By Steve Wittich
DEForce Racing’s Cameron Shields, with a lap timed at 73.485 seconds, led the lone USF2000 practice session that saw the top 13 drivers all within one second of the Aussie.
The first Road To Indy action got underway 225 days to the hour that the St. Petersburg, Fla. event was promptly halted due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Since that memorable day, the bottom rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires has contested 15 races at six events and crowned Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development) as the champion.
That practice session in March was led by three-time USF2000 race winner Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing). You can read that session report here: Eduardo Barrichello and Pabst Racing lead first USF2000 session dominated by veterans https://www.tsoladder.com/2020/03/13/eduardo-barrichello-and-pabst-racing-lead-first-usf2000-session-dominated-by-veterans/
The 23 cars entered in the USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented By Andersen Racepark took to the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit at 11:05 am for a lone 30-minute practice session.
The red flag came out with nine minutes remaining for an incident involving newcomer Gil Molina (DEForce Racing) in Turn 9. The Monterey, Mexico native had just turned his quickest lap of the session, the 10th fastest of the field.
Molina’s DEForce Racing teammate Cameron Shields, with a lap timed at 74.827 seconds, was the quickest of the drivers, with most drivers completing five or six laps.
The rest of the top 10 were Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), Rasmussen, Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Barrichello, Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), Josh Pierson (Exclusive Autosport), Michael Myers (Legacy Autosport) and Molina.
The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team cleared Molina’s No. 12, and the green flag came back out at the half-way point of the half-hour session.
With ten minutes remaining, Shields was knocked off the top of the timing screens by first Barrichello and then Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport).
Brook and Barrichello went back and forth for the next five minutes as the only drivers with laps under 74 seconds.
Shields and Gold were the next drivers to turn laps in the 73-second range and with three minutes left in the
the session, the top 13 were all within a second of Brooks.
Times continued to fall late in the session, but a few late flyers were thwarted when the red flag came out for the No. 4 of d’Orlando, who had an incident in Turn 9.
The field completed a total of 329 laps.
Shields’ quickest lap was a little under a tenth-of-a-second quicker than Barrichello’s fastest lap in March.
USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented By Andersen Racepark Practice #1 Results.
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFF.||LAPS|
|1||10||Cameron Shields||DEForce Racing||1:13.485||–.—-||17|
|2||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:13.494||0.0095||11|
|3||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||1:13.538||0.0535||18|
|4||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||1:13.640||0.1549||19|
|5||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:13.693||0.2080||18|
|6||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:14.054||0.5696||17|
|7||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:14.093||0.6079||17|
|8||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||1:14.252||0.7667||18|
|9||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:14.307||0.8217||18|
|10||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||1:14.308||0.8226||18|
|11||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||1:14.330||0.8450||18|
|12||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:14.369||0.8844||18|
|13||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||1:14.460||0.9750||18|
|14||20||Simon Sikes||Legacy Autosport||1:14.645||1.1597||18|
|15||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||1:14.749||1.2642||17|
|16||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:15.095||1.6101||18|
|17||18||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:15.101||1.6157||18|
|18||24||Michael Myers||Legacy Autosport||1:15.181||1.6958||11|
|19||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:15.410||1.9250||16|
|20||11||Gil Molina||DEForce Racing||1:15.973||2.4881||4|
|21||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:18.658||5.1732||2|
The bottom rung of the Road To Indy will be back in action at 2:35 pm for qualifying.