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Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park – Salvador De Alba Secures Cooper Tires Freedom 90 Win in USF Pro 2000

By Tony DiZinno

The temps were down to 67F ambient for the start of the USF Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires, five degrees cooler than USF2000, with green flag about 15 minutes later than originally scheduled (9:45 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m.) at the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Miller leads the 18 Tatuus USF-22 cars to green, or means to. But the field was so stacked up coming through Turns 3 and 4, so the initial start is waved off. Green comes out at the second attempt with a bit of a chaotic series of movement.

Pizzi around the outside made gains while de Alba goes to the inside and shoots past both Pizzi and Miller to go from third to first. 

At the end of Lap 2, revised order from grid is de Alba, Miller, Pizzi, Granfors and Denmark top five with d’Orlando, Row, Browne, Weir and Lee the top 10.

Ten laps fly by at this track; it took under four minutes to run the first 10 laps of this 90-lap race. 

From the back of the field, Missig has gained eight spots P18 to P10. 

On L19 the gap from de Alba to Miller is back to 0.6 of a second. 

It’s only 22 laps in, but leaders should look out for traffic in the next 4-6 laps. 

Indeed end of L28, Monteiro and Brewer are just ahead of de Alba. Pivotal moment ahead for the Mexican driver. Monteiro by Brewer for P17 on L28. 

Gap now 0.4 L30 – de Alba by Brewer. 

Further back, Denmark and Rowe super tight battling over sixth; the USF2000 title combatants of a year ago run behind d’Orlando in P5, who beat them both. 

De Alba gains 0.4 in traffic over Miller by L32. But loses some time as he approaches the Monteiro/Garg/Escotto battle.

Now stuck behind Monteiro, Miller within 0.3 on de Alba.

Pizzi by Miller outside P2 tried and loses it

Granfors now gets by Pizzi on L38 for P3.

The halfway gap is 0.5 91 to 40. The order: de Alba, Miller, Granfors, Pizzi and d’Orlando the top five with Rowe, Denmark, Browne, Weir and Missig the top 10.

The leaders are approaching Monteiro again L49; he managed to stay ahead of the leaders last go-around. 

Rowe, meanwhile, is catching d’Orlando for fifth. 

Denmark has a big issue L55, drops to P10 with a 23.519 lap while rest in 21s. Browne, Weir and Missig are all by. He loses another spot next lap to Sundaramoorthy and now into pits L57 for a right rear tire change. TBD if he’ll return.  

Thirty to go L60. Rowe trying on d’Orlando, will use Brewer as a pick to get by low side. Gets to P5 L63.

Granfors make a move on Miller for second L64, inside. Now just 0.4 behind de Alba.

Granfors appears to be holding onto his Cooper Tires better than de Alba up front and is gaining 1.5-2 tenths a lap.

De Alba by Monteiro – finally on L69 – but Granfors follows him through. 

Twenty to go L70. De Alba tries L71 inside and is past Lee. Granfors clears him T3-4.

Denmark returns to track L72, out of contention but will gain some additional track time/testing. 

Fifteen to go. Gap 0.4 between De Alba and Granfors. 

Eleven to go. De Alba extends gap to 1.0 by L79. 

Full course caution comes on L81 when Weir hits the wall and stops exiting Turn 4. Car is taken away with left front and rear damage.

Doubtful we’ll be able to restart and indeed we don’t, so de Alba wins and leads an Exclusive Autosport 1-2 over Granfors in second with Miller in third.

Cooper Tires Freedom 90 Unofficial Results

191Salvador de AlbaExclusive Autosport90LAP 90
292Joel GranforsExclusive Autosport900.517
340Jack William MillerMiller Vinatieri Motorsports901.047
455Francesco PizziTJ Speed Motorsports901.947
599Myles RowePabst Racing w/Force Indy904.311
61Michael d’OrlandoTurn 3 Motorsport908.747
72Jonathan BrowneTurn 3 Motorsport909.250
819Jordan MissigPabst Racing909.897
990Yuven SundaramoorthyExclusive Autosport9010.197
1012Kiko PortoDEForce Racing9012.347
116Reece UshijimaJay Howard Driver Development891 LAPS
1247Jackson LeeTurn 3 Motorsport891 LAPS
1381Nicholas MonteiroNeoTech Motorsport891 LAPS
147Bijoy GargDEForce Racing891 LAPS
154Ricardo EscottoJay Howard Driver Development882 LAPS
1693Lindsay BrewerExclusive Autosport873 LAPS
1732Christian WeirTJ Speed Motorsports80Retired
1820Jace DenmarkPabst Racing7515 LAPS

Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park – Mac Clark Delivers Dominant Drive in Cooper Tires Freedom 75

By Tony DiZinno

The field of 16 USF2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires competitors in their Tatuus USF-22 chassis took the green flag at 8:54 p.m., 24 mins after the scheduled start of 8:30.

