For the first time in his 35 race USF2000 career, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, a Pabst Racing veteran, will start from the pole. The inside front row start is not the 18-year-old’s North American Junior Open Wheel first. The University Of Wisconsin – Madison freshman, started a pair of F1600 Championship Series races from the pole.
Sundaramoorthy’s pole lap of 81.1201-seconds breaks the seven-year-old track record by almost two seconds. The previous track record – 83.009 seconds – was held by Michael Epps (Belardi Auto Racing) during the 2014 Cooper Tires Winter Fest.
“This is amazing, especially with the spin I had this morning, said Sundaramoorthy after qualifying. “I’ve been at this for three years so to finally get a pole feels so good; I hope it means that there are more good things to come. This track is all about confidence: it’s all high-speed corners and long-duration corners, so you have to get the car perfect, which the Pabst crew did, and then me putting the lap together. I’m happy with pole but I’m looking to convert from first position. It’s so hard to pass here, so getting a good start will be key.”
The pole is the 26th career inside front row start for Pabst Racing. The Oconomowoc, Wisc. based team placed all three of their drivers in the top five, with Josh Pierson starting behind his teammate on the pole and rookie Jace Denmark starting directly behind Pierson.
Starting outside of the trio of Pabst Racing drivers are Prescott Campbell (DEForce Racing), Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), and Spike Kohlbecker (Cape Motorsports).
The field is incredibly close; the top 11 are within three-tenths-of-a-second of Sundaramoorthy. The top 20 are within one second of the quickest lap.
The only red flag came out with just over two minutes remaining when Sundaramoorthy and Simon Sikes (Legacy Autosport) both spun. Both drivers lost their quickest lap of the session, but Sundaramoorthy’s second-best lap was good enough to keep the pole.
Qualifying #1 for Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|1||22||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:21.1201||——|
|2||11||Prescott Campbell||DEForce Racing||1:21.1341||0.0140|
|3||24||Josh Pierson||Pabst Racing||1:21.1447||0.0246|
|4||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:21.1550||0.0349|
|5||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||1:21.2462||0.1261|
|6||5||Spike Kohlbecker||Cape Motorsports||1:21.2561||0.1360|
|7||44||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||1:21.2734||0.1533|
|8||33||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:21.3320||0.2119|
|9||99||Myles Rowe||Force Indy||1:21.3604||0.2403|
|10||10||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||1:21.3937||0.2736|
|11||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:21.4138||0.2937|
|12||91||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||1:21.5422||0.4221|
|13||1||Ely Navarro||DEForce Racing||1:21.5644||0.4443|
|14||8||Jackson Lee||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.8327||0.7126|
|15||9||Peter Vodanovich||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.8855||0.7654|
|16||2||Thomas Nepveu||Cape Motorsports||1:22.0193||0.8992|
|17||20||Simon Sikes||Legacy Autosport||1:22.0581||0.9380|
|18||6||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:22.0745||0.9544|
|19||34||Dylan Christie||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:22.1599||1.0398|
|20||90||Grant Palmer||Exclusive Autosport||1:22.2160||1.0959|
|21||19||Andre Castro||Legacy Autosport||1:22.2463||1.1262|
|22||29||Erik Evans||Velocity Racing Development||1:22.4870||1.3669|
|23||3||Evan Stamer||Cape Motorsports||1:22.5584||1.4383|
|24||16||Kent Vaccaro||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:22.6373||1.5172|
|25||92||Matt Round-Garrido||Exclusive Autosport||1:22.8472||1.7271|
|26||63||Trey Burke||Joe Dooling Autosports||1:27.5223||6.4022|
The second USF2000 qualifying session is set to get the green flag at 1:50 pm (central) this afternoon.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Race #1 rolls off bright and early at 8 am (central) on Saturday morning.