Archives for 2023 Ladder Coverage

DEForce Racing’s Brady Golan leads day one of the USF Juniors portion of Fall Combine at IMS

#18 Brady Golan, DEForce Racing, DEForce Racing (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

Brady Golan, who finished tenth in his rookie season of USF Juniors action with DEForce Racing, set an early tone during the first day of the Fall Combine on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The just-turned-16-year-old Texan topped the combined timesheet by a third of a second over Exclusive Autosport returnee and 2022 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series champion Jack Jeffers.

Golan, Jeffers and his rookie teammate Evan Cooley, who was turning his first laps in a formula car, each led one of the 35-minute test sessions.

Newcomers and teammates to Golan, Jeshua Alianell from the Woodlands, Texas and Bruno Ribeiro from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, had the third and fourth quickest times on the combined timesheet.

The baker’s dozen drivers completed 606 laps, with Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Hudson Potter turned 54 circuits, the most of any driver.

Very unofficial combined USF Juniors timesheet from Saturday of the Fall Combine.

118Brady GolanDEForce Racing90.5127——249
292Jack JeffersExclusive Autosport90.8439-0.3312349
317Jeshua AlianellDEForce Racing90.8658-0.3531250
416Bruno RibeiroDEForce Racing90.9257-0.413250
591Evan CooleyExclusive Autosport91.0293-0.5166245
67Ayden IngrattaJay Howard Driver Development91.1196-0.6069346
715Andre LagartixaVRD Racing91.3367-0.824253
88Timothy CarelJay Howard Driver Development91.5679-1.0552250
96George ArgyrosJay Howard Driver Development91.7731-1.2604118
103Aiden PotterJay Howard Driver Development91.9328-1.4201351
115Ava DobsonJayHoward Driver Development93.1595-2.6468339
1293Giovanni CabreraExclusive Autosport93.5512-3.0385352
134Hudson PotterJay Howard Driver Development94.5151-4.0024154

Eves quickly knocks off rust in USF Pro 2000 testing at IMS – six teams in top six on combined timesheet

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

USF Pro Season Wraps Up with Championship Celebration

PORTLAND, Ore. – Another exciting season of USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires competition concluded this weekend with champions in two of the three series being crowned at Portland International Raceway.

Myles Rowe, from Brooklyn, N.Y., bounced back from the bitter disappointment of narrowly losing out on the USF2000 title exactly one year ago by triumphing on the next step of the ladder, USF Pro 2000. Rowe also became the first African American driver to secure a major U.S. open-wheel championship.

After being able to contest only partial USF2000 campaigns during the past three seasons due to budgetary constraints, Simon Sikes, from Augusta, Ga., capitalized on his wealth of experience by clinching this year’s championship on Saturday before stylishly adding another race win to his burgeoning resume on Sunday.

Both Rowe and Sikes drove for teams entered by Pabst Racing, marking the long overdue first – and second – Driver Championships for stalwart third-generation racer-turned-team principal Augie Pabst. Pabst Racing also capped a remarkably successful campaign by securing its fifth USF2000 Team Championship since 2017 as well as its first USF Pro 2000 Team Championship.

Pabst became the first team to sweep all four titles since the inception of the “Road to Indy” concept in 2010.

And while USF Juniors champion Nicolas Giaffone, of DEForce Racing, wasn’t on track this weekend after his season wrapped up one week earlier at Circuit of The Americas in Texas, the Brazilian was on hand to soak up the atmosphere. Giaffone also gained some welcome additional exposure by being included in one of the USF2000 live stream broadcasts and taking part in a well-attended champion’s press conference in front of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES media on Saturday.

The accomplishments of all three champions, plus their respective title-winning teams, were acknowledged yesterday evening at the annual Championship Celebration hosted by Andersen Promotions and enjoyed by a strong turnout of drivers, sponsors, officials and guests beside the Columbia River just a few miles from downtown Portland.

A total of more than $1.55 million in Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarships and other awards were distributed during the evening which will continue a new raft of drivers’ graduation toward the eventual goal of a career in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Other highlights of the evening included heartfelt tributes to Chris Pantani, who for the past 14 years as Cooper Tires’ Senior Manager, Event Marketing, Sponsorships and Motorsports, has spearheaded a groundbreaking relationship which has propelled countless talented young racing drivers toward successful careers in a variety of motorsports disciplines.

The relationship between Andersen Promotions and Cooper Tires will shortly come to an end, although the globally acclaimed ladder system will continue to grow in stature following the recent announcement that Continental Tire will become the Official Tire and Presenting Partner of the USF Pro Championships beginning in 2024.