Additional infield temporary lighting helps to illuminate the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park as some of the taller floodlights aren’t fully lit.

The sun is setting as the race is about to get going. Ambient temp of 72 for race start. 

Clark led the field away ahead of Papasavvas with Johnson up to third past Gardner, Hughes completing the top five. 

Gardner making a run on the low line around Johnson. He completes the pass after Lap 6 at the start of Lap 7. Further back in the pack, Cox and Garcia are big movers up three spots apiece to eighth and ninth from 11th and 12th on the grid. 

First full course yellow end of Lap 12 for Dyselzki stopped at pit in Turn 3. This wipes out a 1.6-second lead Clark had on Papasavvas. 

Restart comes end of Lap 17 start of Lap 18 as Clark, who’s kept the No. 1 DEForce Racing entry up front since the start, leads away. Gardner and Johnson remain side by side for third a little further behind.

Sikes closing on Hughes for P5, inside going into T1 L26 and clear for P5 exiting T4 L26. Hughes trying him back on the next lap and the two title combatants remain side-by-side. 

Clark has the gap on Papasavvas back to 1.6 seconds at L30. 

He’ll also be closing on traffic in the next several laps; Scully in P15 is last car running. Clark clears him on L34, through T3 and T4. Gets Jamieson a couple laps later. 

Halfway home in the Cooper Tires Freedom 75 – Lap 38 of 75 – and order is: 

Clark, Papasavvas, Gardner, Sikes (now fourth after passing Johnson), Johnson, Hughes, Morey, Cox, Garcia and Garciarce in top 10 with Towns, Corry and Brienza on the lead lap, Jamieson and Scully lapped and Dyselzski out of the race.

The gap from Clark to Papasavvas is 1.966 seconds at half distance.

Johnson now back by Sikes for fourth in the battle for best of the rest outside the podium runners. Sikes regains the spot on Lap 44. 

Clark has extended the gap to 3.381 seconds by Lap 47. 

With 25 laps to go, the top 11 cars are on the lead lap. Garcia is now up to eighth past Cox on Lap 52. 

Sikes has closed to mere hundredths on Gardner for third and completes the pass end of L63 exit of T4, after reeling him in. Gardner repossess him thought exit of T4 on the following lap in what has quickly blossomed into a great battle. 

Ambient temp has dropped three degrees to 69F since race start as at 9:21, the track is completely lit.

The Sikes/Gardner battle rages for four more laps, but Sikes finally completes the pass after the exchange by the end of L68. Further back Garcia gains another spot, now up to P7.

Five to go on L70. 

Clark brings it home after an authoritative flag-to-flag performance from pole. Papasavvas second and Sikes third, a smart drive that may pay dividends for him later this year.

“It feels great. I knew we had a strong car coming to the race and we put it together yesterday. To put it together with these boys… it’s been since Portland when we had a win. So it’s been a bit of a drought!” said Clark, referencing his most recent win in 2022. This is his second USF2000 win, first on an oval.

Talking championship aspirations for the rest of the year:

“For a Canadian reference… this is the TSN Turning Point of our season! We can fight for the championship. We have what, four rounds left? Lots of racing.

“Now it’s about being smart. We clawed back a little bit of ground. You can’t have a DNF, you can’t have a mechanical failure. It needs to be all brains from here.”

Any advice he received coming in?

“I got some good advice; well my dad taught me how to drive. Hinch was texting me before the race! He’s won big races before and he had a bit for me. It helped. 

