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Exclusive Autosport drivers Danial Frost and Manuel Cabrera lead USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 testing at Lucas Oil Raceway

By Steve Wittich

A trio of drivers representing Exclusive Autosport set the pace as the bottom two rungs of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder get prepared for their first oval races of the year on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval.

Danial Frost turned was the fastest in Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires testing, followed by his veteran teammate Nikita Lastochkin. In Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship testing it was Manuel Cabrera that was quickest for the Brownsburg, Ind. based Canadian owned squad.

Each series was allotted three sessions totaling 115 minutes. But, before getting on track, the drivers took part in a mandatory 90-minute oval clinic.

Leading the classroom session of the test was Gerardo Bonilla, Lucas Oil School of Racing Director of Operations and former Indy Pro 2000 driver. Joining Bonilla were 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, five times Indianapolis 500 starter Johnny Unser and NTT IndyCar Series Race Director Kyle Novak.

“It’s good to have someone who is successful to talk to the kids,” explained the 1997 Indy Lights champion. “It was a pleasure to come talk to them – if I put one thing into their heads that will help them drive today and in the race next week, then that’s a good thing. I came to America and went straight into Indy Lights, and I was lucky to have a mentor like (former Tasman Motorsports Team Principal) Steve Horne, and I repeated much of what he told me to the drivers today.

“This is the beauty of being part of the Road to Indy. The ladder series is part of INDYCAR and all the drivers support it. This is the future – in a few years, I’ll be watching the races and I’ll see drivers in the Indy 500 and I can say ‘I remember talking to those kids!’ I think that is why the ladder series has been so strong: everyone puts a lot of effort into making this work. I don’t see anything like this anywhere in the world so to me, this is the best place to be.”

In Indy Pro 2000, 17-year-old Frost led all three sessions by fairly wide margins. His lap of 121.739 mph was 2.73 mph quicker than veteran teammate Lastochkin to serve notice that he will be one of the drivers to beat when the series returns for the Carb Night Freedom 90. For reference, the 12 drivers from Lastochkin on down were separated by a similar 2.97 seconds.

Exclusive Autosport rookie Danial Frost led all three sessions of the Indy Pro 2000 testing on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“Tony gave me confidence in being here this morning,” said Frost after testing, realizing that he still has a lot to learn. “The timing of passing is something I need to learn and his talk this morning helped. It’s nothing like the road course, it’s a totally new thing for me.

“I did a lot of sim work before I came here, to prepare as much as possible. It’s difficult, coming from the road course at Indianapolis to the oval at Lucas Oil. Going left the whole time is much harder than it looks from the outside. Being close to the wall, taking that line to be quick, it’s all a new thing for me.

“Learning the timing of when to get past someone, not getting blocked and losing my momentum, it’s something that Exclusive Autosport has been working on with me. They’re really training me and helping me to make that possible. It was cold this morning, so we’re learning how the car and the tires work at different times of the day, in different conditions. The car is very good, the pace is there, so we just need a bit more on our race craft and we’ll be right there.”

Moisés de la Vara was quick on the Gateway Motorsports Park oval last year, finishing a solid fourth. So, it should be no surprise that the DEForce Racing driver turned in the third quickest time of the session.

Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport) and Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) were the fourth and fifth quickest drivers.

The top two drivers in the championship, Rasmus Lindh and Parker Thompson, were the sixth and eighth quickest drivers, respectively.

The baker’s dozen drivers that took part in the test turned a total of 2,106 laps (1,382.98 miles) with Frost’s 208 circuits leading the way.

Combined timesheet from Indy Pro 2000 testing on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval

Rank

Car

Name

Team

Top Speed (MPH)

Session #

Total Laps

1

68

Danial Frost

Exclusive Autosport

121.739

2

208

2

90

Nikita Lastochkin

Exclusive Autosport

119.008

2

115

3

6

Moisés de la Vara

DEForce Racing

118.936

3

111

4

28

Kyle Kirkwood

RP Motorsport

118.717

3

153

5

51

Jacob Abel

Abel Motorsports

118.675

3

179

6

10

Rasmus Lindh

Juncos Racing

118.517

1

156

7

2

Sting Ray Robb

Juncos Racing

117.685

3

148

8

8

Parker Thompson

Abel Motorsports

117.344

2

139

9

11

Antonio Serravalle

PSerra / Jay Howard Driver Development

116.776

3

177

10

5

Ian Rodriguez

RP Motorsport

116.392

3

191

11

83

Charles Finelli

Fatboy Racing!

116.378

3

126

12

98

Phillippe Denes

Fatboy Racing!

116.327

3

169

13

7

Kory Enders

DEForce Racing

116.039

1

144

 


A trio of different drivers led the three USF2000 test sessions, and the field was a bunch more tightly than in Indy Pro 2000.

Exclusive Autosport’s Cabrera, who finished 10th of 21 drivers in his oval debut at Lucas Oil Raceway last year, turned a lap at 111.675 mph to lead the first session. That ended up being the quickest lap of the day in USF2000. Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he experienced his first oval contact at the end of the session.

Exclusive Autosport’s Manuel Cabrera works through traffic during a USF2000 test on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

We checked in with Exclusive Autosport team owner Michael Duncalfe, and he said that the crew got the car fixed and they were pleased with the job the Mexico City, Mexico born driver did during the test.

“Tony Kanaan had some great advice for us this morning, about focusing the entire time and pushing hard but not so hard as to do what I did this morning, in hitting the wall,” said Cabrera, who will head to another oval track in LaCrosse, Wis., this week as he continues preparations for the race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday, May 24. “His advice really helped me.

“We have such a solid car, to make those kinds of laps,” he continued. “It feels great to have had such a good first session, with the quickest lap on the oval. It’s a great moment for me and the team but we have to stay focused for the race next week.

“We had a good race here last year, and I took that experience this morning and put everything together. I was trying to push so hard this morning – the ovals make you want to push hard. I will put that (incident) behind me and focus ahead.”

