By Steve Wtitich
Veteran Nolan Siegel led a DEForce Racing one-two-three in qualifying for Saturday afternoons Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama.
Siegel’s lap at 80.9794 in the Menlo Ventures/Aero Paint Technologies sponsored No. 10 lowered the track record set by Yuven Sundaramoorthy in the morning qualifying session.
Siegel’s teammates Prescott Campbell and Kiko Porto, along with Force Indy rookie Myles Rowe were all within one-tenth of the pole.
It’s the second career USF2000 pole for the 16-year-old. The pole win is the sixth USF2000 pole for DEForce Racing.
The top 11 were within a half-second of Siegel, and 21 of 26 drivers were within one second of the pole.
The green flag for the second Friday USF2000 qualifying session came out at 1:50 pm. After a cloudy first qualifying session, the sun was out, the ambient temperature was 66F, and the track temperature had just pushed over 100F for the first time today.
Myles Rowe (Force Indy) and Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing) spent most of the first half of the 20-minute session trading the provisional pole.
Rookie Rowe held the provisional pole when the red flag came out before the halfway point of qualifying. The No. 8 Jay Howard Driver Development USF-17 machine of Jackson Lee came to a stop on the track in Turn 8.
The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team flat towed him back to pit road, and the green flag came back out with just over five minutes remaining to get on a flyer.
Rowe, with a lap at 81.3473 seconds, held the provisional pole with Josh Pierson (Pabst Racing), Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Jace Denmark (Pabst Racing), Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing), Thomas Nepveu (Cape Motorsports), Prescott Campbell (DEForce Racing), Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport) and Ely Navarro (DEForce Racing).
The Cooper Tires didn’t have enough time to cool down, and drivers immediately improved on their lap times.
Veterans, Siegel, Porto, Campbell, Pierson, and d’Orlando all surpassed Rowe on their first laps at speed.
Siegel’s eighth of ten laps in the session was good enough to hold off his teammates.
Rowe, the early provisional pole sitter, had fallen to eighth but recovered to fourth on his final lap of qualifying.
Qualifying #2 for Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|1||10||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||1:20.9794||0.000|
|2||11||Prescott Campbell||DEForce Racing||1:20.9868||0.0074|
|3||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:20.9888||0.0094|
|4||99||Myles Rowe||Force Indy||1:21.0748||0.0954|
|5||34||Dylan Christie||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:21.1864||0.2070|
|6||24||Josh Pierson||Pabst Racing||1:21.2368||0.2574|
|7||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:21.2743||0.2949|
|8||33||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:21.3005||0.3211|
|9||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:21.3130||0.3336|
|10||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||1:21.3483||0.3689|
|11||5||Spike Kohlbecker||Cape Motorsports||1:21.4340||0.4546|
|12||2||Thomas Nepveu||Cape Motorsports||1:21.5101||0.5307|
|13||91||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||1:21.6252||0.6458|
|14||19||Andre Castro||Legacy Autosport||1:21.6739||0.6945|
|15||22||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:21.7164||0.7370|
|16||9||Peter Vodanovich||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.8145||0.8351|
|17||20||Simon Sikes||Legacy Autosport||1:21.9375||0.9581|
|18||1||Ely Navarro||DEForce Racing||1:21.9748||0.9954|
|19||6||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.9778||0.9984|
|20||90||Grant Palmer||Exclusive Autosport||1:22.0695||1.0901|
|21||3||Evan Stamer||Cape Motorsports||1:22.0807||1.1013|
|22||29||Erik Evans||Velocity Racing Development||1:22.2269||1.2475|
|23||8||Jackson Lee||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:22.2834||1.3040|
|24||92||Matt Round-Garrido||Exclusive Autosport||1:22.3673||1.3879|
|25||16||Kent Vaccaro||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:22.6777||1.6983|
|26||63||Trey Burke||Joe Dooling Autosports||1:22.8997||1.9203|
Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Race #1 rolls off bright and early at 8 am (central) on Saturday morning.