In the meantime, teams and drivers will have an opportunity to commence preparations for the 2024 season with the traditional USF Pro Fall Combine open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 21/22.

USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires Award Winners:

USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires

Champion: Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship package valued at $664,500 to advance to INDY NXT in 2024 – Myles Rowe, Pabst Racing with Force Indy

Second Place ($40,000) – Kiko Porto, DEForce Racing

Third Place ($20,000) – Salvador de Alba, Exclusive Autosport

Team Champion ($10,000) – Pabst Racing with Force Indy

Cooper Tires Rookie of the Year ($7,500) – Myles Rowe, Pabst Racing with Force Indy

Hi-Tide Spirit Award ($1,000) – Salvador de Alba, Exclusive Autosport

Tilton Hard Charger Award ($1,000 certificate) – Jordan Missig, Pabst Racing

YACademy Move of the Year ($1,000) – Jordan Missig, Pabst Racing

Makita Tools Mechanic of the Year ($1,000) – Tom Vasi, Pabst Racing

Carl Haas Golden Wishbone Award ($1,000 certificate) – Pabst Racing

Original Artwork by Jim Swintal – Myles Rowe, Pabst Racing with Force Indy

USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires

Champion: Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship package valued at $433,200 to advance to USF Pro 2000 in 2024 – Simon Sikes, Pabst Racing

Second Place ($30,000) – Nikita Johnson, VRD Racing

Third Place ($15,000) – Lochie Hughes, Jay Howard Driver Development

Team Champion ($7,500) – Pabst Racing

Hyperco Rookie of the Year ($2,500) – Lochie Hughes, Jay Howard Driver Development

Hi-Tide Spirit Award ($1,000) – Simon Sikes, Pabst Racing

Tilton Hard Charger Award ($1,000) – Chase Gardner, Exclusive Autosport

YACademy Move of the Year ($1,000) – Max Garcia, Pabst Racing

Makita Tools Mechanic of the Year ($1,000) – Jim Giustino, Pabst Racing

Carl Haas Golden Wishbone Award ($1,100) – Jay Howard Driver Development

Original Artwork by Jim Swintal – Simon Sikes, Pabst Racing

USF Junior Presented by Cooper Tires

Champion: Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship package valued at $241,890 to advance to USF2000 in 2024 – Nicholas Giaffone, DEForce Racing

Second Place ($25,000) – Quinn Armstrong, DEForce Racing

Third Place ($12,500) – Jack Jeffers, Exclusive Autosport

Team Champion ($7,500) – DEForce Racing

Cooper Tires Rookie of the Year ($2,500) – Nicolas Giaffone, DEForce Racing

Hi-Tide Spirit Award ($1,000) – Quinn Armstrong, DEForce Racing

Tilton Hard Charger Award ($1,000) – Giovanni Cabrera, Exclusive Autosport

YACademy Move of the Year ($1,000) – Erick Schotten, Exclusive Autosport

Makita Tools Mechanic of the Year ($1,000) – Omar Lopez, DEForce Racing

Carl Haas Golden Wishbone Award ($1,100) – VRD Racing

Original Artwork by Jim Swintal – Nicolas Giaffone, DEForce Racing


Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions: “Another fantastic year of young, talented drivers on all three levels of the USF Pro Championships putting out exciting racing as they learn and train to move all the way up to INDYCAR. Tonight, we honored the results that these fine young drivers achieved this season.”

Chris Pantani, Senior Manager, Event Marketing, Sponsorships and Motorsports, Cooper Tires: “The banquet is a culmination of all the activities we have throughout the year. We look forward to St. Pete, we look forward to the ovals but the banquet itself truly brings all the teams together to unify and celebrate our champions and those moving forward.”

Myles Rowe, USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Champion: “The evening was great. The support of everyone who came was phenomenal. It was a great event and I am just super grateful to be here to see this mission come to fruition and be completed. I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who came and everyone who supported me.”

Simon Sikes, USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Champion: “It has been an amazing Championship Celebration here in Portland from Andersen Promotions and everyone at the USF Pro Championships. I am so thankful to be here and see everyone’s faces. It really means the world to me and my fellow champions to be able to stand up here tonight and just enjoy all the hard work that has gone in over the entire 2023 season. It’s been incredible and I am just looking forward to next year.”

