Christian Brooks in the Hot Wheels/Chaco Flaco/Bell Helmets Exclusive Autosport USF-17 during a Friday test session at New Jersey Motorsports Park (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

For the third time in 2020, Christian Brooks led a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship practice session. The Exclusive Autosport rookie, who also led practice at Lucas Oil Raceway Park and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (September), turned in a lap timed at 77.949 seconds.

Only 6-thousandths (0.006) behind Californian Brooks was Pabst Racing sophomore Eduardo Barrichello.

Rounding out the top five were championship contender Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), Cameron Shields (DEForce Racing), and Matthew Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing).

Points leader Christian Rasmussen, a Jay Howard Driver Development veteran, could only manage the tenth quickest time.

The entire field is tight, though. Only one second separates the 15 drivers.

The green flag for the lone USF2000 practice session of the weekend came out at 9 am.

During the first ten minutes of the session, Gold, Round-Garrido, and Barrichello all spent time atop the timing screen. Absent from the 2.25-mile, 12-turn road course during the early part of the session was the Jay Howard Driver Development quartet of Christian Bogle, Wyatt Brichacek, Christian Rasmussen, and Nolan Siegel.

After 10-minutes of running, the Cape Motorsports cars were on pit road for adjustments.

Bogle, Brichacek, and Siegel took to the track with 16-minutes remaining, while Rasmussen and the No. 6 waited until there were 13-minutes left in the session.

Barrichello, who was quickest during Friday testing, had the fastest lap time at 77.955 seconds. The only driver who had gone under 78 seconds. Gold, d’Orlando, Sheilds, and Round-Garrido made up the remainder of the top five.

Five minutes later, it was still the second-generation driver at the head of the timing screens, but the field was close. Fourteen of the 18 entries were within one second of Barrichello’s best time.

Barrichello’s quick time stood for the next five minutes with Barichello and Shields trading the second spot a few times.

Brooks was the second driver to break the 78-second barrier with just under five minutes remaining, going a mere sixth-thousandths of a second quicker than Barrichello.

The entire 30-minute practice was run under green flag conditions, and the 17 drivers who took to the Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park circuit completed a total of 258 laps.

Unfortunately, newcomer Kent Vaccaro (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports) was unable to turn any laps in practice due to a

The Andersen Companies USF2000 Grand Prix Practice Results

1 44 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 1:17.949 –.—- 15
2 22 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing 1:17.955 0.0064 18
3 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:18.269 0.3201 21
4 10 Cameron Shields DEForce Racing 1:18.271 0.322 15
5 23 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing 1:18.284 0.3353 19
6 4 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1:18.381 0.4322 19
7 9 Nolan Siegel Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.383 0.434 9
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:18.512 0.5635 19
9 2 Josh Green Cape Motorsports 1:18.675 0.7261 20
10 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.720 0.7714 7
11 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.796 0.8465 6
12 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:18.799 0.8499 15
13 1 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport 1:18.962 1.0128 16
14 11 Nico Christodoulou DEForce Racing 1:18.986 1.0375 18
15 16 Josh Pierson Exclusive Autosport 1:19.032 1.0827 16
16 8 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports 1:19.132 1.1834 18
17 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:19.421 1.472 7
18 41 Kent Vaccaro Miller Vinatieri Motorsports No Time

Qualifying for race #1 is scheduled to begin at noon.