Cooper Tires Freedom 75 Unofficial Results

11Mac ClarkDEForce Racing75LAP 75
26Evagoras PapasavvasJay Howard Driver Development753.752
322Simon SikesPabst Racing7510.529
495Chase GardnerExclusive Autosport7512.273
517Nikita JohnsonVRD Racing7516.479
68Lochie HughesJay Howard Driver Development7517.880
724Max GarciaPabst Racing7518.117
87Al MoreyJay Howard Driver Development7518.928
967Elliot CoxSarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dev7519.423
1010Jorge GarciarceDEForce Racing7520.226
1193Avery TownsExclusive Autosport741 LAPS
1214Sam CorryVRD Racing732 LAPS
1312Maxwell JamiesonDEForce Racing732 LAPS
1491Joey BrienzaExclusive Autosport732 LAPS
1519Gordon ScullyVRD Racing723 LAPS
1618Danny DyszelskiVRD Racing9Retired

Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park – Mac Clark Claims Freedom 75 USF2000 Pole – Qualifying Notes and Quick Preview

#1 Mac Clark, DEForce Racing, Valkyrie AI, ARM, Clubine Motorsports. Photo by Gavin Baker – USF Pro Championships

By Tony DiZinno

Mac Clark will led the 16-car field to green for tonight’s USF2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires race, the Cooper Tires Freedom 75, at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The young Canadian in the Tatuus USF-22 drove his No. 1 DEForce Racing car to two laps at 44.962 seconds and an average speed of 109.853mph around the 0.686-mile oval.

Evagaoras Papasavvas was next in the first Jay Howard Driver Development entry ahead of Chase Gardner (Exclusive Autosport), Nikita Johnson (VRD Racing) and points leader Lochie Hughes (JHDD).

Second in points, Simon Sikes, will roll off from ninth in his Pabst Racing entry.

Michael d’Orlando of Cape Motorsports won the last two USF2000 races on the oval in 2021 and 2022. Christian Rasmussen (JHDD) took the 2020 win, with other winners with this Tatuus chassis including Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing) in 2019 and Kyle Kirkwood (Cape) in 2018.

The only oval on the schedule means the USF2000 field has a slightly different points structure.

A win is 45 points, second 38, third 33, fourth 29, fifth 26, with the remainder of the top 10 23-21-20-18-17 and then 15 for 11th down to 2 for 20th.

Hughes holds a 14-point lead on Sikes (185-171) with Johnson on 144, Papasavvas on 106 and Sam Corry on 94 completing the top five.

Qualifying Results

PosNo.DriverTeamLap 1Lap 2Total TimeAvg. Speed
11Mac ClarkDEForce Racing22.43722.52544.962109.853
26Evagoras PapasavvasJay Howard Driver Development22.56622.45345.019109.714
395Chase GardnerExclusive Autosport22.58722.63645.223109.219
417Nikita JohnsonVRD Racing22.69722.75545.452108.668
58Lochie HughesJay Howard Driver Development22.80222.69345.495108.566
67Al MoreyJay Howard Driver Development22.96822.82945.797107.850
710Jorge GarciarceDEForce Racing22.94322.93845.881107.652
814Sam CorryVRD Racing22.92223.00545.927107.545
922Simon SikesPabst Racing23.04022.83645.876107.664
1093Avery TownsExclusive Autosport22.93223.06045.992107.393
1167Elliot CoxSarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dev23.04223.02346.065107.222
1224Max GarciaPabst Racing23.28323.16346.446106.343
1391Joey BrienzaExclusive Autosport23.25123.23446.485106.254
1412Maxwell JamiesonDEForce Racing24.06123.88847.949103.009
1519Gordon ScullyVRD Racing-.—--.—-No TimeNo Speed
DQ18Danny DyszelskiVRD Racing22.61622.71745.333108.954

Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park – Jack William Miller Claims USF Pro 2000 Pole for Freedom 90 – Qualifying Notes and Quick Preview

#40 Jack William Miller, Miller Vinatieri Motorsports, Patterson Dental, Blue Marble Productions. Photo by Gavin Baker – USF Pro Championships

By Tony DiZinno

Jack William Miller will lead the 18-car field of USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires competitors to the green flag for Friday night’s Cooper Tires Freedom 90 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The Carmel, Indiana native in his No. 40 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports lapped the 0.686-mile oval in a total of 41.726 seconds over two laps, equating to an average speed of 118.372mph.

Miller’s MVM Tatuus IP-22 was ahead of two Exclusive Autosport entries, Joel Granfors and Salvador de Alba. Granfors, the 18-year-old Swede, is fresh off his first USF Pro 2000 win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course earlier this month and will look to emulate last year’s series champion and Exclusive Autosport driver, Louis Foster, in winning on the IRP oval shortly after capturing his first series win on the IMS road course.