Nicolas Giaffone, USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires Champion: “This has been a tremendous evening. I enjoyed seeing everyone for one last time before the season officially ends. I loved having Dan [Andersen] and Chris [Pantani] beside me taking photos. This is an experience I will cherish forever. It is one of my best memories – my first season in the U.S., to be able to this, it is a dream come true for me and I hope I can be here again in this position in the coming years.”

USF2000 Champ Sikes Signs Off in Style with Portland Win

USF2000 Champ Sikes Signs Off in Style with Portland Win

PORTLAND, Ore. – Simon Sikes this evening capped an almost perfect weekend for Pabst Racing at Portland International Raceway by recording his sixth win of the season. Sikes, from Augusta, Ga., on Friday clinched the USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown, as well as a Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship valued at $433,200 to ensure graduation to the next step on the open-wheel ladder, USF Pro 2000, in 2024. A one-two finish yesterday also secured a fifth Team Championship since 2017 for Augie Pabst’s eponymous organization based in Oconomowoc, Wis.

New Zealand teenager Jacob Douglas couldn’t quite complete a weekend sweep of the Discount Tire Grand Prix of Portland, but still finished comfortably clear of VRD Racing’s Sam Corry, from Cornelius, N.C., a winner earlier this year at Indianapolis, who earned a long overdue podium result in third.


Pabst Racing once again led the field to the green today with Douglas having secured his third straight Cooper Tires Pole Award ahead of Sikes and 14-year-old Max Garcia, from Coconut Grove, Fla.

But it was Sikes who won the start, slicing confidently around the outside line in Turn One at the notorious Festival Curves chicane before assuming the inside line, and the lead, in Turn Two. The two Pabst cars were once again clearly the class of the field as they immediately romped away from their pursuers.

Douglas dropped back a little during the middle stages of the 25-lap, all-green race before closing in again during the final stages. Sikes, though, was unmoved as he took the checkered flag 0.6653 of a second ahead of his teammate and earned an eighth PFC Award of the year for Augie Pabst as the winning team owner.

Corry executed a bold move at the first corner to vault from eighth on the grid to third. He maintained that position until the finish despite the best efforts of Thomas Schrage, from Bethel, Ohio, who bounced back strongly from disappointing results on Friday and Saturday. Schrage, who had been fastest of all during the Thursday test day, had been obliged to switch to Exclusive Autosport’s backup car following difficulties in each of the first few races, but he adapted quickly and pressured Corry all the way to the checkered flag.

Corry’s drive earned him the Tilton Hard Charger Award.

After losing a couple of positions during the first few laps, Garcia chased Schrage gamely despite intense pressure from Jay Howard Driver Development’s Evagoras Papasavvas, from Loveland, Ohio.

Nikita Johnson also impressed – once again – for VRD Racing. Moments after briefly celebrating victory in the preceding USF Pro 2000 race, Johnson, 15, from Gulfport, Fla., strapped himself aboard VRD Racing’s No. 17 USF2000 Tatuus and lined up sixth on the grid. Johnson found himself odd man out at the Festival Curves, forced into the escape road as teammate Corry scythed through from behind, whereupon Johnson charged from the back of the pack to seventh at the finish, only a couple of seconds behind Papasavvas.

Another highly successful USF Pro Championships season will be formally wrapped up tomorrow evening at the traditional Championship Celebration in Portland. The focus then will switch toward the 2024 season, starting with the annual two-day USF Pro Fall Combine Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 21/22.

Provisional championship points after 18 of 18 races:

1. Simon Sikes, 447

2. Nikita Johnson, 344

3. Lochie Hughes, 335

4. Evagoras Papasavvas, 323

5. Mac Clark, 318

6. Jacob Douglas, 249

7. Sam Corry, 222

8. Jorge Garciarce, 212

9. Max Garcia, 207

10. Chase Gardner, 193

Simon Sikes (#22 Big Check Race Fans/Doug Mockett & Company/ Racing Tatuus USF-22): “It was a great race. First of all, congrats to Jacob. He got the first two (wins) and we had a great race. I think we disappeared from everyone, but he kept the pressure on all race and didn’t make it easy at all. What a way to cap off the season with Pabst Racing – another one-two and I can’t tell you how much that means to us, the team and everybody here. On the championship weekend, it just means so much more. A big thanks to all my supporters. I couldn’t have done it without them. It was a whole group effort and I think we showed our strength this weekend.”

Jacob Douglas (#23 JDM Properties-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22): “I didn’t have a great start and fell back to second at the first corner. I was pulling away with Simon the whole race and we were pretty close. A massive thanks to everyone at Pabst. They gave me an amazing car and I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity in the second half of the season. I am looking forward to next year.”

