Archives for Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda – TSO

Road To Indy schedules each feature 18 races

By Steve Wittich

An increased scholarship and award fund of 2.7 million dollars will await the winners on each of the three steps on the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder after an 18-race 2020 season.

The schedule looks similar to 2019 with a few minor changes. Last year, the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires joined the NTT IndyCar Series in their debut at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. This year, the top-level open-wheel series in the United States will be joined by the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The April doubleheader will be the first race appearance for the lowest rung of the ladder on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course. The Indy Pro 2000 series has made one previous appearance at the Austin, Texas track, starting their 2013 season with a pair of races.

In 2020, the Indy Lights returns to Barber Motorsports Park to contest a pair of races on the tricky and undulating 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course. The series has contested 14 previous races at the Birmingham, Alabama circuit.

“I am very happy with our calendar for next season,” said Dan Andersen, Owner, and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We’ve managed to eliminate the large break we have had in April with a return to Barber Motorsports Park for Indy Lights and the addition of Circuit of The Americas for Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000. Now all three series are racing monthly from March through September.”

2020 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 9 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
3-4 April 4/5 Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham Alabama
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 18 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

2020 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 7/8 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
Open Test April 23 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
3-4 April 25/26 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 11 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
Open Test September 3 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 7/8 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
Open Test April 23 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
3-4 April 25/26 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 11 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
Open Test September 3 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

We’ll be back more on some cost saving initiatives in a while.

Chris Griffis Memorial Test provides the perfect introduction to the Road To Indy and NTT IndyCar Series

By Steve Wittich

Since 2011, the Chris Griffis Memorial Test has introduced several notable names to the Road To Indy as well as the NTT IndyCar Series.

The temperatures were brisk, but the skies were sunny during that first test held in late October in honor of Chris Griffis, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Lights team manager who passed away suddenly that September.

Making their U.S debut during the two days of testing were a pair of future NTT IndyCar Series drivers.

Carlos Munoz, an IndyCar race winner, and two-time Indianapolis 500 runner-up took part in the Indy Lights portion of the test.

In Indy Pro 2000, it was Jack Hawksworth, who made his first appearance on American Soil. The 2012 Indy Pro 2000 champion has made 49 IndyCar starts and is currently wheeling a Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Hawksworth has won twice this year and is now third in the season-long championship.

Jack Hawksworth during his first test on U.S. soil at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

“It was my first time in the (United) States for motor racing,” explained Hawksworth to TSO Ladder when asked about that test. “Indianapolis – the famous circuit known all over the world – so going there and going through the gates was very cool.”

“I had a lot of fun — it what effectively sparked my interest in the US. The test went quite well and helped me get a deal done with Team Pelfrey, and set me on my way. I raced (Star) Mazda the next year, and I’ve been racing over here ever since.”

Also appearing in the 2011 test was Nicolas Latifi, who was making his first appearance in cars before moving to Europe to chase his Formula 1 dream. The 24-year-old Canadian has won four times in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this season and is currently second in the championship table.

IndyCar drivers Kyle Kaiser and Jack Harvey made their Road To Indy debuts at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Between them, the pair of drivers have ten Indy Lights wins.

Also making their Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires debuts in 2013 were:

  • Aaron Telitz, 2019 Indy Lights race winner, IndyCar hopeful and endurance driver for Lexus RC F GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
  • Jacob Edison, a professional sports car driver.
  • Nico Jamin, a professional sports car driver, piloting an LMP2 for Duqueine Engineering in the European Le Man Series.

In 2014, reigning Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward took the reins of a Team Pelfrey Indy Pro 2000 machine. The then 15-year-old led the test, using that momentum to put together a full season effort for 2015.

Patricio O’Ward gets instruction during the 2014 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Also making their debut in Indianapolis that weekend was perennial championship contender Parker Thompson. In 76 Road To Indy starts, the Canadian has a dozen wins to go along with 31 career podiums.

The following year, the annual end of season test moved to Circuit of The Americas, where a quartet of familiar names made their Road To Indy debuts. Current Indy Lights drivers Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) and Robert Megennis were joined by Indy Pro 2000 front-runners Kyle Kirkwood and Sting Ray Robb, who all tested USF2000 machinery.

In 2016, it was presumptive 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew who impressed in his Road To Indy debut.

Current USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 championship contenders Hunter McElrea and Rasmus Lindh took part in their first official Road To Indy tests during the 2017 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017.

