By Steve Wittich
The second USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires season officially began with a single practice session on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway road course on a sunny and warm Thursday morning in the Highlands region of Florida.
DEForce Racing’s Quinn Armstrong led the session in the NDA-sponsored No. 16. The 15-year-old Aussie set a best lap time of 130.411 seconds, four-tenths ahead of the remainder of the field.
Exclusive Autosport’s Joey Brienza, the quickest driver during February testing at the same track, was second best, with Ethan Ho (DC Autosport) the only other driver with a half-second of the top of the timing screen.
The infamous Sebring International Raceway bumps claimed their first, of what we expect to be many, victims when bolts on the rear wing of recent F4 United States Championship Powered By Honda double race winner Jimmie Lockhart shook loose. However, quick work by the Velocity Racing Development crew got the Yacht Next sponsored No. 48 back on track within minutes.
Because sets of tires are limited, we won’t read too much into the lap times.
Management of their allotment of Cooper Tires will be a big part of determining a team and driver’s success during a USF Juniors race weekend. For this event, each entry can utilize one set of carry-over tires (from the Sebring International Raceway) test and will receive two new sets of Cooper Tires. The team’s discretion determines the utilization of the three sets of tires.
The Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Sebring consists of five sessions. A single 30-minute practice, one 25-minute qualifying session and three ten-lap (or 40 minutes) races make how to utilize the tires a critical part of the equation. It also puts tremendous pressure on the drivers to take care of each set of tires, a skill that will serve them well as they move towards the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
USF Juniors Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Sebring Practice Results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFF.||LAPS|
|1||16||Quinn Armstrong||DEForce Racing||2:10.411||——||9|
|2||91||Joey Brienza||Exclusive Autosport||2:10.824||-0.413||10|
|3||68||Ethan Ho||DC Autosport||2:10.887||-0.476||10|
|4||12||Ethan Barker||VRD Racing||2:11.399||-0.988||10|
|5||19||Nicolas Giaffone||DEForce Racing||2:11.528||-1.117||8|
|6||48||Jimmie Lockhart||VRD Racing||2:11.797||-1.386||9|
|7||17||Lucas Fecury||DEForce Racing||2:12.065||-1.654||8|
|8||18||Brady Golan||DEForce Racing||2:12.251||-1.84||7|
|9||92||Jack Jeffers||Exclusive Autosport||2:12.571||-2.16||7|
|10||57||Carson Etter||DC Autosport||2:14.389||-3.978||9|
|11||93||Giovanni Cabrera||Exclusive Autosport||2:19.132||-8.721||8|
|12||33||Max Taylor||VRD Racing||——||——||——|
The bottom rung of the USF Pro Championships Presented By Cooper Tires ladder is back on track at 1:20 pm for qualifying.