Sam Corry (#14 Red Line Oil/Fill-Rite/Stilo Helmets-VRD Racing Tatuus USF-22): “It was a good race and definitely very difficult today. The drivers behind us were making it hard and I was just pushing with the guys on the radio saying ‘two back, three back, keep pushing.’ I was really just trying to hit my marks as best as I could. Once I got to about five (laps) to go, the team came on the radio and said bring that horse home so that’s what I did. I can’t thank the VRD boys enough. They put together such a good race car. It has been an up and down season, but it is good to end on a high note and go into next year wanting more.”

Johnson, 15, Dominates USF Pro 2000 Finale for VRD

Johnson, 15, Dominates USF Pro 2000 Finale for VRD

PORTLAND, Ore. – Fifteen-year-old Nikita Johnson put on a clinic in this afternoon’s third race of the VP Racing Fuels Grand Prix of Portland weekend, the season finale for USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires. Johnson, from Gulfport, Fla., took the lead with a bold move at the first corner and held on to score his second victory in just five end-of-season starts as he looks to step up from USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires on a full-time basis in 2024.

Salvador de Alba, from Guadalajara, Mexico, rebounded from a disappointing first couple of races at Portland International Raceway to finish a strong second for Exclusive Autosport. It was enough to secure third in the championship. Jonathan Browne, from Ratoath, Ireland, also returned to prominence after a poor sequence of results to secure the final podium position for Turn 3 Motorsport.


Yesterday’s winner, Michael d’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y., started at the front of the field for Turn 3 Motorsport after snagging his sixth Cooper Tires Pole Award of the season. But d’Orlando was unable to hold off a charging Johnson, who drove around the outside at Turn One, which gave him the preferred inside line at Turn Two and a lead he never looked like losing.

In stark contrast to yesterday’s all-green race, today’s was strewn with incidents and caution periods, five in total. The restarts were crucial, but despite his tender years, Johnson was perfect in every single one as he led all 25 laps to take an accomplished victory.

Lirim Zendeli (TJ Speed Motorsports), from Bochum, Germany, and Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing) ran third and fourth in the early stages before colliding on the entrance to the Turn Nine/10 chicane. Both were out on the spot.

On one of the early restarts, Pabst Racing’s Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., dived to inside of d’Orlando for second place at Turn One. Stuck on the outside line, d’Orlando chose to take to the escape road, which immediately dropped him from second to 11th.

Denmark glimpsed an opportunity to go for the lead at Turn One following another restart after 14 laps, whereupon a huge sideways slide caused mayhem behind as virtually the entire field converged on Turn Two together. Denmark’s teammate, Myles Rowe, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was one of the casualties, forced into the pits to repair damage.

Browne, who started seventh, emerged from the melee in second place, with de Alba hot on his heels, although the Mexican finally took the place for good with a fine maneuver under braking for Turn One following another restart after 20 laps. De Alba kept the pressure on Johnson for the final seven laps without quite getting close enough to attempt a pass.

Denmark chased home Browne to snag his second fourth-place finish of the weekend, followed by d’Orlando, who did well to salvage fifth after his early off-course excursion. Italian Francesco Pizzi (TJ Speed Motorsports) finished hot on his heels and just ahead of Jordan Missig (Pabst Racing), from Channahon, Ill., who earned his fifth Tilton Hard Charger Award after making up 11 positions during the 30-lap race.

VRD Racing’s Dan Mitchell gained another PFC Award as the winning team owner

Rowe, who yesterday clinched a Discount Tire Driver Development Scholarship valued at $664,500 to ensure graduation to INDY NXT by Firestone in 2024, and his Pabst Racing with Force Indy team will formally receive their awards at the traditional Championship Celebration tomorrow evening in Portland.

After that the focus will switch toward the 2024 season, starting with the annual two-day USF Pro Fall Combine test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course on October 21/22.

Provisional championship points after 18 of 18 rounds:

1. Myles Rowe, 391

2. Kiko Porto, 326

3. Salvador de Alba, 291

4. Michael d’Orlando, 288

5. Lirim Zendeli, 259

6. Francesco Pizzi, 259

7. Jace Denmark, 252

8. Jonathan Browne, 230

9. Jack William Miller, 212

10. Joel Granfors, 206

Nikita Johnson (#17 Allen Exploration, LLC/Walker’s Cay-VRD Racing Tatuus IP-22): “I took control of the race in Turn One. I started in second, broke pretty late, went around the outside of Turn One and ended up in the middle for Turn Two and came out in first position. After that I just put my head down and pushed very hard. We had the car, thanks to the VRD crew, who gave me a rocket ship. We had a lot of yellows but I just did my best at the restarts. I think the restarts are what won the race. After that I just had to go to the finish, keep on knocking out nice laps. I want to thank my sponsors – PSA Check, Allen Exploration, Walker’s Cay and Tiger Precision Products – also Dan (Mitchell), Jacob (Loomis), Branden (Graham) and everybody at VRD for making this possible.”

