By Steve Wittich
For Nicolas Giaffone, dominance at Barber Motorsports Park was expressed by the number 11.277. That massive number is the combined margin by which the Brazillian won two Friday races.
For the second straight race, the 18-year-old scored a maximum of 33 points while leading every lap from the pole and setting the quickest race lap, giving him the points lead after the first five of sixteen races.
The Houston, Texas-based DEForce Racing has now won all four USF Juniors races held on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course.
Crossing under the checkered flags behind Giaffone for the second straight race was Aussie Quinn Armstrong, giving DEForce Racing five of the six podiums at Barber Motorsports Park in 2023.
VRD Racing rookie Jimmie Lockhart gained three spots to stand on his second podium of the season.
For the second straight race, it was a pair of Brazilians – Giaffone and Fecury – that led the 15-car field to the green flag.
The first lap was clean, with Giaffone grabbing the lead and Armstrong again getting around his teammate Fecury for second. Behind the top three, the running order was Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), Lockhart, Max Taylor (VRD Racing), Jack Jeffers (Exclusive Autosport), Ethan Ho (DC Autosport), Ethan Barker (VRD Racing), Erick Schotten (Exclusive Autosport), Hudson Schwartz (VRD Racing), Juan Felipe Pedraza (Ram Racing), Brady Golan (DEForce Racing), Carson Etter (DC Autosport) and Giovanni Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport).
On the second lap of the race, Lockhart moved around Brienza for fourth. That championship leader lost two more spots to finish the second race of the weekend in sixth place.
Mimicking Race #1, Armstrong was able to remain within a second of
On Lap 8, Lockhart moved by Fecury for the final spot on the podium. Behind the top four, Taylor had four drivers within two seconds of the driver in fifth.
At the halfway point of the 20-lap race, Giaffone’s lead over his teammate was 1.8 seconds, with Lockhart over six seconds back in third.
With five laps remaining, Giafforne had a comfortable 3.2-second lead over Armstrong. Behind the front two, Lockhart had not pulled away from Fecury, and Taylor was still facing pressure with Brienza, Ho and Jeffers right on his tail.
Taylor, who finished four spots ahead of his starting position, had three drivers right on his tail but held on for his second top-five finish of the season.
Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Alabama Race #2 unofficial results
|1||19||Nicolas Giaffone||DEForce Racing||20 LAPS|
|2||16||Quinn Armstrong||DEForce Racing||-6.556|
|3||48||Jimmie Lockhart||VRD Racing||-12.098|
|4||17||Lucas Fecury||DEForce Racing||-13.663|
|5||33||Max Taylor||VRD Racing||-16.093|
|6||91||Joey Brienza||Exclusive Autosport||-16.809|
|7||68||Ethan Ho||DC Autosport||-17.555|
|8||92||Jack Jeffers||Exclusive Autosport||-17.84|
|9||12||Ethan Barker||VRD Racing||-20.84|
|10||90||Erick Schotten||Exclusive Autosport||-28.601|
|11||18||Brady Golan||DEForce Racing||-31.645|
|12||29||Hudson Schwartz||VRD Racing||-42.532|
|13||55||Juan Felipe Pedraza||Ram Racing||-51.848|
|14||57||Carson Etter||DC Autosport||-72.42|
|15||93||Giovanni Cabrera||Exclusive Autosport||-84.594|
These same teams and drivers return to action for a triple header at Virginia International Raceway on the first weekend in June.