Christian Brooks on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Exclusive Autosport rookie led the lone USF2000 practice session on Friday (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

For the first time in his Road To Indy career, Exclusive Autosport rookie Christian Brooks led a practice session.

The 19-year-old Californian turned a lap at 83.218 seconds, over three-tenths-of-a-second quicker than Legacy Autosport veteran Cameron Shields. Rounding out the top five were Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development), and Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports).

TSO checked with the team, and that time was set on tires that were carried over from the event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Only the top four drivers were within a half-second of Brooks, with the top 11 within one second.

The 21 drivers completed 939.3 miles (416 laps) of the undulating road course.

The lone 30 minute USF2000 practice session of the weekend got started promptly at 8:30 am, with the 21 entered cars quickly taking to the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course.

The weather at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Mid-Ohio) was decidedly fall-like, with the temperature struggling to reach 60F, a light mist/fog in the air, and a slight breeze blowing from the north.

After most drivers had completed three laps, and with eight minutes of the 30 minutes clicked off the clock, Rasmussen was the quickest of the session with a lap at 87.425 seconds.

At the halfway point of the session, at 8:45 am, the red flag came out so that a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 could be remembered.

Teams were told that the session would still run for the complete 30 minutes.

Most drivers had completed eight or nine laps at that point in the session, and Rasmussen with a lap timed at 84.007 seconds, topped the timing screen. He was followed by Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), d’Orlando, Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), Cameron Shields (Legacy Autosport), Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), Siegel, Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), and Josh Green (Cape Motorsports)

The first driver to go quicker in the second half of the session was Siegel, who is looking to replicate a podium from the series first visit to Mid-Ohio.

The first driver to improve their time in the top five was Brooks. The rookie coming off his first two career USF2000 podiums, first moved to fourth quick, second quick, and then to the top of the timing screen, with the first sub-84-second lap. Brooks was able to keep going quicker, setting the fastest lap of the session on his 19th of 19 laps.

With under three minutes remaining, the timing screen was quickly lighting up green, but nobody was able to catch Brooks.

The bottom rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track for their first of two Friday qualifying sessions at 11:30 am.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand-Prix of Mid-Ohio practice results

1 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 1:23.218 –.—- 19
2 10 Cameron Shields DEForce Racing 1:23.574 0.3564 20
3 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1:23.594 0.3763 20
4 9 Nolan Siegel Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.687 0.4695 21
5 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:23.746 0.5289 21
6 2 Josh Green Cape Motorsports 1:23.750 0.5328 20
7 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.839 0.6213 21
8 8 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports 1:23.923 0.7055 21
9 23 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing 1:24.071 0.8531 19
10 22 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing 1:24.157 0.9396 20
11 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:24.160 0.9422 20
12 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:24.422 1.2041 20
13 12 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1:24.620 1.4023 17
14 16 Josh Pierson Exclusive Autosport 1:24.630 1.4120 20
15 20 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport 1:24.636 1.4187 19
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:24.691 1.4739 20
17 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:24.716 1.4985 19
18 1 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport 1:24.762 1.5445 20
19 11 Josh Sarchet DEForce Racing 1:25.151 1.9330 19
20 41 Max Kaeser Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:25.432 2.2146 20
21 24 Michael Myers Legacy Autosport 1:26.590 3.3721 20