Salvador de Alba (#91 Archandel/Red Cola/Mecano/Z Motors-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus IP-22): “I am very happy with this last race of the season. It was a really good race. I started ninth and finished second. It was a good way to end the season in thinking about next year. Let’s hope everything comes together and we make it back to the U.S. next year.”

Jonathan Browne (#2 Human Centred Movement/CRPS Awareness-Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus IP-22): “It was a tough race with a lot of restarts but I was able to capitalize on a few incidents and make my way through the field and up to second. Unfortunately I lost it to Salvador there at the end. I had to hang on from Jace who was applying pressure. It was a fun race but definitely tough work.”

USF2000 Portland Race #3 Starting Line-up

123JacobDouglas01:12.384Qualifying 2nd Best Time
222SimonSikes01:12.563Qualifying 2nd Best Time
324MaxGarcia01:12.674Qualifying 2nd Best Time
490ThomasSchrage01:12.856Qualifying 2nd Best Time
56EvagorasPapasavvas01:12.897Qualifying 2nd Best Time
617NikitaJohnson01:12.981Race 2
71MacClark01:12.992Qualifying 2nd Best Time
814SamCorry01:13.039Qualifying 2nd Best Time
968EthanHo01:13.182Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1010JorgeGarciarce01:13.190Qualifying 2nd Best Time
118LochieHughes01:13.230Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1233MaxTaylor01:13.318Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1367ElliotCox01:13.388Qualifying 2nd Best Time
147AlMorey01:13.394Race 2
1519GordonScully01:13.729Race 2
1657CarsonEtter01:13.792Race 2
1712MaxwellJamieson01:13.914Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1811LucasFecury01:13.962Qualifying 2nd Best Time
199AvaDobson01:15.585Race 2

USF Pro 2000 – Portland Race #3 Starting Line-up

11Michaeld’Orlando01:08.710Qualifying 2nd Best Time
217NikitaJohnson01:08.733Qualifying 2nd Best Time
399MylesRowe01:08.950Qualifying 2nd Best Time
412KikoPorto01:08.971Qualifying 2nd Best Time
57BijoyGarg01:08.998Qualifying 2nd Best Time
610LirimZendeli01:09.051Qualifying 2nd Best Time
72JonathanBrowne01:09.129Qualifying 2nd Best Time
820JaceDenmark01:09.256Qualifying 2nd Best Time
991SalvadorDe Alba01:09.341Qualifying 2nd Best Time
103LoukaSt-Jean01:09.365Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1140Jack WilliamMiller01:09.438Qualifying 2nd Best Time
124RicardoEscotto01:09.502Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1355FrancescoPizzi01:09.595Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1444DannyDyszelski01:09.602Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1593LindsayBrewer01:09.749Qualifying 2nd Best Time
166FrankieMossman01:09.823Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1732NicolasMonteiro01:10.037Qualifying 2nd Best Time
1819JordanMissig01:10.297Race 2
1995AveryTowns01:10.358Qualifying 2nd Best Time

USF Pro 2000 Portland Race #2 Race Report and Results

By Patrick Stephan

Before we get to USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires Race #2 we need to clean up a couple notes from yesterday’s Race 1.

Recall that 7 cars didn’t make it through the first corner, and after the event, race control penalized Ricardo Escotto, Nicholas Monteiro, and Salvador de Alba 30 seconds each for Avoidable Contact.

Escotto has also been excluded from Race #2 – “Exceeded Driver Penalty Points.”

The start of Race #2 was much better with the field getting through the chicane with Michael d’Orlando keeping the lead from the pole, and Lirim Zendeli, jumping from 6th up to second, followed by Rowe and Johnson.

On Lap 2, Nikita Johnson gets by Myles Rowe for the 3rd spot. Notably that’s where Johnson just finished in the USF 2000 race which ended about 15 minutes before the USF Pro 2000 started.

Salavador de Alba drops from about 11th to 17th on Lap 3, though we haven’t heard why just yet.