The second session was led by Pabst Racing rookie Yuven Sundaramoorthy, who was also third quickest in the morning session. The 16-year-old ended up with the second fastest lap, only 0.015 mph slower than Cabrera.

Yuven Sundaramoorthy in testing on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval in preparation for the Freedom 75 on Carb Day. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

DEForce Racing rookie Jak Crawford led the final session of the day and ended up with the fourth fastest lap overall. The four Pabst Racing cars sat out the last session of the day.

The 14-year-old Crawford was joined in the top ten by fellow 14-year old Nolan Siegel (Newman Wachs Racing) in ninth and 15-year-old Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports) in seventh.

Sundaramoorthy’s veteren teammate Colin Kaminsky was the third quickest driver. Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea, who is currently second in the USF2000 championship ended up fifth.

Championship leader Braden Eves turned in the sixth fastest lap.

The 19 USF2000 drivers that took part in the 115 minutes of testing turned a total of 2,637 laps (1808.98 miles) on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval. Newman Wachs Racing rookies Siegel and Cameron Shields both turned 196 laps, the most of any of the drivers.

Combined timesheet from USF2000 testing on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway Oval

Rank

Car

Name

Team

Top Speed (MPH)

Session #

Total Laps

1

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

111.675

1

47

2

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

111.659

2

123

3

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

111.617

1

128

4

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

111.173

3

156

5

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

111.038

2

129

6

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

111.005

2

163

7

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

110.896

3

177

8

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

110.860

3

148

9

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

110.760

3

196

10

14

Alexandre Baron

Legacy Autosport

110.758

3

114

11

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

110.711

3

176

12

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

110.350

3

193

13

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

110.272

3

196

14

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

110.175

3

84

15

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

110.148

3

150

16

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

110.076

3

109

17

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

109.359

1

132

18

5

Matthew Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

107.235

3

140

19

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

106.221

1

76

Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Eves wins 3rd in a row after back and forth battle with McElrea

By Steve Wittich

For the third straight race to start the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season, it was Braden Eves that stood on the top step of the podium. But, it wasn’t easy.

The 20-year-old Cape Motorsports rookie lost the lead for six laps after leading the first seven from the pole. He regained the lead with two laps remaining, but lost the lead again in the first turn of the final lap, forcing Eves into a daring but successful pass for the lead in the tricky Esses (Turn 8, 9 & 10).

A USF2000 race on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course ran caution free for only the second time and in total had 179 passes for the lead.

“Darren (Keane) and I have been so close in winter testing and I thought this season would be that close, where we’d be focusing on points and trying to win some race,” said Eves after exiting victory lane. “I’m really happy to be on top but it’s crazy, really, to look back at what (USF2000 champion) Kyle (Kirkwood) did last year and to realize that I’m off to an even better start! It makes it even more meaningful after a race like that. I just couldn’t stop yelling in the car at the checkered flag; it was pure joy and relief, especially here. To cross the yard of bricks, where so many legendary drivers have done before me, it’s amazing.”

Cape Motorsports rookie Braden Eves gets interviewed after winning his third straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race to start the 2019 season (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The drivers of the MDRN Livery/Community Choice Financial sponsored No. 8 (Kirkwood), and the Mazda/Doric NZ/Miles Advisory Partners sponsored No. 22 (McElrea)shared the podium for the third time this season and for the second time were joined by Manuel Sulaiman in the DEForce Racing No. 12.

The St. Petersburg, Fla. based Cape Motorsports now has eight wins and 15 podiums in the road course portion of the “Month of May.” It was Pabst Racing’s sixth podium and DEForce Racing’s second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Cape Motorsports duo of Eves and Darren Keane brought the 21 car field to the green flag under overcast skies to start the first of two 15-lap Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis races.

Eves got the jump on his teammate and brought inside second-row starter McElrea with him. Behind them, it was chaos.

Keane’s Cal Development/Keane Architectural Woodwork sponsored No. 2 was tapped from behind by DEForce Racing newcomer Jak Crawford, causing Keane to spin. Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport), who started the race in fourth was unable to avoid the spinning Keane, and both drivers ended up facing the wrong way in the 90-degree right-hand Turn 1.

After the race, Keane told TSO Ladder that it was light contact, but still enough to send him into a spin. The 20-year-old fell back to the 21st spot, but still on the lead lap. Throughout the next 15 laps, Keane averages a position gained per lap, finishing sixth. The “fun” drive included a lap timed at 84.8876 seconds, the quickest of the race and a new race track record.

Crawford and Zach Holden also fell down the running order. Crawford started the fifth and ended the first lap in 16th, while Holden started in sixth and finished the first lap in 13th. Both drivers would move forward.

The running order at the end of the first lap was Eves, McElrea, Sulaiman, Jack William Miller, Cameron Shields, Eduardo Barrichello, Colin Kaminsky, Christian Rasmussen, Anthony Famularo, Dakota Dickerson, Bruna Tomaselli, Reece Gold, Zach Holden, Nolan Siegel, Alexandre Baron, Jak Crawford, Matthew Round-Garrido, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Christian Bogle, Cabrera, and Keane.

Sulaiman (from 8th to 3rd), Miller (from 9th to 4th), Shields (from 13th to 5th) and Barrichello (from 15th to 6th) were the biggest benefactors of the tete-a-tete in front of them.

The race at the front of the field settled for the next five laps with Eves holding a comfortable, but not increasing lead over McElrea and Sulaiman.

Behind the front trio, the action was furious with Miller, Shields, Barrichello, and Kaminsky all swapping spots.

On lap five late addition to the field, Dakota Dickerson came to pit road with suspension damage on the right front of the No. 77 from the Legacy Autosport stable.

Eves gap to McElrea had shrunk to 0.3 seconds as the duo crossed the ‘Yard of Bricks’ to begin the seventh lap.

