Braden Eves on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 91 Exclusive Autosport USF Pro 2000 machine (Photo Courtesy of TSO Ladder – Steve Wittich)

By Steve Wittich

Braden Eves, who last sat in a USF Pro Championships car at Portland International Raceway in 2022, didn’t take long to knock a year’s worth of rust off, leading the combined time sheet of the first day of USF Pro 2000 action during the two day combine on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Gahanna, Ohio native, a winner of five series races, turned in a quick lap of 82.5428 seconds on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Eves was piloting the No. 91 for Exclusive Autosport, a team he made 26 USF Pro 2000 starts for in 2020 and 2021.

The top six drivers – Eves, Jacob Douglas (Pabst Racing), Francesco Pizzi (TJ Speed Motorsports), Mac Clark (DEForce Racing), Christian Brooks (Turn 3 Motorsport) and Lochie Hughes (Jay Howard Driver Development) – represented six different teams, showing the competitiveness of the last step before INDY NXT.

The 17 drivers completed 769 laps (1875.591 miles) during the trio of 35-minute test sessions. Reigning USF2000 champion Simon Sikes (Pabst Racing) was the busiest driver, completing 56 laps.

Eves finished the two sessions he didn’t lead with the second-quickest lap time, making him the most consistent of the 17 competitors. Hughes and Clark led the other test sessions.

Very unofficial combined USF Pro 2000 timesheet from Saturday of the Fall Combine

191Braden EvesExclusive Autosport82.5428——152
219Jacob DouglasPabst Racing82.6260-0.0832151
326Francesco PizziTJ Speed Motorsports82.8869-0.3441141
48Mac ClarkDEForce Racing82.8892-0.3464155
52Christian BrooksTurn 3 Motorsport83.0016-0.4588137
65Lochie HughesJay Howard Driver Development83.0029-0.4601144
77Ricardo EscottoDEForce Racing83.1332-0.5904145
86Frankie MossmanJay Howard Driver Development83.2718-0.729133
912Jorge GarciarceDEForce Racing83.4608-0.918150
1044Danny DyszelskiTurn 3 Motorsport83.4809-0.9381145
1118Simon SikesPabst Racing83.6011-1.0583256
1227Liam SceatsTJ Speed Motorsports83.7056-1.1628339
1328Adam FitzgeraldTJ Speed Motorsports83.8390-1.2962154
143Tyke DurstTurn 3 Motorsport83.8636-1.3208145
1511Logan AdamsJay Howard Driver Development84.2291-1.6863337
164Niels KoolenJay Howard Driver Development84.2789-1.7361149
1783Charles FinelliFatboy Racing!85.9649-3.4221136