Lap 4 has d’Orlando leading Zendeli by 0.84. Further back, Danny Dyszelski passes Frankie Mossman for 13th.

The biggest mover as of Lap 5 is Zendeli from 6th to 2nd. Jace Denmark is up 2 spots to 6th from 8th and Jordan Missig has moved up to 12th from his 16th starting spot.

The championship battle has Myles Rowe in 4th, with Kiko Porto in 5th. Recall that the gap entering the race between Rowe and Porto is 52 points.

Michael d’Orlando leads Zendeli by 1.08 on Lap 8, with Johnson just a half second back and pushing the second place driver. Lap 9, the gap from Zendeli to Johnson is 0.2. Johnson looked inside at Turn 1, but did not make the pass on Lap 10, with the gap expanding slightly the next time by.

Back in the field, whatever issue de Alba suffered earlier was not terminal as he has passed Lindsay Brewer and then Mossman on consecutive laps and is now 14th.

Nikita Johnson gets by Lirim Zendeli on Lap 14, with Myles Rowe also coming along and moving to 3rd place.

The Lap 15 order is now d’Orlando by 2.9 seconds over Johnson, Rowe, Zendeli, Porto, Denmark, Garg, Browne, Miller, and Pizzi is 10th.

Frankie Mossman brings his Jay Howard Driver Development machine to pit lane on on Lap 17, with de Alba not up to 13th.

Jack William Miller passes Jonathan Browne for 8th on Lap 19.

Lap 20 – with 10 to go – has d’Orlando leading by 2.15 over Johnson with Rowe still in P3. Zendeli and Porto are 4th and 5th. Denmark, Garg, Miller, Browne, and Pizzi complete the Top 10.

The closest battle on the track looks to be for 4th as Zendeli has Porto 0.5 behind and Denmark is 0.9 further back.

de Alba and Dyszelski get by Missig on Lap 25 for the 11th and 12th spots.

Up front Porto is still close to Zendeli, but the Top 5 remains d’Orlando by 1.2, over Johnson, Rowe, Zendeli and Porto.

Avery Towns, running 16th spins at Turn 12, but is able to get pointed the right direction and continue.

Lap 28, d’Orlando leads by 0.8915

Lap 29, d’Orlando leads by 0.6120, which is about 4 car lengths at Turn 1 as they are working through the final lap.

Johnson, to repeat, is racing in both USF2000 and USF Pro 2000 this weekend and will finish the race 0.2529 behind d’Orlando.

This is d’Orlando’s 4th victory of 2023 to go along with wins at Road America, Mid-Ohio and Toronto.

Down in the chicane run-off area, Myles Rowe does some donuts to celebrate winning the 2023 USF Pro 2000 Championship. From Brooklyn, New York, Rowe was “discovered” by Indycar driver Will Power while go karting in Mooresville, North Carolina. After the race, Power was one of the many in the iNDYCAR community to come over and congratulate Rowe including several members of the Penske organization – both race team and Penske Entertainment.

This title provides the scholarship funding for Rowe to move to INDY NXT by Firestone in 2024.

d’Orlando said on the podium that this has been a very up and down year for him as he thanked his sponsors and particularly his family for being with him through thick and thin.

USF Pro 2000 by Firestone Portland Race #2 Unofficial Results:

PosCar #DriverLapsDiffSTTeam
11Michael d’Orlando30LAP 301Turn 3 Motorsport
217Nikita Johnson300.25292VRD Racing
399Myles Rowe302.27583Pabst Racing
410Lirim Zendeli307.31616TJ Speed Motorsports
512Kiko Porto307.84384DEForce Racing
620Jace Denmark308.68288Pabst Racing
77Bijoy Garg3010.53675DEForce Racing
840Jack William Miller3011.886811Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
92Jonathan Browne3015.20527Turn 3 Motorsport
1055Francesco Pizzi3015.774612TJ Speed Motorsports
1191Salvador de Alba3017.439Exclusive Autosport
1244Danny Dyszelski3020.189113Turn 3 Motorsport
1319Jordan Missig3022.62216Pabst Racing
143Louka St‑Jean3029.63610Turn 3 Motorsport
1593Lindsay Brewer3038.253214Exclusive Autosport
1695Avery Towns26Mechanical18Exclusive Autosport
176Frankie Mossman16Mechanical15Jay Howard Driver Development
1832Nicolas Monteiro‑‑‑DNS17TJ Speed Motorsports

Portland USF2000 Race #2 Race Report and Results

By Patrick Stephan

Pole sitter and yesterday’s Race #1 winner Jacob Douglas brings the field down to the green with the air temp 83F and the track up over 110F. Thomas Schrage is having some issue at the back of the field and has pulled off, then restarted his machine while the remainder of the field heads down the front straight for the start.