McElrea grabbed the lead on the next lap and led the next six laps. Sulaiman, who faced no pressure from behind, continued his solid start to the season, but just did not have quite enough pace to catch the front pair.

Further back, Kaminsky moved his way to fourth place, making on-track passes for seventh, sixth and fifth to collect his second consecutive top five to start the season.

With two laps remaining Eves, who had never lost touch with McElrea was able to get past the Aussie to regain the lead. The American took the white flag with the lead but lost it in Turn 1 when McElrea made a spectacular pass on the outside of Turn 1.

The pair were nose-to-tail until they got to the exit of Turn 7, where Eves pounced. The duo went side-by-side through Turn 9 and 10 before Eves grabbed the lead for the last time in Turn 10. McElrea would have to “settle” for his third podium of the season and was unhappy with himself for leaving Eves too much room to make the daring move.

“To be on the podium at a place as legendary as Indianapolis means a lot,” said McElrea after the race. “It was a good race but the last two laps were pretty hectic. I got past Braden for the lead and held it pretty comfortably until I made a mistake and he was able to get back by. I was able to get him on the outside in Turn One but gave him too much room in the Esses on the last lap. I hated to lose the lead on the last lap, but it’s good points so I can’t be too disappointed. But to drive my hardest and do 90 percent of the work and to lose it on the last lap like that is seriously crushing. I’m happy to be on the podium though. Mazda has given me the opportunity to be on the grid and Pabst Racing gave me a really fast car so tomorrow we’ll come back strong.”

Hunter McElrea and his No. 22 Soul Red Mazda sponsored on track during the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

At the white flag, Crawford had recovered to seventh, Keane to eighth and Holden to 10th. However, Crawford’s impressive recovery drive came to an end in the gravel trap after an incident with Miller.

Miller’s Miller Vinatieri Motorsports teammate Barrichello was running in sixth with two laps remaining before running into transmission issues.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race #1 Results.

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

DIFFERENCE

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

15 LAPS

2

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

0.2998

3

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

0.8658

4

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

4.1820

5

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

8.3125

6

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

12.2880

7

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

14.8809

8

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

15.2542

9

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

17.1490

10

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

18.3878

11

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

22.5018

12

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

25.3298

13

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

26.2337

14

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

26.3400

15

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

29.3924

16

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

50.0319

17

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

– 1 LAP

18

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

– 1 LAP

19

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

– 1 LAP

20

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

– 1 LAP

21

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

– 10 LAPS

 

The 20-lap Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race #1 is scheduled to get the green flag at 9:15 am on Saturday.

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Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Eves breaks track record on the way to second pole in 2 ½ hours

By Steve Wittich

Braden Eves was once again the quickest driver in a USF2000 qualifying session. After just missing out on the track record in the first qualifying session the Cape Motorsports rookie

Once again, Eve’s veteran teammate Keane will start alongside him, with Hunter McElrea starting third again.

Tomorrow’s race #2 will be the 10th straight race that a Cape Motorsports driver will start on the inside of the front row in a USF2000 race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Christian Rasmussen (up five spots), Cameron Shield (up five spots), and Manuel Sulaiman (up four positions) were the drivers who improved the most between the pair of qualifying sessions.

The lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track in just over two hours at 10:55 am for their second qualifying session

The lowest rung on the Road To Indy was back on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course after only having 2 hours and fifteen minutes to regroup after the first qualifying session.

At the half-way mark of the 20-minute session, Eves was ahead of McElrea, Sulaiman, Kaminsky, and Keane, who were all within a tenth of the provisional pole.

The first driver to grab the provisional pole in the second half of the session was Keane, with a track record-breaking lap of 84.643 seconds. His teammate Eves was right there only four-hundredths shy of Keane.

With four minutes remaining, Eves went back to the provisional pole. Further down the timing screens, McElrea, Crawford, and Sulaiman all improved, turning laps below 85 seconds.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis Qualifying #2 (Unofficial) Results.

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

1:24.540

–.—-

13

2

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

1:24.643

0.1038

13

3

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

1:24.667

0.1272

13

4

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

1:24.871

0.3309

12

5

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

1:24.883

0.3434

12

6

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

1:24.921

0.3810

10

7

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

1:24.975

0.4359

13

8

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.111

0.5717

11

9

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

1:25.371

0.8315

13

10

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.376

0.8367

13

11

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.384

0.8441

13

12

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

1:25.387

0.8478

11

13

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

1:25.435

0.8954

11

14

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

1:25.452

0.9124

10

15

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:25.526

0.9867

11

16

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

1:25.531

0.9909

12

17

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.544

1.0040

11

18

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

1:25.563

1.0238

14

19

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

1:25.614

1.0746

14

20

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:25.670

1.1304

13

21

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:27.528

2.9881

2

The first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race of the weekend rolls off at 2:45 pm. That will be a 15-lap race.

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Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Eves grabs pole for first USF2000 race – 18 drivers covered by a second

By Steve Wittich

For the second time this season, Cape Motorsports rookie Braden Eves will start the first race of a weekend on the pole.

It is the ninth straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship pole on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course for Cape Motorsports and the tenth in 11 opportunities.

The 20-year-old turned in a lap of 84.720 seconds, only four-hundredths of a second off the qualifying track record and that same four-hundredths of a second ahead of his teammate Darren Keane.

The top seven drivers were within a half-second of Eves, and all but three of the 21 drivers were within a second in the super close field.

The Cape Motorsports front row will be followed by Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) and Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport) in the second row. Newcomer Jak Crawford (DEForce Racing) will start on the inside of the third row with BN Racing driver Zach Holden to his outside.

The first of two USF2000 qualifying session got underway on time at 8 am, but went to red flag conditions immediately for ‘debris’ between Turn 3 and Turn 4. It was actually reported to be wildlife on track. There is a family of foxes that have taken up residence in that area.

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The green flag came back out quickly and the first driver to jump to the top of the timesheet was McElrea.