TJ Speed Motorsports’ Francesco Pizzi and Pabst Racing with Force Indy’s Myles Rowe complete the top five on the grid.

Rowe enters the race with a 39-point lead on Kiko Porto, who only qualified his DeForce Racing entry in 11th place (139-100). Pizzi is third on 99, Granfors fourth on 95 and Jace Denmark fifth on 91.

The only oval on the schedule means the USF Pro 2000 field has a slightly different points structure.

A win is 45 points, second 38, third 33, fourth 29, fifth 26, with the remainder of the top 10 23-21-20-18-17 and then 15 for 11th down to 2 for 20th.

Key to the race in recent years? Tire management. Drivers need to hold onto their Cooper Tires over the course of 90 laps, and often times, managing the fall-off and keeping enough in hand when encountering slower traffic decides the winner.

Foster’s win last year was for Exclusive Autosport. Other recent winners with the Tatuus chassis include: Christian Rasmussen for Jay Howard Driver Development (2021), Kody Swanson for Legacy Autosport (2020), Danial Frost for Exclusive Autosport (2019) and Parker Thompson for Exclusive Autosport (2018).

Qualifying Results

PosNo.DriverTeamLap 1Lap 2Total TimeAvg. Speed
140Jack William MillerMiller Vinatieri Motorsports20.75820.96841.726118.372
292Joel GranforsExclusive Autosport20.91020.84941.759118.279
391Salvador de AlbaExclusive Autosport21.02220.87341.895117.895
455Francesco PizziTJ Speed Motorsports21.06620.89641.962117.706
599Myles RowePabst Racing w/Force Indy21.13720.89342.030117.516
620Jace DenmarkPabst Racing21.18220.95042.132117.232
71Michael d’OrlandoTurn 3 Motorsport21.11921.21042.329116.686
82Jonathan BrowneTurn 3 Motorsport21.14421.24542.389116.521
932Christian WeirTJ Speed Motorsports21.18721.23642.423116.427
1047Jackson LeeTurn 3 Motorsport21.29121.25042.541116.104
1112Kiko PortoDEForce Racing21.38421.20442.588115.976
124Ricardo EscottoJay Howard Driver Development21.41521.29742.712115.640
1381Nicholas MonteiroNeoTech Motorsport21.42121.30842.729115.594
147Bijoy GargDEForce Racing21.37621.36242.738115.569
1590Yuven SundaramoorthyExclusive Autosport21.47821.36342.841115.291
1693Lindsay BrewerExclusive Autosport21.67821.71543.393113.825
176Reece UshijimaJay Howard Driver Development-.—--.—-No TimeNo Speed
1819Jordan MissigPabst Racing-.—--.—-No TimeNo Speed
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USF2000 presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tire GP of Indianapolis Race #3 Notes and Results

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

USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tire GP of Indianapolis Race #2 Notes and Results

By Patrick Stephan

Pole sitter Myles Rowe will bring the field to the green with a lead of 30 (120 to 90) over Kiko Porto.

Alongside Rowe is Francesco Pizzi and the field makes it through Turn 1 but they are stacked 2 and three deep in to Turn 2 and that pushes Lirim Zendelli out in to the grass, dropping him from his 6th starting spot to the tail as he continues.

Rowe goes off at Turn 7 as it appears he just went wide at the exit and got on to the slick grass and had to drive through the field before rejoining.

Lap 2 and we have Lindsay Brewer off track at Turn 7 with suspension damage – this will bring out the full course yellow.

The order right now Pizzi, d’Orlando, Ushijima (from 10th), Porto, Miller, Denmark (from 14th), De Alba (from 12th), Lee, Browne, Granfors (from 18th), Weir, Missig, Garg, Sundaramoorthy, Zendell, Rowe, Escotto, Monteiro, Brewer, Finelli.

Note that Finelli pulled off under the yellow and exited pit lane at the Gasoline Alley entrance. That’s going to give him quite the circuitous route back to the USF paddock. He’ll need to go through Gasoline Alley past the garages, then make a left in front of the INDYCAR Series transporters. That leads to an intersection near the infield midway (Chevy, Firestone displays, etc). He’ll go down the road that leads to the N Lot and can then make a left to the USF paddock.

