By Steve Wittich
The single half-hour USF2000 Championship Presented By Cooper Tires practice session before Friday morning qualifying took place late on Thursday afternoon, getting the green flag at 5:10 pm. The sun shone in Speedway, Ind, and the ambient temperature was 82F.
After five minutes of running, race control reminded the teams and drivers that any driver leaving the track surface at the exit Turn 6 would have their lap invalidated. Additionally, offenders would be denoted utilizing the car’s transponder.
Points leader Simon Sikes (Pabst Racing) led early in the session, with Lochie Hughes (Jay Howard Driver Development) grabbing the top spot on the timing screens just past the halfway point. Exclusive Autosport rookie Chase Gardner was the third quickest after 15 minutes.
Lap times continued to fall, with Nikita Johnson (VRD Racing), who waited until late in the session to take to the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course going to the top of the timing screens on only his third lap.
New tire runs meant the timing screen was full of green and purple as drivers got their fresh Cooper tires into the optimal operating range.
Nobody could touch Johnson, with Sikes and reigning USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires champion Mac Clark (DEForce Racing), jumping into the top five at the end of the session.
The top eight drivers – Johnson, Hughes, Sikes, Clark, Gardner, Ethan Ho (DC Autosport), Sam Corry (VRD Racing) and Jorge Garciarce (DEForce Racing) were within a half-second.
The top six drivers represented six teams.
The 20 drivers completed 258 laps.
USF2000 Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis practice results
|1||17||Nikita Johnson||VRD Racing||1:26.4721||——||6|
|2||8||Lochie Hughes||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:26.5601||0.0880||10|
|3||22||Simon Sikes||Pabst Racing||1:26.5949||0.1228||14|
|4||1||Mac Clark||DEForce Racing||1:26.7419||0.2698||12|
|5||95||Chase Gardner||Exclusive Autosport||1:26.8365||0.3644||18|
|6||68||Ethan Ho||DC Autosport||1:26.8410||0.3689||19|
|7||14||Sam Corry||VRD Racing||1:26.8893||0.4172||11|
|8||10||Jorge Garciarce||DEForce Racing||1:26.9663||0.4942||16|
|9||90||Jacob Douglas||Exclusive Autosport||1:27.0685||0.5964||9|
|10||67||Elliot Cox||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development||1:27.1918||0.7197||12|
|11||24||Max Garcia||Pabst Racing||1:27.3357||0.8636||18|
|12||12||Maxwell Jamieson||DEForce Racing||1:27.3735||0.9014||18|
|13||6||Evagoras Papasavvas||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:27.4101||0.9380||10|
|14||33||Max Taylor||VRD Racing||1:27.4361||0.9640||7|
|15||7||Al Morey||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:27.5318||1.0597||16|
|16||92||Lucas Mann||Exclusive Autosport||1:27.5637||1.0916||20|
|17||19||Gordon Scully||VRD Racing||1:27.5730||1.1009||7|
|18||97||Zack Ping||VRD Racing||1:27.8699||1.3978||5|
|19||18||Danny Dyszelski||VRD Racong||1:27.9827||1.5106||10|
|20||93||Avery Towns||Exclusive Autosport||1:28.0043||1.5322||20|
The USF2000 Championship Presented By Cooper Tires series had a pair of test sessions earlier this afternoon. The only red flags were for tow-ins.
Sikes led the first test session with a lap at 86.4937 seconds, followed by Hughes, Johnson and Clark within five-hundredths of a second. VRD Racing rookie Gordon Scully turned 29 laps, the most of any driver.
Johnson led the second test session, lowering the best lap to 86.1871 seconds, with Hughes, Gardner, Papasavvas and Sikes within a half second of the fastest lap.
In case you missed it earlier, we posted a weekend preview.
The rest of the USF2000 Championship Presented By Cooper Tires schedule for this weekend is as follows (all times local):
- 8 am – USF2000 Qualifying
- 12:05 pm – USF2000 Race #1 (15 laps or 40 minutes)
- 2 pm – USF2000 Autograph Session (IMS Midway)
- 8 am – USF2000 Race #2 (15 laps or 40 minutes)
- noon – USF2000 Race #3 (15 laps or 40 minutes)
Don’t forget to download the USF Pro Championships Presented By Cooper Tires app to follow the action.