At the half-way point of the 20-minute session, it was Cape Motorsports veteran Darren Keane who was at the top of the timing screens. He was followed closely by teammate and points leader Eves.

Eves went quicker than Keane on the next lap. At that point of the session, 17 of 21 drivers were within one second of Eves.

With five minutes remaining in the session, Pabst Racing rookie Hunter McElrea was able to go four-hundredths quicker than Eves and move to the point.

With two minutes left in the session and on his 11th lap, Eves retook the provisional pole. Darren Keane was able to turn his quickest lap of qualifying, but ended up just four-hundredths behind his teammate and will start on the outside of the front row.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis Qualifying #1 (Unofficial) Results.

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

1:24.720

–.—-

14

2

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

1:24.760

0.0404

13

3

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

1:24.844

0.1237

14

4

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

1:24.920

0.2003

14

5

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

1:25.027

0.3071

12

6

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

1:25.197

0.4769

11

7

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

1:25.213

0.4932

14

8

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

1:25.322

0.6023

12

9

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.389

0.6693

14

10

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

1:25.433

0.7130

14

11

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

1:25.441

0.7216

9

12

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.447

0.7272

14

13

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.461

0.7409

14

14

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

1:25.518

0.7980

14

15

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.546

0.8259

14

16

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

1:25.600

0.8806

14

17

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

1:25.620

0.9001

15

18

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:25.663

0.9436

13

19

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

1:25.965

1.2450

13

20

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:26.011

1.2914

14

21

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:26.577

1.8570

13

The lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track in just over two hours at 10:55 am for their second qualifying session

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Braden Eves kicks of the “Month of May” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading a tight USF2000 practice session

 

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship points leader Braden Eves led the first official practice session of the 2019 “Month of May.” The Cape Motorsports rookie turned a lap of 85.665 seconds.

Fellow rookie Hunter McElrea and Cape Motorsports teammate Darren Keane turned in the second and third quickest laps with Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) and Anthony Famularo (BN Racing) rounding out the top five.

The 30-minute session late afternoon session began with a light mist and ended with the sun just peaking through the clouds. The temperatures was 71F, and the wind was a brisk 12mph and blowing from the southwest.

The entire session was run under green flag conditions, and the 21 drivers turned a total of 318 laps of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

Sixteen of the 21 drivers were within one second of Eves.

Of note is Jak Crawford, the Darren Manning coached 14-year-old pilot is making his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires debut in USF2000 this weekend with DEForce Racing and turned the sixth quickest time of the session.

Veteran Keane turned the quickest lap in the pair of 50-minute test sessions earlier in the day with a lap of 85.688 seconds, just two-hundredths behind the lap turned by his teammate Eves in the first practice session.

Fourteen-year-old Jak Crawford led his first ever Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship session on a wet Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The first test session was run on a wet track with 15 of the 21 entered drivers electing to turn laps. The session was led by newcomer Crawford, who was joined in the top five by Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Bruna Tomaselli (Pabst Racing), Eves and Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing).

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix of Indianapolis Practice #1 Results

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

1:25.665

–.—-

16

2

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

1:25.794

0.1287

17

3

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

1:25.829

0.1637

16

4

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

1:25.958

0.2929

15

5

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

1:26.244

0.5786

12

6

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

1:26.250

0.5849

16

7

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

1:26.261

0.5956

18

8

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

1:26.316

0.6505

18

9

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

1:26.422

0.7565

13

10

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

1:26.480

0.8142

17

11

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

1:26.487

0.8215

18

12

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

1:26.511

0.8454

16

13

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

1:26.567

0.9017

13

14

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:26.574

0.9091

17

15

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:26.672

1.0067

17

16

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

1:26.739

1.0735

13

17

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:26.907

1.2415

16

18

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

1:27.036

1.3705

18

19

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

1:27.206

1.5405

12

20

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:27.416

1.7507

4

21

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:27.707

2.0422

16

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers will have a busy Friday. They are first cars on track tomorrow morning for an 8 am qualifying session. Qualify again at 10:55 am and the first of two races rolls off at 2:45 pm.

TSO Ladder Feature – Darren Keane is in pursuit of fun (and a little vindication), in a post St. Pete reset.

By Steve Wittich

A 59-day layoff directly following a final lap, final corner self-induced mistake that prevented a trip to victory lane, is one of a race car driver’s worst nightmares.

Darren Keane, who just finished his second semester in the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Florida, is no different than most drivers.

“It’s been a pretty interesting couple of months since St. Pete,” said Keane to TSO Ladder. “Mentally, it’s been really tough. It was destroying me for a couple of weeks. But, it has helped me realize that I’ve been putting way too much pressure on myself. To the point that I’m not really enjoying myself anymore. It’s almost a straight job.”

However, after a few weeks of contemplation, Keane took advantage of the long break to transform his approach coming to the second race weekend of the year, the USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis double-header.

“My mindset is 100% changed now. Indy is going to be a test to see what a different mindset can do,” explained the 19-year-old. “The last time that I really, really enjoyed myself was at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October. That went really well for me. I broke two unofficial track records in two different cars.

“My goal for Indy is to try and go back to that mindset where I’m just showing up to have some fun! Whatever happens, happens.”

Up until that last lap, last corner mistake, Keane proved to the rest of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship field that he is one of the drivers to beat in the battle for the advancement scholarship.

A transponder issue in the first qualifying session resulted in a back of the field start for the first race. During the race, Keane used a perfect blend of patience and pace, passing a dozen cars and setting the quickest lap of the race on the way to a solid seventh-place finish.

Darren Keane fights through the field in the first race of the year in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The Cal Development/Keane Architectural Woodwork sponsored No. 2 piloted by Keane ended the second qualifying session almost an unheard of four-tenths ahead of his Cape Motorsports teammate Braden Eves.