Restart is waved off as Jackson Lee has to pull off on the back stretch with mechanical issues. He’s retrieved and exits the track at Turn 7. Jackson was having a solid weekend and was in 8th at the time.

Trying to get back to green and the field stacks up at Turn 14. They are single file slowly with Pizzi leading the field, and then we see Salvador De Alba go outside around a bunch of cars. Miller pops outside also but he makes contact with car in front of him and his wing comes off, goes under his car, and he shoots it out the rear of his car.

Restart is under review as you’d expect, some went on the green (when was the green) and others didn’t. That didn’t look good.

Full course yellow is called and at the same time we see cars making contact at the Turn 6 chicane – more wings are flying including Ricardo Escotto who I believe had just changed a wing after possible contact with Brewer in the earlier incident. He had moved right of the chicane when some may have heard the yellow called, while others didn’t and it stacked up at the chicane, but Escotto’s path was blocked and he knocked the wing off again.

The order is De Alba, Granfors, Browne, Weir, Denmark, d’Orlando, Missig, Rowe, Pizzi, Ushijima, Sundaramoorthy, Porto, Zendeli, Garg, Miller, Monteiro, Escotto, Lee, Brewer, Finelli.

The field is reminded by race control that the restart zone starts at PIT IN…they didn’t go anywhere close to that last time.

Restart Lap 10 and De Alba does launch just after Pit In, and the field gets away clean. Monteiro serves an avoidable contact

Lap 11 and in to Turn 1 there are three wide and two rows across. d’Orlando is outside of the front row three wide, he tries to slot in to about 3rd, but Ushijima comes from inside the second group and they make contact the the exit of Turn 1.

That incident will be reviewed, but d’Orlando has damage and will limp it back to the pit lane.

Granfors passes De Alba for the lead on Lap 13, and the order is now Granfors, De Alba, Denmark, Browne, Weir, Rowe, Pizzi, Missig, Ushijima, Zendeli, Miller, Garg, Sundaramoorthy, Porto, d’Orlando, Monteiro, Escotto, Lee, Brewer, Finelli.

Rowe gets pushed off at Turn 2 and in the grass again. He’ll drop back to 8th, so he’ll restart his charge back to the front.

Lap 17, Ushijima dives in on Pizzi from WAY back, locking his right front on the entry to Turn 1. He slides through and Pizzi gets the 7th spot back.

Next lap and Rowe is able to get by Weir (I believe that was the same battle that put him in the grass earlier).

Weir gets a warning from race control for blocking (moving in reaction to). d’Orlando has rejoined after repairs to his right rear suspension from the Ushijima contact.

Jack William Miller back to the pits again, this time its for a flat tire.

Lap 19 and Granfors leads by 1.8 over De Alba, Denmark, Browne, Rowe (5th and has fastest lap – 17), Weir, Pizzi, Ushijima, Missig, Zendeli (10th), Porto, Sundaaramoorthy, Garg, Miller, Monteiro (off Lap 16), d’Orlando, Escotto, Lee, Brewer, Fineli.

Lap 22 and in to Turn 1 Ushijima tries Pizzi again but can’t get around. He tries the inside at turn 7, also doesn’t get it done, but keeps trying.

Down the front straight Pizzi take the inside at the wall and then when Ushijima gets alongside starts to fade to the outside and they maintain those spots through Turns 2-4.

Missig takes advantage of that battle and goes around the outside at Turn 7 to get by Ushijima for 8th.

WHITE FLAG and Granfors leads by 3.1…the same gap when he takes the checkered flag over De Alba, Denmark, Browne and Rowe.

  • Granfors came in to the race 7th in points and finished 20th in yesterday’s race with an 8 lap DNF.
  • This is his USF Pro 2000 victory.
  • Previous series GB3 where his last win was in 2022 at Silverstone
  • Previous best in USF Pro 2000 was 2nd at Sebring #2

Got another replay of that messy restart (Lap 6). While De Alba caught most of the attention with is big outside move, Granfors was also a big mover. With everyone stacked and slowly building speed on the front straight he stuck to the inside line and squeezed between the wall and another car to wind up P2 by the time they hit the first turn.

That restart clearly helped us get podium that started the race 18th, 12th, and 14th respectively.

