
21 8 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports -5 LAPS

The remainder of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship schedule

Friday, September 4, 2020
2:45pm – 3:30pm – USF2000 Race #3 (20 laps or 50 minutes)