Keane lost the lead early to Christian Rasmussen in the 25-lap second race but was able to get around the Jay Howard Driver Development driver, holding him at bay until that ill-fated final corner.

After spending his first two seasons in USF2000 with a different team, Keane’s adjustment to the championship-winning Cape Motorsports has been smooth.

All of the guys are really good,” Keane told TSO Ladder. “I get along really well with my mechanic Scott. They are a great group of guys. They are always pushing me to my best. They are going to get the best out of me no matter how long it takes. They really make sure that I’m maximizing myself and if I’m not, they’re going to let me know. It’s nice to have that extra little motivation.”

Keane also benefits from having two quick teammates, winner of the two races in St. Petersburg, Eves and 2018 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series champion, Reece Gold.

Keane has plenty of experience on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, making four previous USF2000 and taking part in a pair of Chris Griffis Memorial Tests.

Keane turned the quickest time in the USF-!7 during the 2017 Chris Griffis Memorial Test and last year went back and forth between USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 machinery. The dual American and Irish citizen had the quickest time in the PM-18 and the second fastest time in USF2000.

Keane finished fourth in the second race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year, his best finish at the historic track.

“Obviously St. Pete was my fault,” reiterated Keane at the end of his conversation with TSO Ladder. “I’m trying to hit the reset button with my mind right now and try and enjoy myself. Once I get to that point, the results are going to come, and I won’t put so much pressure on myself.”

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship testing and practice gets underway on Thursday, May 9, with qualifying and racing the next two days.

Eves scores second straight for Cape Motorsports to start the USF2000 season – Keane and Rasmussen lead most of race but end with second last corner contact

By Steve Wittich

The second Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race of the weekend bore plenty of similarities to Friday’s first race. Same winner? Check, Braden Eves won for the second straight day. A daring but measured drive from the back of the field? Check, on Friday it was Darren Keane and today it was Manuel Sulaiman. Multiple cautions? Check, both races were interrupted by numerous yellow flag periods. Crazy drama? Check, but instead of first lap drama, it was last lap, last corner incident that had the crowd oohing.

The first 24 laps of the St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting race were led by pole sitter and Cape Motorsports veteran Keane along with Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Rasmussen.

However, Keane spun in Turn 13 while in the lead, taking Rasmussen out of the race with him.

Eves was able to slip inside of the stricken pair and cross the finish line first for his second straight win to start the 2019 USF2000 season.

Braden Eves, a USF2000 rookie from New Albany, Ohio driving for Cape Motorsports won his second straight race to start of the 2019 season on a high (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“Back in my karting days, I would literally go from third to first in the last corner, so it was crazy,” said Eves after the unexpected win. “I didn’t expect that, but it was lucky for me. I was in the right position at the right time. The competition level is so high here that you go into each weekend with an open mind. You could never expect to take both wins on the weekend. I wanted good points, and that was the main goal, so you can’t ask for better than two wins.”

For the second straight race USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout winner Hunter McElrea, who was making his first two rolling starts, lost positions when the green flag came out. On Friday, the Pabst Racing rookie was able to recover to third and on Saturday, the 19-year-old went one better, to finish second. A solid weekend for the Los Angeles born, Australian raised New Zealander, who was making his first race starts in a formula car with wings and downforce.

Rounding out the podium was BN Racing’s Zach Holden who was a late addition to the field. The less experienced 18-year-old came out on top in an entertaining battle with USF2000 veterans Alexandre Baron (Legacy Autosport) and Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing).

“That last turn was insane; I don’t think anybody saw that coming, said the Greenfield, Indiana native. “I was a last-minute entry and was really hoping just to finish, so to walk out of this weekend with a podium after not being in the car for six months feels really great. To have the pace we had all weekend and have the race we had gives us plenty of momentum and confidence going into my home race in Indianapolis.”

Hunter McElrea (No. 22) and Zach Holden (No. 27) battle for position on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. The pair came home with USF2000 podium finishes in the second race of the weekend (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Just before the all-Cape Motorsports front row reached the “go zone” the starter waved the yellow flag, waving off the start because of the No. 41 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports machine of Eduardo Barrichello was stopped on track with a mechanical issue.

Keane got a great jump on Eves when the race finally got started to begin Lap 3, allowing Rasmussen and Kaminsky to slide past the Race #1 winner and into the second and third spots.

Rasmussen got better exit off Turn 3 and went to the outside of Keane headed to Turn 4. The Cape Motorsports veteran and Jay Howard Driver Development rookie went side-by-side through the tight 90-degree right hander which gave Rasmussen the inside line to Turn 5. Keane was forced to back out and the Danish driver was able to go to the point.

The running order after the first green flag lap was: Rasmussen, Keane, Kaminsky, Eves, Baron, Holden, McElrea, Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing), Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport), Bruna Tomaselli (Pabst Racing), Jose Sierra (Legacy Autosport), Anthony Famularo (BN Racing), Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Christian Bogle (Jay Howard Driver Development), Nolan Siegel (Newman Wachs Racing), and Matthew Round-Garrido (Jay Howard Driver Development).

Two laps later, Keane was able to the better drive off Turn 14 and make a clean textbook pass of Rasmussen to go back to the lead.

At the end of the next lap, Kaminsky went into Turn 13 too hot, opening up the inside for Eves to get by him for the final spot on the podium.

Behind the battle for the podium, Holden, Baron, McElrea, and Sheilds were putting on a show, exchanging spots in the Top 5.

The second full-course caution (first for an incident) came out on Lap 12 when rookie Bogle had an incident in Turn 9.

Keane was holding onto just under a full second lead over Rasmussen when the caution flags flew. Eves, Holden, McElrea, Kaminsky, Baron, Shields, Sierra and Cabrera made up the remainder of the top ten.

Rasmussen was able to get by Keane in the later portion of the lap, but he pushed wide final 180 degree pair of corners and allowed Keane to move back into the lead as they cross the stripe with nine laps to remaining. Once again, the pair went side by side through a corner, this time, Turn 1 before Keane moved to the point.