Joel Granfors talks to Rob Howden on the victory podium at IMS after winning USF Pro 2000 Race #2. (Not the recommended way to get a podium photo – but …well it’s by Patrick Stephan)

UNOFFICIAL Results USF Pro 2000 Discount Tire GP of Indy Race #2:

PosCar #DriverLapsGapLedSTTeam
192Joel Granfors251518Exclusive Autosport
291Salvador De Alba253.1502512Exclusive Autosport
320Jace Denmark253.424314Pabst Racing
42Jonathan Browne250.80035Turn 3 Motorsport
599Myles Rowe253.56761Pabst Racing
632Christian Weir252.43637TJ Speed Motorsports
755Francesco Pizzi252.948352TJ Speed Motorsports
819Jordan Missig250.409111Pabst Racing
96Reece Ushijima251.179210Jay Howard Driver Development
1010Lirim Zendeli251.35016TJ Speed Motorsports
1112Kiko Porto250.27024DEForce Racing
1290Yuven Sundaramoorthy251.909417Exclusive Autosport
137Bijoy Garg253.773616DEForce Racing
141Michael d’Orlando223 LAPS3Turn 3 Motorsport
1540Jack William Miller1839.87198Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
1681Nicholas Monteiro161 LAPS19NeoTech Motorsport
174Ricardo Escotto60.517815Jay Howard Driver Development
1847Jackson Lee40.39Turn 3 Motorsport
1993Lindsay Brewer10.26913Exclusive Autosport
2083Charles Finelli10.716920FatBoy Racing

USF2000 Discount Tire Grand GP of Indianapolis Race #2 Results and Notes

By Patrick Stephan

Welcome to the first race of a busy day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. USF2000 presented by Cooper Tires took the green flag bright and early at 8:00am Eastern Time with the Air and Track Temp about 68F, and 92% humidity making it quite muggy here.

The start was as chaotic as you’d expect with Sikes taking the lead from Johnson at Turn 2. Further back the field stacked up at the exit of Turn 1 and Gordon Scully and Max Taylor wound up losing their front wings in Turn 2.

That brings out the yellow flag.

Simon Sikes brings them back to green after 2 laps, and again keeps the lead, but he has a trio of BRD cars in Dyszelski, Johnson, and Corry behind him as they settle nose to tail through Turn 2.

Further back, Elliot Cox is making moves in several turns, including 12 to get up to 13th from his 18th starting position.

Lap 3 also shows Mac Clark and Lochie Hughes getting back to 5th and 6th respectively.

Nikita Johnson moves to second on Lap 4 as Sikes gets out to a 1.8 second lead.

Lap 5 we get a couple incidents as Zack Ping is off at Turn 7. Al Morey and Maxwell Jameison get together when Jameison gets a run on the inside but doesn’t have the angle and can’t get the car turned so they make left front to right rear contact, taking them both to the outside and off the track.

Order with 6 laps completed is Sikes, Johnson, Dyszelski, Hughes, Clark, Douglas, Ho, Gardner, Cox (P10), Papasavvas, Garciarce, Garcia, Towns, Taylor, Morey, Jameison, Ping, Scully.

Back to green and Sikes is able to get a clean jump and lead through Turn 1. Note they had put the lapped car of Max Taylor up behind Taylor helping the leader a bit on that start.

Chase Gardner is now getting a drive through for his incident at Tun 7 earlier and Jameison will also get a penalty should he return – both are for avoidable contact. Watching now, quite a few people are trying the same move as Jameison, he just couldn’t get his car to rotate and Turn for that 90 degree right hander.

Fight up front has Sikes leading Hughes, Johnson, Clark and Corry in the Top 5. Douglas is 6th and Cox is up to 7th as they both came through in a scramble that pushed Dyszelski wide in Turn 2.

Papasavvas also gets Dyszelscki on Lap 11 as he moves to the 9th spot. Race Control comes back and corrects that saying there was a shortcut, and they’ll have to swap those spots back.

Gardner missed the penalty the first opportunity but does come down pit lane before the black flag is shown a second time.

Sikes lead as the white flag is shown is 1.2 seconds over Hughes is trying to hold off Johnson in what would be a better battle if we could see it (camera was following a car all by itself for a bit 😉 ).

Sikes takes the win by 1.6738 over Hughes with Johnson joining him on the podium. Mac Clark, Sam Corr and Jacob Douglas follow. The timing sheet say Papasavvas is 7th, but race control announced that car would get a post race penalty for a short-cut. Cox listed 8th for now, then Dyszelski and Garciarce round out the Top 10.

