By Patrick Stephan
Kiko Porto and Jack William Miller crept to the starting line and then we had a four wide drag race to Turn 1. Someone mid pack takes the escape road, as Porto leads through Turn 1. Also had a few cars short-cut Turn 6, didn’t catch the car but race control is looking at it.
Just as they started Lap 2 we go full course yellow due to debris in Turn 5, appears to be a wing from Bijoy Garg who comes to pit lane.
Under the yellow race control moves Jace Denmark in front of Ricardo Escotto due to a pass under yellow.
The order for what should be a quick yellow is Porto, d’Orlando, Miller, Zendell, Granfors, Pizzi, Ushijima, Browne, Rowe (10th).
They were about to go green again but had to wave off to correct the above mentioned shortcuts we saw on the first lap. They have put the start under review also. And a couple minutes later announce 1 to on Lap 5.
Porto leads d’Orlando down the front straight as clouds are building and darkening over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
They again are nearly side by side for the lead, but Porto keeps the lead as another car takes the run-off. Sorry, I’m not great at ID’ing some of these team cars. Pizzi got by Granfors for 5th and Myles Rowe moves up to 7th.
Porto leads by just 0.2211 over d’Orlando who is pushing hard for the lead. Pizzi moves to 4th.
Lap 8 and Granfors spins in Turn 1 and then pulls to the inside of Turn 1 to use take the escape road to head back to the paddock with a broken wheel from earlier contact.
Up front it’s Porto, d’Orlando a half second back, then Miller, Pizzi, Zendell, Rowe, Browne, Ushijima, Weir, Escotto is 10th. Denmark, Lee, De Alba, Brewer, Monteiro, Garg, Sundaramoorthy, Finelli, Granfors, Missig.
Lap 11 – YELLOW for conditions it has started to rain on the south portion of the circuit. Pace Car driver Gail Truess reports that grip is pretty good initially, then she gets to Turn 7 – “it’s raining harder”. Next time around she tells race control they have lost the south end of the track – and now we can clearly see that just looking out the window.
Lap 12 and RED FLAG is out and cars are sent to their pit boxes. This is a closed red right now. Team’s can give the driver’s an umbrella and a drink bottle – but no work allowed on the cars.
Once all the cars got to their pit boxes, the teams were allowed three workers over the wall plus an observer. Race Control has mandated rain tires and teams have 5 minutes to complete their work. Rules require that driver’s take the green for the restart with the rain tires on, but they can then elect to change to dry tires if desired.
This race is scheduled for 25 laps and the clock has stopped with 13 completed. Race Control has now called this a timed race as the cars roll off and it will stop 50 minutes after it started. The clock on T&S shows 13:30 as drivers roll through Turn 9.
And you’ll be shocked to hear it’s not raining any longer as we go back to green. Track temp is down to 94F. d’Orlando tries to takes the lead from Porto in Turn 1 as every car makes it through relatively cleanly. But Porto prevails on the outside. Next lap they are three wide at Turn 3, and d’Orlando gets the lead and Miller takes P2 with Porto now third on Lap 16.
3:44:35 is announced as the time to end this race, a little under 10 minutes from “now” (16 laps completed).
Lap 17 d’Orlando leads Miller by 0.4133, but Miller gets the lead at Turn 7/8. They go side by side through Turn 1 with d’Orlando on the outside, but that becomes the inside of Turn 2 and Miller is back to 2nd. Porto is third, then Browne, Escotto, Ushijima who passed Pizzi, DeAlba is next after he passed Weir.
Myles Rowe – the point leader – has come to pit lane.
Miller was trying to look inside of d’Orlando and Escotto goes around the outside to take 2nd.
Lap 20 and Escotto gets around d’Orlando to take the lead as Miller is fading – potentially with front wing damage. That moved Ushijima to 3rd.
2:30 remaining as of Lap 21 and Ushijima is within 0.76 of d’Orlando for 2nd.
White flag in the air and Reece Ushijima has passed d’Orlando for 2nd. Further down Jackson Lee and Yuven Sundaramoorthy picked up a couple spots on the lap preceding the white flag. They were in a group and now run 9th and 10th.
Checkered flag falls on Ricardo Escotto, the winner of the USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Ushijima and d’Orlando round out the podium.
Browne got 4th on the final lap and Miller finished 5th – and then stopped out on the track and needed to be retrieved by safety.
This is Escotto’s first win in USF Pro 2000. His previous best finish in four races this season was 10th at Sebring #2.
Escotto, an 18 year old from Mexico City started 12th. Other big movers were Salvador De Alba from 15th to 6th, Christian Weir from 4th to 8th and Yuven Sundaramoorthy 19th to 9th.
|1||4||Ricardo Escotto||23||LAP 23||4||12||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|2||6||Reece Ushijima||23||In Pit||8||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|3||1||Michael d’Orlando||23||In Pit||3||4||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|4||2||Jonathan Browne||23||In Pit||6||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|5||40||Jack William Miller||23||10.3787||1||2||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports|
|6||91||Salvador De Alba||23||In Pit||15||Exclusive Autosport|
|7||12||Kiko Porto||23||In Pit||15||1||DEForce Racing|
|8||32||Christian Weir||23||In Pit||14||TJ Speed Motorsports|
|9||90||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||23||In Pit||19||Exclusive Autosport|
|10||47||Jackson Lee||23||In Pit||9||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|11||55||Francesco Pizzi||23||27.4545||3||TJ Speed Motorsports|
|12||93||Lindsay Brewer||23||27.8108||18||Exclusive Autosport|
|13||83||Charles Finelli||23||28.1154||20||FatBoy Racing|
|14||10||Lirim Zendeli||23||29.7156||5||TJ Speed Motorsports|
|15||81||Nicholas Monteiro||23||39.2138||16||NeoTech Motorsport|
|16||20||Jace Denmark||23||In Pit||13||Pabst Racing|
|17||7||Bijoy Garg||22||1 LAPS||7||DEForce Racing|
|18||99||Myles Rowe||21||2 LAPS||10||Pabst Racing|
|19||19||Jordan Missig||17||6 LAPS||17||Pabst Racing|
|20||92||Joel Granfors||8||Mechanical||11||Exclusive Autosport|