Holden was able to briefly get by Eves for the final spot of the podium by going to the inside of Turn 10, but that compromised the next two corners, allowing Eves and McElrea to get by.

Just behind that battle, Cabrera and Miller were in a struggle for tenth when the left front of Miller’s No. 40 made contact with the right rear of the Exclusive Autosport No. 90, sending him spinning, knocking him out of the race and bringing out another full course caution.

Miller, a second-generation driver was issued a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Australian Shields who was running a solid eighth was forced to pit road for repairs to the No. 73, ending a sure top ten run.

The top 10 when the green flag came back out with five laps remaining were Keane, Rasmussen, Eves, McElrea, Holden, Baron, Kaminsky, Sierra, and Sulaiman.

It was the first time that race #1 podium finisher Sulaiman had cracked the top ten after being forced to start last after making contact with the concrete barriers on his out-lap in qualifying only a few hours earlier. The 18-year-old was able to gain four more spots over the final five laps to finish a splendid come back drive in sixth.

The battles in the top ten over the final five circuits was hard fought, but mainly drama free until the penultimate corner mistake by Keane ended his and Rasmussen’s days in 14th and 15th place finishes.

There were a few notable recovery drives in the 25 lap “feature” race.

Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Round-Garrido was in 20th spot after the first lap and drove through the field to finish ninth.

Famularo, who is coached by former Indy car champion Juan Montoya, grabbed the second top ten of his debut Road To Indy event moving from his 16th starting spot to tenth.

Pabst Racing rookie Sundaramoorthy dropped back 16th early in the race but drove a smart race to bring his Pabst Racing No. 21 home in 11th.

St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting Race #2 Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 25 laps
2 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing -0.6338
3 27 Zach Holden BN Racing -1.2618
4 14 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport -2.0381
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing -3.9729
6 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing -4.5949
7 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing -6.2738
8 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports -7.2399
9 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development -7.7176
10 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing -10.7625
11 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing -16.304
12 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing -18.2939
13 77 Jose Sierra Legacy Autosport -34.9574
14 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports – 1 LAP
15 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development – 1 LAP
16 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing – 1 LAP
17 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports – 2 LAPS
18 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport – 9 LAPS
19 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development – 15 LAPS
20 69 Nate Aranda Team E JAY Racing DNS
21 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports DNS
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Braden Eves tops an all-rookie podium in wild Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race #1

Braden Eves, making only his third Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship start, was the 13th driver in 19 races on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit to win from the pole.

The 19-year-old gave St. Petersburg, Fla. based Cape Motorsports their eighth home race victory and to go along with the 20 podiums from 12 different drivers.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Eves. “I was really focused on getting a good start and making sure there wasn’t any pressure going into Turn One. After the final yellow, I was able to make sure Manuel didn’t go on the inside of me and from there I focused on not making mistakes and keeping it clean. Cape has such a winning history so to continue that on, from what Kyle Kirkwood was able to do last year – and at their home grand prix – feels great. People think it’s a lot of pressure on me, but they give me and my teammates an incredible amount of support and that really helps.”

Manuel Sulaiman, who rebounded from contact in the morning qualifying session stood on the second step of the podium in his first race. It’s the second podium in “St. Pete” for DEForce Racing.

“The team did an amazing job to get the car ready in such a short amount of time,” explained Sulaiman. “The car was settled really well to get this result. It was a very stressful race but it was a good experience and gives us good confidence for the championship.”

Rounding out the all-rookie podium was Hunter McElrea, who survived early contact to wheel his Soul Red No. 22 to the final spot on the podium.

Rounding out the top five and making it five different teams in the top five were Jay Howard Driver Development pilot Christian Rasmussen and BN Racing’s Zach Holden.

The disjointed race that featured three cautions and one red flag began with a first lap caution for the eighth time in 19 races on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. It was not just any caution though as veteran Legacy Autosport pilot executed a snap barrel roll and landed back on four wheels.

Baron was uninjured and is cleared to drive tomorrow.

The spectacular Lap 1, Turn 1 incident involved Alexandre Baron, Zach Holden, and Hunter McElrea. Baron got a good jump from his seventh starting spot and as the No. 14 Legacy Autosport car first bounced off Holden on his right before making contact with McElrea and taking flight.

Alexandre Baron goes for a wild ride in a Turn 1, Lap incident in the first USF2000 race of the weekend (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Holden and McElrea were both able to continue.

As the field was circulating under yellow rookie Team E-JAY driver Nate Aranda made contact with Jack William Miller. The No. 69 “caught air” and slammed back into the track.

With two incidents to clean-up, the race was red flagged.

Aranda was tended to by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team and was taken the six blocks to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for evaluation. The 18-year-old was complaining of back pain and has not been cleared to drive.

The top 10 when the red flag came out were Eves, Sulaiman, McElrea, Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Holden, Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport), Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports) and Jose Sierra (Legacy Autosport).

When the field went back to green on Lap 5, Eves was able to get a good start and pull out to a comfortable lead.

The New Albany, Ohio native, saw his lead disappear when the yellow flag came out for Cabrera. The No.90 stopped on track in Turn 5, and the Mexican driver was forced to retire from the race with mechanical issues.

Went back to green Eves got a good start.

The top ten when the race went back to green on Lap 9 were Eves, Sulaiman, McElrea, Holden, Rasmussen, Bruna Tomaselli (Pabst Racing), Kaminsky, Sierra, Sundaramoorthy, and Gold.

Kaminsky and Sierra were fighting for the sixth position when the two made contact in Turn 1 and collected an innocent Tomaselli. All three drivers were able to continue, but Kaminsky lost a lap after pitting for repairs, while Sierra was given a drive-thru penalty for avoidable contact.