Note on the short cut. Race control had announced before the race they would monitor shortcuts electronically with timing and scoring loops in that area and penalties could be enforced during or after the event -including post race time penalties.

Sikes, a 22-year old from Atlanta, picks up his second win of the year. This was his 32nd USF2000 start after doing partial seasons with smaller teams from 2020 through 2022. Now with Pabst Racing, he’s got a win at Sebring, Indy and is currently 2nd in points.

Sikes came in to the weekend leading the points, but his 13th place finish yesterday allowed Lochie Hughes to resume the top spot in the season long battle. Sikes win today closes that gap to 7, with another race to run today at noon.

But, like previous seasons, and similar to others on the ladder, he still needs funding to finish this season. Ideally, performances like today will help attract the sponsorship necessary to keep him in the seat for race weekends to come.

Big movers of the race are Papasavvas from 19th to 7th (subject to penalty enforcement) and Elliot Cox from 18th to 8th.

USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tire GP of Indianapolis Race #2 UNOFFICIAL Results

PosCar #DriverLapsLapTimeLedSTTeam
122Simon Sikes151:26.6615152Pabst Racing
28Lochie Hughes151:27.10493Jay Howard Driver Development
317Nikita Johnson151:27.32451VRD Racing
41Mac Clark151:26.65155DEForce Racing
514Sam Corry151:26.98834VRD Racing
690Jacob Douglas151:26.997210Exclusive Autosport
76Evagoras Papasavvas151:26.849319Jay Howard Driver Development
867Elliot Cox151:26.891318Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development
918Danny Dyszelski151:27.64236VRD Racong
1010Jorge Garciarce151:27.620012DEForce Racing
1168Ethan Ho151:28.44729DC Autosport
1224Max Garcia151:27.068517Pabst Racing
1393Avery Towns151:27.772515Exclusive Autosport
1492Lucas Mann151:28.166320Exclusive Autosport
1595Chase Gardner151:27.08167Exclusive Autosport
1633Max Taylor141:28.527416VRD Racing
177Al Morey131:27.368311Jay Howard Driver Development
1819Gordon Scully131:27.671514VRD Racing
1912Maxwell Jamieson72:09.77128DEForce Racing
2097Zack Ping41:27.862313VRD Racing

USF Pro 2000 Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race #1 Notes and Results

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.

PosCar #DriverLapsDiffLedSTTeam
14Ricardo Escotto23LAP 23412Jay Howard Driver Development
26Reece Ushijima23In Pit8Jay Howard Driver Development
31Michael d’Orlando23In Pit34Turn 3 Motorsport
42Jonathan Browne23In Pit6Turn 3 Motorsport
540Jack William Miller2310.378712Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
691Salvador De Alba23In Pit15Exclusive Autosport
712Kiko Porto23In Pit151DEForce Racing
832Christian Weir23In Pit14TJ Speed Motorsports
990Yuven Sundaramoorthy23In Pit19Exclusive Autosport
1047Jackson Lee23In Pit9Turn 3 Motorsport
1155Francesco Pizzi2327.45453TJ Speed Motorsports
1293Lindsay Brewer2327.810818Exclusive Autosport
1383Charles Finelli2328.115420FatBoy Racing
1410Lirim Zendeli2329.71565TJ Speed Motorsports
1581Nicholas Monteiro2339.213816NeoTech Motorsport
1620Jace Denmark23In Pit13Pabst Racing
177Bijoy Garg221 LAPS7DEForce Racing
1899Myles Rowe212 LAPS10Pabst Racing
1919Jordan Missig176 LAPS17Pabst Racing
2092Joel Granfors8Mechanical11Exclusive Autosport

USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race #1

By Patrick Stephan

On the start we have three or four cars involved with three winding up backwards or sideways, including Jacob Douglas who had started on the outside of the front row. Looked like Douglas in the 90 had wound up about four back as they entered the braking zone. He then tried to dive inside of cars that had gone a little wide but probably got clipped and turned in to the curbing which he ramped over.

That send him into another car, who lost their front wing. Lucas Mann would come to a stop over at Turn 6 and need to be retrieved, bringing out the yellow flag.

The order under yellow is Johnson, Sikes, Cox, Hughes, Garcia, Clark, Taylor, Towns, Morey, Ho, Ping, Corry, Dyszelski, Jameison, Scully, Douglas, Garciarce, Papasavas, Mann.

