By Steve Wittich
Exclusive Autosport rookie Christian Brooks turned a lap of 71.966 seconds on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit to grab his first career USF2000 pole and set a new track record for the Streets Of St. Petersburg, Fla.
The 20-year-old has nine top-five finishes in 2020 but is still looking for his first trip to the podium’s top step.
DEForce Racing teammates Kiko Porto and Cameron Shields backed up a one-two in yesterday’s qualifying by turning the second and third quickest laps of the 20-minute session.
Starting fourth and fifth are Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing) and Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), the two drivers who are tied for second in the championship.
Qualifying for Sunday’s USF2000 Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Presented By Cooper Tires got underway at 9:30 am. The sun was shining brightly, the temperature was 78F, and the wind was blowing lightly from the east.
The early leader was 2020 USF2000 champion Rasmussen, but drivers kept going quicker on each lap. With 15-minutes remaining in the session, the Cape Motorsports foursome of Reece Gold, Michael d’Orlando, Kyle Dupell, and Josh Green were still sitting pit road, waiting for the other drivers to put some of the Cooper Tire rubber down.
Brooks was the first driver to go quicker than Rasmussen, turning a lap at 72.500 seconds just before the session’s halfway point.
The rest of the top ten after ten of 20 minutes were Rasmussen, Gold, d’Orlando, Campbell, Pierson, Green, Shields, and Round-Garrido.
Several drivers came to pit road for fresh Cooper Tire slicks before heading back out on track to try and improve their standing.
With nine minutes left in the session, Gold grabbed the provisional pole, going nine-hundredths than Brooks.
Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports) was the first driver to improve after moving to new tires, moving to the seventh spot.
The other drivers were getting their tires in the proper operating window, with Porto grabbing the provisional pole, with a track record lap of 62.110 seconds.
Porto’s hold on the track record didn’t last long. Brooks was able to go two-hundredths quicker than the DEForce Racing rookie.
Brook went a little quicker on his next lap, lowering the provisional pole lap to just slightly higher than 62 seconds. On his next lap, the Californian broke the 62-second barrier.
Brooks was the only driver to break into the 61-second range.
USF2000 Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Presented By Cooper Tires Qualifying.
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFF.|
|1||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:11.966||–.—-|
|2||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:12.110||0.1439|
|3||10||Cameron Shields||DEForce Racing||1:12.328||0.3619|
|4||22||Eduardo Barrichello||Pabst Racing||1:12.378||0.4113|
|5||3||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||1:12.399||0.4328|
|6||6||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:12.469||0.5026|
|7||21||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:12.474||0.5079|
|8||23||Matt Round-Garrido||Pabst Racing||1:12.529||0.5624|
|9||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:12.620||0.6535|
|10||2||Josh Green||Cape Motorsports||1:12.710||0.7441|
|11||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:12.858||0.8921|
|12||1||Prescott Campbell||Exclusive Autosport||1:12.942||0.9761|
|13||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:13.004||1.0374|
|14||16||Josh Pierson||Exclusive Autosport||1:13.039||1.0732|
|15||20||Simon Sikes||Legacy Autosport||1:13.104||1.1382|
|16||8||Kyle Dupell||Cape Motorsports||1:13.282||1.3156|
|17||11||Gil Molina||DEForce Racing||1:13.286||1.3198|
|18||9||Nolan Siegel||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.306||1.3396|
|19||24||Michael Myers||Legacy Autosport||1:13.374||1.4074|
|20||7||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.453||1.4868|
|21||18||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.532||1.5656|
The USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented By Andersen Racepark Race is scheduled to roll off at 4:40 pm.