DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark on track at the Ozarks International Raceway. The Canadian won the pole for the first USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires race (Photo Courtesy of Jose Mario Dias/USF Juniors)

By Steve Wittich

Mac Clark, the pilot of the MIR Raceline USA/Sekanskin/Valkyrie AI sponsored No. 17, turned a lap of the 3.97-mile, 19-turn Ozarks International Raceway road course in 142.104 seconds. That scorching lap was over one second ahead of the rest of the field.

The Canadian joins Vince Puleo (USF2000), Kim Campbell (Indy Lights), Wink Bancroft (Formula Atlantic), Kyle Kirkwood (F4 United States Championship), Baltazar Leguizamón (Formula Regional Americas Championship), Matt Jaskol (Formula BMW), Axel Matus (F4 NACAM) and Tom Bagley (USAC Super Vee), among others, that won the first pole in a North American

USF Juniors is the fourth series in which the 18-year-old has claimed the pole position. He has also started on the inside front row in the F4 United States Championship, the F2000 Championship Series, and F1600 in Canada.

Starting on the outside of Clark is Sam Cory, a Velocity Racing Development driver making his first-ever start in cars.

Clark’s DEForce Racing teammate Jake Bonilla and the experienced International Motorsport racer Andre Castro are starting on the second row.

The green flag for the first-ever USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires session came out at 10:30 am (CDT), with 17 drivers vying to become the first pole-sitter in series history.

Sticker Cooper Tires was the play for the 20-minutes of qualifying that set the grid for the first of the three Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of The Ozarks races.

With the short qualifying session and the grid for subsequent races potentially on the line, getting quickly up to speed was crucial.

The quickest driver in practice, Clark, had the fastest first and second laps and, after a pair of circuits on the 3.97-mile, 19-turn road course, was followed by Nikita Johnson, Cory, Jake Bonilla, and Ethan Ho in the top five.

Most of the drivers could complete three laps in the first half of the session, with Clark still holding the provisional pole. Titus Sherlock and Andre Castro jumped into the top three on their third laps of the session but still trailed Clark by 1.5 seconds.

Corry and Bonilla improved their times on their fourth laps, getting to within just over one second of the provisional pole sitter Clark.

The red flag for an incident involving the No. 61 DC Autosport w/ Cape Motorsports machine of Nicholas d’Orlando in Turn 10 came out with five of the 20 minutes remaining in the session.

The green flag came back out once the incident was cleaned up, with drivers getting one last hot lap to improve their starting spots.

Unfortunately, the second red flag of the session came out, ending qualifying before the drivers could get up to speed. This one was for an incident involving Maxwell Jamieson.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of The Ozarks Qualifying Results

1 17 Mac Clark DEForce Racing 2:22.104 ——
2 14 Sam Corry Velocity Racing Development 2:23.173 -1.069
3 19 Jake Bonilla DEForce Racing 2:23.319 -1.215
4 23 Andre Castro International Motorsport 2:23.394 -1.29
5 31 Titus Sherlock Crosslink Kiwi Motorsports 2:23.668 -1.564
6 7 Nikita Johnson Velocity Racing Development 2:23.857 -1.753
7 71 Ethan Ho DC Autosport w/Cape Motorsports 2:24.001 -1.897
8 87 Jeremy Fairbairn Crosslink Kiwi Motorsports 2:24.196 -2.092
9 20 Alessandro De Tullio Velocity Racing Development 2:24.200 -2.096
10 53 Alan Isambard International Motorsport 2:24.221 -2.117
11 67 Elliot Cox Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development 2:24.294 -2.19
12 61 Nicholas D’Orlando DC Autosport w/Cape Motorsports 2:24.336 -2.232
13 24 Earl Tucker DC Autosport w/Cape Motorsports 2:24.874 -2.77
14 55 Noah Ping Velocity Racing Development 2:25.081 -2.977
15 18 Maxwell Jamieson DEForce Racing 2:26.088 -3.984
16 25 Jacob Bolen IGY6 Motorsports 2:30.113 -8.009
17 9 Bianca Bustamante IGY6 Motorsports 2:33.128 -11.024

The USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires drivers will qualify at 1:15 pm (Central). You can follow along with video and timing and scoring USF Juniors website.