By Steve Wittich
Yesterday, Jace Denmark ‘won’ the pole for the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race after his teammate received a grid penalty.
Today, he won the pole on pace, but not by much. Jagger Jones (Cape Motorsports) and his Pabst Racing teammate Myles Rowe were both within a tenth of a second of the pole.
The pole is the Arizonan’s third inside front row start this season. In addition, it will be the third time a Pabst Racing driver will start from the pole in Toronto.
A second straight perfect weather day began with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers waking up the denizens of the condos surrounding the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit.
When qualifying began, the ambient temperature was 74F, and the track temperature was 81.4F.
After a last-minute check of the circuit by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team, the green flag flew from the starter’s stand at Turn 2.
The qualifying session for Sunday’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto Race #2 was set for 20 minutes, with the 16 drivers quickly getting to work.
Race #1 pole sitter Jace Denmark was the early leader, turning a lap of 73.996 seconds, was a second off Myles Rowe’s best lap in qualifying for that race.
Most drivers had completed seven laps at the halfway point of qualifying, and Race #1 front row starter Jagger Jones held the provisional pole. He was followed in the top five by Rowe, Denmark, Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), and Bijoy Garg (DEForce Racing).
Just as we finished typing the top five, Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Evagoras Papasavvas grabbed the provisional pole.
Papasavvas’ time at the provisional pole didn’t last long. Denmark was the first driver to go under 73 seconds, but his Pabst Racing teammate Rowe was the first driver to go under the best lap in qualifying for Race #1.
Over the next four laps, Rowe and Denmark continued to get quicker and quicker, trading the provisional pole and separated by only hundredths of a second each time.
With three minutes remaining, Denmark’s lap was only seven-hundredths ahead of Rowe. The Pabst Racing teammate had almost a half-second over the rest of the field, but the Cape Motorsports drivers kept getting quicker.
With just under a minute remaining, the red flag came out when the No. 91 of Nicholas d’Orlando made contact in Turn 8.
Just before red, Jones made a run at the pole, but the third generation race fell short by a slim four-hundredths of a second and will start on the outside of the first row for both Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship races.
Unfortunately, the checkered flag accompanied the red flag, ending the session as a few drivers were on hot laps.
Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Toronto Race #2 Qualifying Results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFF|
|1||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||1:12.1898||—|
|2||3||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||1:12.2314||-0.0416|
|3||22||Myles Rowe||Pabst Racing||1:12.2668||-0.077|
|4||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:12.4224||-0.2326|
|5||92||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||1:12.6222||-0.4324|
|6||10||Thomas Nepveu||DEForce Racing||1:12.7237||-0.5339|
|7||90||Jacob Douglas||Exclusive Autosport||1:12.8670||-0.6772|
|8||33||Spike Kohlbecker||Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport||1:12.8772||-0.6874|
|9||12||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||1:12.8943||-0.7045|
|10||6||Evagoras Papasavvas||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:12.9363||-0.7465|
|11||11||Dylan Christie||DEForce Racing||1:12.9634||-0.7736|
|12||5||Nicky Hays||Cape Motorsports||1:13.3961||-1.2063|
|13||9||Jorge Garciarce||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:13.5087||-1.3189|
|14||91||Nicholas d’Orlando||Exclusive Autosport||1:13.5393||-1.3495|
|15||32||Christian Weir||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:13.7551||-1.5653|
|16||7||Frederik Lund||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:15.0413||-2.8515|
The green flag for the first USF2000 race will fly at noon.