By Patrick Stephan

#22: Myles Rowe, Pabst Racing, Penske Entertainment. Road to Indy Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy- Shown after winning Race #1

The 2nd Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race got off to a clean start up front though there was some contact in the pack.  That contact damaged Lochie Hughes (who btw, got DQ’d from his 2nd place finish yesterday after failing post race technical inspection) and Christian Weir.  Didn’t get a good look at the mess, but race control reviewed and took no action calling it a racing incident.

We stayed green though with Michael d’Orlando leading Myles Rowe and Jace Denmark.

On Lap 3 Billy Frazer and Dylan Christie got together at the exit of Turn 3 – making tire to tire contact that sent Christie up in to the air, and for a wild ride to the inside of the track. He didn’t flip but did take out all most of the trackside signage as he bounced through the grass.

Frazer also picked up heavy left front damage in the incident.

Back to green on Lap 5 with d’Orlando still in the lead.

Lap 6 though, Myles Rowe gets inside of d’Orlando at Turn 4 and takes the lead, bringing Jace Denmark with him.

By Lap 8 though, Michael d’Orlando had gotten back to second, with Nikita Johnson 3rd, Denmark 4th and Nicky Hays was 5th. Jagger Jones, Jacob Douglas, Nicholas d’Orlando, Spike Kohlbecker and Jackson Lee round out the Top 10.

At the halfway point (Lap 10 of 20), Rowe has pulled out to a 1.4 second lead over d’Orlando.

Note that Christian Weir and Lochie Hughes are both back on track one lap down, though as soon as I typed that, Weir pitted again to take new tires. This seems like a move to potentially improve on his second best qualifying lap – which would move him up the grid for Race #3 later today.  The #6 of Evangoras Papsavvas similarly comes in to make the same move. Heck, Hughes come back in a couple laps later to try some other tires for race #3  – the conditions today being much improved over yesterday’s high heat probably also influencing this decision.

Weir does a lap of 1:22.5042 on his lap 13 to set the quickest lap of the race, we’ll find out later how much that impacts his 3rd race starting spot.

Meanwhile on Lap 13, Rowe’s lead is down to 1.0 over d’Orlando 1.0 and then 0.93 on Lap 14 as 1-2 in the points (243-225) battle it out on the track.

Lap 15 its 0.92 as these two get a gap of 2.3 back to 3rd running Denmark.

Lap 16 and d’Orlando has the gap down to 0.84 – about 6 car lengths at the start/finish line. Not close enough to make a move yet, but he get the gap to 0.76 at the end of Lap 17.

Next time by, d’Orlando cuts the lead to 4 car lengths (0.6604), but car #12 Bijoy Garg has gone off the left side of the track and backed in to tire barrier. Jorge Garciarce was also involved and that incident is under review.

With the AMR INDYCAR Safety team out getting Garg out of his car, Myles Rowe takes the yellow and white flags together so he will win this one. d’Orlando follows, then Denmark, Johnso, Hays and Jones is 6th. Douglas, Nicholas d’Orlando, Kohlbecker and Lee is 10th. The remaining cars on the lead lap are Dyszelski, Nepveu, Andersson, and  Garciarce.

Too bad about that yellow I think d’Orlando was going to catch Rowe, though the success of a move to take the lead was far from predictable.

Some big movers in the race include Hays going from 13th to 5th, Jones 10th to 6th, Douglas 11th to 7th, Nicholas d’Orlando 15th to 8th Kohlbecker 14th to 9th and Jackson Lee came from 17th to 10 with Danny Dyszelski moving from 19th to 1tth.

Having the 5th, 6th and 7th starters involved in incidents probably helped that, but still some good runs in there for those big movers.

This is Myles Rowe’s 4th win of the season, 2nd of the weekend and 5th of us USF2000 career.

UNOFFICIAL Results of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race #2 at Mid-Ohio:

Pos Car # Driver Laps Diff Start Team
1 22 Myles Rowe 20 LAP 20 2 Pabst Racing
2 4 Michael d’Orlando 20 0.5031 1 Cape Motorsports
3 23 Jace Denmark 20 0.7305 3 Pabst Racing
4 17 Nikita Johnson 20 1.5172 4 VRD Racing
5 5 Nicky Hays 20 2.4869 13 Cape Motorsports
6 3 Jagger Jones 20 3.4276 10 Cape Motorsports
7 90 Jacob Douglas 20 4.6838 11 Exclusive Autosport
8 61 Nicholas d’Orlando 20 5.7755 15 VRD Racing
9 33 Spike Kohlbecker 20 6.3568 14 Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport
10 2 Jackson Lee 20 6.8511 17 Cape Motorsports
11 8 Danny Dyszelski 20 7.3148 19 Jay Howard Driver Development
12 10 Thomas Nepveu 20 7.7692 8 DEForce Racing
13 30 Viktor Andersson 20 7.9643 16 VRD Racing
14 9 Jorge Garciarce 20 8.3411 18 Jay Howard Driver Development
15 6 Evagoras Papasavvas 19 1 LAPS 20 Jay Howard Driver Development
16 32 Christian Weir 18 2 LAPS 12 Turn 3 Motorsport
17 12 Bijoy Garg 17 16.0498 9 DEForce Racing
18 7 Lochie Hughes 16 2 LAPS 6 Jay Howard Driver Development
19 92 Billy Frazer 3 Contact 7 Exclusive Autosport
20 11 Dylan Christie 2 Contact 5 DEForce Racing