By Patrick Stephan

Simon Sikes brought the field to green with contact near the back as the flag was waving. Four wide down the front straight and Papasavvas gets by as the field makes it through Turn 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…maybe…yes, 8, 9, and someone goes of at Turn 10…it’s the 90 of Jacob Douglas in the grass on the outside of Turn 10.

Jorge Garciarce is also involved and he limped his car to pit lane with the left front suspension broken and pointed the wrong direction.

On the start, the field packed up before the green flew and accordioned with the Chase Gardner getting into the rear of Jorge Garciarce as row 6 met row 5. Not sure of Gardner got help, but seemed like some were launching and others hadn’t gone yet and the field was very tightly packed.

Lap 3 order under yellow is Papasavvas, Hughes, Johnson, Clark, Corry, Sikes, Cox, Garcia, Taylor, Scully, Dyszelski, Ho, Towns, Morey, Jameison, Mann, Ping, Gardner (back on track with new front wing), Garciarce (also coming back out after suspension repairs), and Douglas.

Towns and Taylor get penalties for jumping the original start.

Back to green. Hughes gets the lead from Papasavvas, who is also passed by Nikita Johnson. Sikes gets back to 4th, Clark, Cox, Corry, Garcia, Taylor, Dyszelski are the Top 10.

Taylor warned to serve the penalty or he will be black flagged, Towns had already come down.

Sikes inside of Johnson to 2nd at Turn on Lap 7. Report of debris (hatch cover) on track near Turn 14, but off line. Surface flag being shown there.

Garciarce gets a drive through for avoidable contact from that incident with Towns earlier.

Lap 7 completed order is Hughes by 1.8

Spin at Turn 5 by Elliot Cox, and…Full Course Yellow. Hughes, Sikes, Johnson, Papasavvas, Clark, Ho, Gardner, Scully, Morey, Dyszelski, Ping, Mann, Taylor, Corry, Cox, Garciarce,Towns, Jameison, Douglas.

Corry and Cox had been battling earlier, but haven’t see a replay of what put Cox in to the tire barrier inside Turn 5. Race Control must have seen it though as Sam Corry is assessed a penalty for avoidable contact. He is already out of the car after having already pulled the car to pit lane after the incident. Clean-up taking a bit as Cox car is placed on the flat bed and tire barrier repairs are made.

The top three on the track are also the top three in USF2000 points entering this race. Hughes has 154, Sikes 147, Johnson 119, and Papasavvas 93. Corry came in to the race in 5th, with Mac Clark 6th – that should change with Corry now out.

Hughes leads the field to the restart zone that begins at Pit In but they don’t launch until nearly the front straight. Sikes took the lead on the outside, but slipped to the grass slightly and Hughes got the lead back by Turn 2. Johnson is now P2.

Lap 13 completed and Hughes leads by 0.43, Johnson is second, Garcia also got by Sikes who is now 4th, Clark, Ho, Papasavvas, Gardner, Dyszelski, Scully.

Gardner is now off the track at Turn 9. Told to stay in the car and most of the track stays green.

Last lap Sikes goes around Garcia to get back on the podium at Turn 7 and we see Gardner sitting next to the tire barrier drivers left of Turn 9…possibly had pulled off to that spot.

Hughes wins by 0.35 over Johnson and Sikes.

In victory lane Hughes notes his up and down weekend, even though he finished well. Tries to say “always a bridesmaid never a bride,” but laughing says, “always a bridesmaid, never a groom…or whatever that is.”

The 21 year old from Gold Coast Australia notes in victory lane that it’s already Mothers Day back home so he says hello his mom. Nice sentiment and I’m sure appreciated at 2:30am on Sunday morning in Australia.

The order is unofficial, I believe Mac Clark has a 5 second penalty coming for blocking earlier in the race. It was announced as a 5 second post race penalty…perhaps pushing him from 5th to 11th.

  • This is Lochie Hughes 3rd win of the season (St Pete #1 and Sebring #1)
  • If this race weekend was scored like outdoor motorcross, Hughes is the overall winner having gone 2nd, 2nd, 1st at IMS.
  • The Top 3 in points will remain as noted above.
  • Hughes had started 4th
  • Biggest mover of the race – Ping 19th to 11th.
PosCar #DriverLapsDiffLedSTStatusTeam
18Lochie Hughes15LAP 15114ActiveJay Howard Driver Development
217Nikita Johnson150.35862ActiveVRD Racing
322Simon Sikes151.59111ActivePabst Racing
424Max Garcia151.90696ActivePabst Racing
51Mac Clark152.64575ActiveDEForce Racing
668Ethan Ho153.57911ActiveDC Autosport
76Evagoras Papasavvas153.970143ActiveJay Howard Driver Development
818Danny Dyszelski154.666813ActiveVRD Racong
933Max Taylor154.989514ActiveVRD Racing
1019Gordon Scully157.546316ActiveVRD Racing
1197Zack Ping157.738119ActiveVRD Racing
1292Lucas Mann158.434118ActiveExclusive Autosport
137Al Morey159.211315ActiveJay Howard Driver Development
1410Jorge Garciarce141 LAPS10ActiveDEForce Racing
1595Chase Gardner13Off Course12Off CourseExclusive Autosport
1614Sam Corry8Contact7ContactVRD Racing
1767Elliot Cox7Contact9ContactSarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development
1893Avery Towns4Contact17ContactExclusive Autosport
1912Maxwell Jamieson4Contact20ContactDEForce Racing
2090Jacob DouglasContact8ContactExclusive Autosport