A couple cars have to bail on the start, going to driver’s left and missing the chicane.They weaved through the cones before rejoining as Douglas leads Max Garcia and 2023 USF2000 champion Simon Sikes through Turn 1. Could quite catch the car numbers and the field would go yellow after a couple of corners as Schrage car stopped again on the back stretch.

Under the yellow, the order was Douglas, Garcia, Sikes, Clark, Papasavvas, Johnson, Garciarce, Ho, Hughes, Corry, Morey, Max Taylor, Cox, Scully, Jamieson, Fecury, Etter, Dobson, Schrage.

On the restart, Mac Clark and Max Garcia get together on the far inside (driver’s right) under braking for Turn 1. Garcia looked to have gotten clipped as they moved back to the left to get the proper angle on the corner and he goes spinning across the track. He winds up in run off and back lightly in to the wall, picking up some rear wing damage.

Garcia is able to continue for the moment and we will stay green. Later we hear from race control that they will further review the incident between Clark and Garcia after the race.

On Lap 6, Douglas was leading Sikes by 0.45, with Clark, Johnson, Papasavvas, Garciarce, Ho, Hughes, Taylor and Cox rounding out the Top 10.

Sam Corry came down pit lane on Lap 7, dropping to 17th, but rejoining the race.

Lap 16 and Douglas continues to lead Sikes by 0.39 as they’ve put a gap on third place Mac Clark who is 3.1 back with Nikita Johnson 0.4 behind him. Papassavas is still fifth.

On Lap 18, Elliot Cox moves by Max Taylor for the 8th position.

Lap 20, Douglas has expanded his lead to 1.6 over Sikes with the battle looking to be for the final step on the podium.

Carson Etter gets by Gordon Scully for 11th to at the completion of Lap 24 and on the final circuit, we see Nikita Johnson pass Mac Clark for 3rd.

But, up front, Jacob Douglas takes the win by 0.3785 over Simon Sikes, with Johnson joining them on the podium. Clark and Papasavvas will round out the Top 5. They will be followed by Garciarce, Ho, Cox, Taylor and Morey is 10th.

Etter, Scully, Hughes, Jameison (passed Fecury on final lap for 14th). Dobson, Corry, Garcia and Schrage complete the field.

This is Douglas second win of his career, and second in a row.

Big movers in the race are Elliot Cox from 15th to 8th and Carson Etter from 18th to 11th.

USF 2000 presented by Cooper Tires Portland Race #2 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

PosCar #DriverLapsDiffSTTeam
123Jacob Douglas25LAP 251Pabst Racing
222Simon Sikes250.37852Pabst Racing
317Nikita Johnson255.33767VRD Racing
41Mac Clark255.71886DEForce Racing
56Evagoras Papasavvas255.885Jay Howard Driver Development
610Jorge Garciarce2516.459710DEForce Racing
768Ethan Ho2519.28919DC Autosport
867Elliot Cox2522.059215Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development
933Max Taylor2523.543712VRD Racing
107Al Morey2524.311513Jay Howard Driver Development
1157Carson Etter2536.127318DC Autosport
1219Gordon Scully2536.927117VRD Racing
138Lochie Hughes2538.731311Jay Howard Driver Development
1412Maxwell Jamieson2543.223314DEForce Racing
1511Lucas Fecury2543.502616DEForce Racing
169Ava Dobson2571.430419Jay Howard Driver Development
1714Sam Corry241 LAPS8VRD Racing
1824Max Garcia178 LAPS3Pabst Racing
1990Thomas Schrage‑‑‑Mechanical4Exclusive Autosport

USF Pro 2000 Portland Race #1 Notes and Results

By Patrick Stephan

The green flag waved at 5:33pm Pacific Time, and we didn’t come close to making it through there cleanly with cars scattered across the track, and short cutting the chicane.

d”Orlando made it through, and held the lead, with Lirim Zendeli, Kiko Porto, Jack William Miller and Myles Rowe – the championship leader would stay 5th, and running.

Nikita Johnson, who had just run the USF2000 race, and Danny Dyszelski made contact toward the front with Johnson spinning and stopping in the middle of Turn 2, his left rear suspension barely hanging on.