Darren Keane (Cape Motorsports), who was forced to start 19th after a malfunctioning transponder in the first qualifying session had moved into the top ten by this point in the race and ended up finishing seventh. The 19-year-old ended up with the fastest lap of the race at 73.1602

Eves held a comfortable 1.8 second lead over Sulaiman with five minutes left in the race that was initially scheduled for 20 laps or 40-minutes. McElrea and Rasmussen were filling up the Mexican driver’s mirrors.

Eves was forced to make one more restart when Miller had an incident in Turn 10. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to clear the No. 40 quickly and the green and white flags were shown from the starters stand.

Eves was able to hold off Sulaiman one last time, and no positions changed in the one-lap run to the checkered flag.

St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen RacePark Race 1 results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 18 Laps
2 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 0.4372
3 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1.3548
4 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1.4754
5 27 Zach Holden BN Racing 1.9761
6 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 3.1984
7 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 3.6570
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 4.1889
9 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing 4.7059
10 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 5.0711
11 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 5.3804
12 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development 5.6822
13 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 6.0659
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 6.9499
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 7.3308
16 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing -1 LAP
17 77 Jose Sierra Legacy Autosport -2 LAPS
18 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports -4 LAPS
19 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport -13 LAPS
20 69 Nate Aranda Team E JAY Racing -17 LAPS
21 14 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport -18 LAPS

The St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting Race 2 gets the green flag at 12:20 pm tomorrow.

Cape Motorsports starts season with a pair of poles. Rookie Eves on the pole in race #1. Keane rebounds for the pole in race #2

 

USF2000 Race #1 Qualifyng

Braden Eves, who is making his second appearance in a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship used a last-second lap to grab his first career Road To Indy pole.

It’s the first pole for Cape Motorsports in their hometown race since 2013, and the sixth for the team on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

The first of two red flags in the session came out five minutes into the 20-minute late afternoon session when the No. 40 of Jack William Miller, who had the ninth quickest lap in Practice #1, made contact with concrete barriers in Turn 3.

At that point of the session, the top five were: Hunter McElrea, Christian Rasmussen, Colin Kaminsky, Manuel Sulaiman, and Alexandre Baron.

The 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit went back to green with eight minutes remaining but was only active for three minutes before the second red flag of the session came out when Newman Wachs Racing rookie made light left rear contact with the wall.

At that point, the Pabst Racing quartet held down four of the top five with Sulaiman sandwiched between the top two of McElrea, and Kaminsky and their teammates Bruna Tomaselli and Yuven Sundaramoorthy in fourth and fifth.

The green flag came out one last time with three minutes remaining for an out lap and one flying lap.

At the end of the flying lap rookie, Braden Eves quick lap of 63.528 seconds was faster than McElrea by a tenth-of-a-second.

The top 10 drivers – Eves, McElrea, Sulaiman, Zach Holden, Kaminsky, Tomaselli, Baron, Sundaramoorthy, Rasmussen and Manuel Cabrera – were all within one second of Eves.

Three drivers did not register as turning any laps in the session.

Darren Keane, the quickest driver in Practice #1, had a transponder issue and will have to start near the rear of the 21-car grid. Rookie Eduardo Barrichello had the same fate befall him.

TSO Ladder caught up with Keane after the session, and Cape Motorsports driver knows he has his work cut out for him, but at the same time was looking forward to having the opportunity to work on his passing.

Matthew Round-Garrido, was dealing with a throttle sensor issue that persisted from the first practice session and was unable to turn any laps.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Andersen RacePark Qualifying 1 Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:13.528 –.—- 7
2 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:13.650 0.1227 11
3 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:13.689 0.1608 8
4 27 Zach Holden BN Racing 1:13.718 0.1904 8
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:13.744 0.2159 11
6 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:13.851 0.3235 10
7 14 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport 1:13.879 0.3511 8
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:14.332 0.8042 9
9 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:14.379 0.8510 7
10 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport 1:14.629 1.1016 4
11 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:14.698 1.1701 8
12 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing 1:14.974 1.4466 4
13 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:15.461 1.9333 8
14 77 Jose Sierra Legacy Autosport 1:15.688 2.1606 7
15 69 Nate Aranda Team E JAY Racing 1:15.738 2.2101 8
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:16.303 2.7753 4
17 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:17.703 4.1749 2
18 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 1:20.403 6.8748 5
19 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports No Time
20 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development No Time
21 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports No Time

USF2000 Race #2 Qaulifying

For the second straight day, USF2000 qualifying was a disjointed session that was interrupted by a pair of red flags.

And also, for the second straight day, a last-second hot lap by a Cape Motorsports driver captured the coveted inside front row starting spot.

This time it was Darren Keane, who’s lap of 62.653 him a dominant pole. The 19-year-old’s lap was over three-tenths ahead of his teammate and Race #1 pole-sitter Braden Eves.

This is the first career poll for Keane, and the seventh at Cape Motorsports’ home track.

The 20-minute session was only a few minutes old when the red flag came out when Manuel Sulaiman, who will start Friday’s first USF2000 race from the inside of the second row, hit the tire barriers. The No. 12 DEForce Racing USF-17 sustained damage to the left rear and was not able to continue.

The green flag came out with just over half of the twenty minutes session remaining on the clock, but that didn’t last long.

The red flag flew again after only three minutes of green flag running when rookie Eduardo Barrichello’s No. 41 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports machine came to a halt on track.

The top 10 after one green flag lap were Alexandre Baron (Legacy Autosport), Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Keane, Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), Eves, Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Bruna Tomaselli (Pabst Racing), Zach Holden (BN Racing) and Matthew Round-Garrido (Jay Howard Driver Development)

The efficient AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to move the stricken car quickly and the track went back green for a four-minute pole shootout.

Baron was the first to improve his time, but was quickly bumped by Kaminsky first and Keane second.

On the second flying lap, McElrea was the first to jump to the provisional pole, but it was Keane who eventually ended up in the top spot.