Big movers on that start include Sikes from 4th to 2nd, Hughes from 11th to 4th, Taylor from 16th to 7th.

Back to green on Lap 4 and they come down single file and Johnson hugs the inside of the front straight, then pops out with Sikes alongside.

Lochie Hughes goes around Cox and picks up 3rd over in Turn 7. Lap 5 and the order is now Johnson, Sikes, Hughes, Clark, Cox and Garcia.

Battle for the lead at Turn 1 and several cars lock tires, and get through…but over at Turn 7 bigger issues.

Max Garcia jumped Max Taylor on the inside line under braking, going over the top of Taylor and then Garcia landed on the rear of Eliott Cox car. Cox was on the more traditional line when Garcia came down on his car. Another big save for the halo’s on these open wheel cars.

Garcia wound up hard in to the tire barrier at the end of the back straight.

Lap 8 order under yellow is officially Johnson, Sikes, Hughes, Clark, Corry, Dyszelski, Morey, Douglas, Gardner, Towns, Scully, Ping, Garciarce, Jameison, Ho, Cox, Taylor, Garcia, Papasavvas, Mann.

Race control is correcting the order as the tire barrier is being reset at the end of Turn 7. They moved Towns up to 6th as he had been passed under the yellow.

Green will come out again on Lap 10 and Johnson again protects the inside, but locks up under braking and with a bad angle, allowing Hughes to take the lead. Johnson had to bail and take the run-off (oval Turn 4 apron) and go around to rejoin at Turn 3. That will drop Johnson to 7th.

Next time by and Mac Clark takes the lead, with Hughes dropping to 4th.

Lap 12 order is Clark, Sikes, Corry, Hughes, Dyszelski, Johnson (6th), Towns, Morey, Douglas. Gardner is 10th.

Lead for Clark is 0.5017 on lap 13.

Lap 14 and again at Turn 1 we have tires locking at several spots in the field. The draft down the main straight is significant, but then some clearly don’t have enough grip to make the pass.

Johnson moves to 5th as the field takes the white flag.

At Turn 1, Sikes to the outside and Clark to the inside. They go side by side, and run wide and in to the grass…that makes Sam Corry the leader. He is able keep the lead with Hughes and Johnson getting side by side off Turn 14 as they raced for the finish line.

That gets us a podium of Corry, Hughes, and Johnson was 0.0336 out of 2nd.

This is Sam Corry’s first USF2000 win. He graduated from the inaugural season of USF Juniors. He finished second in that championship with three victories.

Corry started this race in 12th. Hughes in 2nd started 11th and Danny Dyszelski 4th started 14th. Johnson started on the pole, but got dropped to 7th with his own Turn 1 issues, and was able to get back on the podium.

Unofficial Results USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Discount Tires Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race #1

PosCar #DriverLapsDiffGapLedSTTeam
114Sam Corry15LAP 15112VRD Racing
28Lochie Hughes151.15021.1502111Jay Howard Driver Development
317Nikita Johnson151.18380.0336101VRD Racing
418Danny Dyszelski151.93670.752914VRD Racong
51Mac Clark152.59840.661736DEForce Racing
695Chase Gardner154.39551.797119Exclusive Autosport
710Jorge Garciarce156.92112.52567DEForce Racing
87Al Morey157.36350.442418Jay Howard Driver Development
990Jacob Douglas157.53530.17182Exclusive Autosport
1068Ethan Ho157.75610.22089DC Autosport
1197Zack Ping158.70250.946415VRD Racing
1212Maxwell Jamieson159.23950.53720DEForce Racing
1319Gordon Scully159.59980.360317VRD Racing
1493Avery Towns1514.17354.573710Exclusive Autosport
1522Simon Sikes1531.955217.78174Pabst Racing
1667Elliot Cox6Contact10.93973Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development
1733Max Taylor6Contact4.702516VRD Racing
1824Max Garcia5Contact0.38995Pabst Racing
196Evagoras Papasavvas1Contact0.88958Jay Howard Driver Development
2092Lucas MannContact0.613313Exclusive Autosport

USF Pro 2000 Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis Qualifying

By Patrick Stephan This weekend’s qualifying session for USF Pro 2000 got started with the track still damp down on the north end. (NOTE: This has me questioning if USF2000 drivers went to slicks for their session as a source had told me – I’ll have to check on that during a break later today)….

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