By Steve Wittich
For the third time this season, Pabst Racing sophomore Eduardo Barrichello will start a USF2000 race from the pole position.
The 19-year-old turned a quick lap of 77.149 seconds to edge points leader Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development) by five-hundredths of a second. Race #1 will be the ninth time this season that the Dane will start on the front row of the grid.
The point for pole is the second generation pilot’s fifth bonus point of the season and moves him to within 49 points of the top spot.
Starting behind Barrichello on the inside of the second row, with his best starting spot since the season-opening race of the year at Road America, is Exclusive Autosport rookie Christian Brooks. The Californian has gained 24 positions in his last eight races and is hungry for his first win.
Cape Motorsports sophomore Reece Gold will start outside of Brooks. The sixteen-year-old trails Rasmussen by 14 points but will need to move forward early to make up ground.
Starting fifth, his best start of the season to date is Exclusive Autosport rookie Prescott Campbell.
The top seven drivers, including Cameron Shields (DEForce Racing) and Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), were all within a half-second of Barrichello’s pole lap. A baker’s dozen drivers were within one second.
Qualifying for the first of three The Andersen Companies USF 2000 Grand Prix races got started at noon. The sky was partly cloudy, and the temperature in Millville, NJ, was 67F.
The first driver to turn a lap at speed in qualifying was Rasmussen, who was joined on the 2.25-mile, 12-turn road course by eight of the 18 entries. The other ten drivers were on pit road. With five minutes remaining, the Cape Motorsports duo of Michael d’Orlando, Kyle Dupell, Reece Gold, and Josh Green joined qualifying.
That left Cameron Shields, Nico Christodoulou, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Eduardo Barrichello, Matthew Round-Garrido, and Kent Vaccaro as drivers still on pit road.
Rasmussen’s fourth lap, timed at 77.199 seconds, was the quickest of the session and event to that point.
Rasmussen held the provisional pole at the halfway point of the session, with Gold, Brooks, d’Orlando, and Siegel rounding out the top five.
At just past the halfway point, the trio of Pabst Racing drivers finally took to the track.
It only took two laps for Barrichello to get his Cooper Tire slicks up to optimal operating temperature and grabbing the provisional pole with five minutes remaining.
The timing screen began to light up green as drivers continued to get quicker as the track started to take rubber.
With four minutes remaining, Exclusive Autosport rookie Prescott Campbell went fourth quickest.
A minute later, his teammate Brooks moved to fourth, and on the next lap, went third quick.
There were a pair of penalties handed out during the session.
- Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing) lost a lap time for shortcutting the course.
- Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development) completed a lap after checkered and will be penalized two starting spots, dropping him from ninth to 11th.
The Andersen Companies USF2000 Grand Prix Race #1 unofficial qualifying results.
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||1:17.149||–.—-||5|
|2||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:17.199||0.0506||7|
|3||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:17.372||0.2229||10|
|4||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||1:17.436||0.2874||11|
|5||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||1:17.542||0.3928||10|
|6||10||Cameron Shields||DEForce Racing||1:17.640||0.4916||8|
|7||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:17.642||0.4933||11|
|8||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:17.796||0.6473||6|
|9||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:17.876||0.7267||10|
|10||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:17.879||0.7306||7|
|11||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||1:17.896||0.7468||7|
|12||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||1:18.112||0.9633||9|
|13||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||1:18.189||1.0406||12|
|14||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||1:18.298||1.1487||9|
|15||11||Nico Christodoulou||DEForce Racing||1:18.336||1.1877||8|
|16||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:18.348||1.1988||6|
|17||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:18.394||1.2449||10|
|18||41||Kent Vaccaro||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||No Time||—||—|
The Andersen Companies USF2000 Grand Prix Race #1 is scheduled to get the green flag at 3 pm.