The second row is made up of Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Rasmussen and Legacy Autosport veteran Baron.

The Pabst Racing quartet of McElrea, Kaminsky, Tomaselli and Sundaramoorthy will all start in the top ten with Holden and Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing).

St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting Race 2 Qualifying Results.

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:12.653 –.—- 8
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:13.016 0.3627 8
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:13.018 0.3643 8
4 14 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport 1:13.232 0.5782 8
5 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:13.239 0.5859 8
6 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:13.251 0.5975 9
7 27 Zach Holden BN Racing 1:13.409 0.7553 8
8 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 1:13.510 0.8566 8
9 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:13.545 0.8920 8
10 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:13.594 0.9407 8
11 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development 1:13.725 1.0720 8
12 77 Jose Sierra Legacy Autosport 1:13.853 1.1997 8
13 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport 1:13.902 1.2484 8
14 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:14.206 1.5530 8
15 69 Nate Aranda Team E JAY Racing 1:14.529 1.8755 8
16 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing 1:14.596 1.9422 8
17 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:14.784 2.1311 8
18 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:14.895 2.2421 8
19 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:16.280 3.6268 8
20 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing No Time
21 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 7:12.191 0.0000 2

The first USF2000 race of the year gets the green flag at 11:45 am.

Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:

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A pair of veterans, Darren Keane (USF2000) and Parker Thompson (Indy Pro 2000) lead Road To Indy practice in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship was the first INDYCAR sanctioned series to officially kick off their season in preparation for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Andersen RacePark. The sky was a brilliant blue with no clouds and the temperature just cracking 70F.

It was not a surprise two quickest laps of the first USF2000 practice session of the season was led by a pair of veterans. Cape Motorsports’ Darren Keane led the way with a lap of 74.056 seconds. The lap was five-hundredths quicker that track record holder Alexandre Baron.

DEForce Racing rookie Manuel Sulaiman, who is making his first ever start on a street course, ended the session with the third quickest lap.

Rookie Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports) and veteran Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) led a pair of Aussie rookies, Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) and Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing).

The first red flag of the session and season came out only five minutes into the lone 30-minute practice session for an incident with Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Matthew Round-Garrido.

At that early part of the session, the top three were Baron, Keane, and McElrea.

The green flag came back out five minutes later and times began to drop as drivers got their Cooper Tire slicks up the correct operating temperature.

The second red flag came out with ten minutes remaining. It was veteran Darren Keane that had the quickest lap at 74.4896 seconds. Baron, MeElrea, Colin Kaminsky and Manuel Sulaiman made up the remainder of the top five.

The track went green again with six minutes remaining and was immediately busy with the buzzing of twenty Elite Engine 2.0 liter power plants.

At the end of the session, 11 of the 19 drivers that turned laps at speed were within one second of Keane’s fast lap.

USF2000 Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice #1 timesheet

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:14.056 –.—- 16
2 14 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport 1:14.113 0.0571 16
3 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:14.253 0.1967 17
4 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:14.363 0.3067 16
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:14.378 0.3221 17
6 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:14.389 0.3328 16
7 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 1:14.711 0.6547 16
8 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:14.895 0.8387 17
9 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:14.976 0.9196 16
10 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:15.103 1.0466 16
11 27 Zach Holden BN Racing 1:15.138 1.0815 14
12 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:15.443 1.3869 16
13 90 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport 1:15.552 1.4963 15
14 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:15.555 1.4994 14
15 28 Anthony Famularo BN Racing 1:16.572 2.5157 15
16 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:16.741 2.6849 15
17 69 Nate Aranda Team E JAY Racing 1:16.781 2.7251 14
18 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:17.111 3.0550 16
19 77 Jose Sierra Legacy Autosport 1:22.714 8.6576 2
20 5 Matt Round-Garrido Jay Howard Driver Development No Time
21 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development No Time

The USF2000 series has a twenty-minute qualifying for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg rolls off at 4:45 pm.

Parker Thompson, who is on a one event deal with rookie team Abel Motorsports served notice that he left the cold and snow of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada for the warmth of the “Sunshine City,” for one reason. To have fun (and maybe win too).

The 21-year-old’s quick lap at 58.7842 seconds was almost eight-tenths ahead of his next closest competitor, Juncos Racing rookie Rasmus Lindh.

Lindh led a sextet of drivers of drivers covered by a half second that included Lindh, his teammate Sting Ray Robb, Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport), Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport) and Nikia Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport).

The second rung of the Road To Indy, the newly renamed Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, took to the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit 15 minutes after the smaller sibling.

The 14 PM-18 entries quickly got to work on the tricky street circuit with veterans Sting Ray Robb, and Nikia Lastochkin joined by rookies Rasmus Lindh and Kyle Kirkwood at the top of the timing screens.

At the half-way point of the 30-minute session, Thompson went to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 69.320 seconds and was joined in the sub-70 second club by Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) and Robb. Veterans Moisés de la Vara and Lastochkin rounded out the top five.

With just under five minutes remaining in the session, Thompson was the first driver to turn a lap under 79-seconds and went quicker than that on his next lap.

Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products Practice #1 timesheet

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 1:08.784 –.—- 23
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 1:09.578 0.7941 21
3 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:09.648 0.8637 22
4 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:09.649 0.8647 23
5 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 1:09.756 0.9720 23
6 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1:09.882 1.0982 19
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 1:09.891 1.1065 23
8 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:10.107 1.3226 22
9 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development 1:10.430 1.6459 22
10 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:11.070 2.2853 21
11 5 Damiano Fioravanti RP Motorsport Racing 1:11.398 2.6136 20
12 91 Parker Locke Exclusive Autosport 1:11.866 3.0814 22
13 83 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing! 1:18.365 9.5812 20
14 98 Phillippe Denes Fatboy Racing! No Time

The Indy Pro 2000 series has a 20-minute qualifying session for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products rolls off at 5:20 pm.

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