Back in the pack, everyone stacked up and Ricardo Escotto winds up with his nose high in the air, bouncing over a car, then landing in the run-off and going through a sign. Others involved, many with major suspension damage are: Jonathan Browne, Lindsay Brewer, Frankie Mossman, and Nicolas Monteiro.

After four laps of yellow, race control brought the field to pit lane to get the order correct. They announced they would position cars based on the final timing line before the chicane.

Rowe was able to make it through the mess on the start, and now with just 12 cars running seems to be a great position to lock up the championship in this race. His lead entering the event was 58 points over Porto.

The red would be very brief, and we’d go back to green at the completion of Lap 5, and would again have some action at Turn 1. Porto moved to the inside and d’Orlando locked a wheel, then lifted off the brakes and rolled the run-off inside of the curbing. Lirim Zendeli would also short cut the corner.

Race control reviewed the start and instructed the #1 of d’Orlando and the #10 of Zendeli to drop to the end of the line for cutting the course.

d’Orlando would take a lap longer, but both would observe the penalty.

On Lap 9, Jack William Miller got squeezed in to the wall at Turn 9. Salvador de Alba moved to the right at the end of the backstretch, but wasn’t quite clear of Miller who was on the outside and in the preferred line to arc in to the corner. The contact would sent Miller to the pits. Race control indicates they will further review the incident post race.

Up front, Kiko Porto got the lead after d’Orlando picked up his penalty.

Lap 12 and Porto leads by 0.5 over Myles Rowe, Bijoy Garg, Jace Denmark and Louka St-Jean.

If Porto is able to stay ahead of Rowe, that takes the championship fight to at least tomorrow’s race #2 of 3 this weekend.

The biggest mover to this point is Jordan Missig who had started 19th after crashing in qualifying and halfway through the race was up to 8th.

Lap 15, the order is Porto, Rowe, Garg, Denmark, St. Jean, de Alba, Pizzi, Missig, d’Orlando, Towns, Miller (off), Zendeli, Browne, Johnson, Dyszelski, Escotto, Brewer, Mossman, Monteiro.

Zendeli has returned to run additional laps, and is now 11th, but 7 laps down.

Rowe was closing on Porto over the final laps, with the gap 0.8 with 2 to go and just 0.6461 when they duo took the white flag.

Rowe did not mount a passing attempt at Turn 1, and would follow Porto to the finish line, 0.6889 back. Bijoy Garg finished 3rd, Jace Denmark 4th and Louka St-Jean 5th.

With the win, Porto has cut Rowe’s lead to 51 entering race #2 tomorrow. Recall it’s 30 for a win, and 2 for 19th. So it still takes a couple really bad races for Rowe, which is certainly possible as the first start showed us with 7 cars not completing the opening lap.

This is Porto’s 3rd win of his USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires career, and second of 2023. He previously won in 2022 at Mid-Ohio (2) and last month at Circuit of the America’s (2). This was his 33rd start in USF Pro 2000.

Bijoy Garg notched a career best finish coming home third. That’s his first podium in 18 starts with his previous best coming earlier this season at Mid-Ohio (1).

This is Rowe’s 8th podium in 16 USF Pro 2000 starts (all this season). It’s his second P2 to go along with 5 wins.

More details to follow late tonight and tomorrow morning.

UNOFFICIAL: USF Pro 2000 Portland Race #1 Results

PosCar #DriveLapsDiffTeam
112Kiko Porto30LAP 30DEForce Racing
299Myles Rowe300.6889Pabst Racing
37Bijoy Garg306.8546DEForce Racing
420Jace Denmark308.6684Pabst Racing
53Louka St‑Jean3012.8039Turn 3 Motorsport
691Salvador de Alba3013.0677Exclusive Autosport
755Francesco Pizzi3013.8829TJ Speed Motorsports
819Jordan Missig3014.719Pabst Racing
91Michael d’Orlando3016.1855Turn 3 Motorsport
1095Avery Towns3034.6245Exclusive Autosport
1110Lirim Zendeli237 LAPSTJ Speed Motorsports
1240Jack William Miller8ContactMiller Vinatieri Motorsports
132Jonathan Browne1ContactTurn 3 Motorsport
1417Nikita Johnson‑‑‑ContactVRD Racing
1544Danny Dyszelski‑‑‑ContactTurn 3 Motorsport
164Ricardo Escotto‑‑‑ContactJay Howard Driver Development
1793Lindsay Brewer‑‑‑ContactExclusive Autosport
186Frankie Mossman‑‑‑ContactJay Howard Driver Development
1932Nicolas Monteiro‑‑‑ContactTJ Speed Motorsports
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