The test, scheduled for October 19 and 20 should fit perfectly for drivers from around the world to have a chance to drive across the famous yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately, in the past, the test that was held in September often coincided with other worldwide series. This year, there is no conflict with the following worldwide junior open-wheel series FIA Formula 3 Championship – Euroformula Open Championship – Formula Renault Eurocup – BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – F3 Americas Championship – F3 Asian Championship – Japanese Formula 3 Championship – Italian F4 Championship – ADAC Formula 4 Championship – Formula 4 United States Championship – F4 Spanish Championship – China Formula 4 Championship- SMP F4 Championship- F4 Danish Championship – F2000 Championship Series -Australian Formula Ford Championship – F1600 Championship Series- Ontario F1600 – Quebec F1600 and BRSCC Formula Ford.

Friday will consist of an educational summit, and each series will have 4.5 hours of track time on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course throughout Saturday and Sunday.

If you are driver looking for a seat for the two-day test, you can find the team contact info at the links below.

Indy Lights teams
Indy Pro 2000 teams 
USF2000 teams 

Here is the on-track schedule:

Saturday

TIME EVENT
7:30am – 8:30am Track Walk
9am – 9:45am USF2000 Practice #1
9:55am – 10:40am Indy Pro 2000 Practice #1
10:50am – 11:35am Indy Lights Practice #1
11:45am – 12:30pm USF2000 Practice #2
12:30pm – 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm – 2pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #2
2:10pm – 2:55pm Indy Lights Practice #2
3pm – 3:45pm USF2000 Practice #3
3:55pm – 4:40pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #3
4:50pm – 5:35pm Indy Lights Practice #3

Sunday

TIME EVENT
9am – 9:45am USF2000 Practice #4
9:55am – 10:40am Indy Pro 2000 Practice #4
10:50am – 11:35am Indy Lights Practice #4
11:45am – 12:30pm USF2000 Practice #5
12:30pm – 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm – 2pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #5
2:10pm – 2:55pm Indy Lights Practice #5
3pm – 3:45pm USF2000 Practice #6
3:55pm – 4:40pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #6
4:50pm – 5:35pm Indy Lights Practice #6

A quick thought from Steve:

These are two of my favorite days of the racing season. I relish the chance to meet young drivers that are possibly embarking on their Road To Indy journey . It’s a relaxed atmosphere, but a the same time, it’s still serious business. It’s a little like being able to watch a first date as drivers and teams both work hard to make an excellent first impression on each other. Is that a little creepy? Yes, but I can’t deny that it’s entertaining and informative.

Current Indy Pro 2000 points leader Kyle Kirkwood made his Road To Indy debut at the 2015 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Circuit of The Americas (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Road to Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Sunday – 4:45 p.m. – McElrea completes USF2000 weekend sweep, grabs points lead

Capping off a dominant and authoritative weekend at Portland International Raceway, Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea led flag-to-flag from pole for his third consecutive victory and fourth overall in the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season.

Additionally, today’s win moved McElrea into a provisional six-point lead over his closest title rival, Braden Eves, with one more race weekend remaining at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

McElrea’s win in the final Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend ensured five of six races here were won by “Soul Red” scholarship recipients a year ago. McElrea and Kyle Kirkwood (Indy Pro 2000) swept their respective series, while Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) had a first and second in the two Indy Lights races.

“To win here is extremely difficult; there are so many talented drivers and teams. To be P1 in every session has been a dream,” McElrea said on the podium.

After a full day of waiting, the 18 USF2000 competitors finally got their 2.0L Elite Engines fired just after 4 p.m. PDT and local time.

Just one point separated Eves from McElrea entering the race. The two championship protagonists rolled off right next to each other, with McElrea leading the field in his soul red No. 22 Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-17 and Eves second in his white No. 8 Cape Motorsports entry.

After a single pace lap the field came out of Turn 12, formed up and took the green flag. The field made it through the Festival Curves, perhaps mercifully, without incident.

At the end of Lap 1 the order was McElrea, Eves, Kaminsky, Crawford, Holden, Gold, Keane, Barrichello, Sundaramoorthy and Sulaiman in the top 10 with Tomaselli, Siegel, Green, Bogle, Miller, Dupell and Ori completing the first lap. Rasmussen, who started third, headed to pit lane with an issue.

Holden had delivered quite an impressive early race charge in his No. 14 Legacy Autosport car, up to fifth at the start and around Crawford for fourth by Lap 2. Keane also made a move around his Cape teammate Gold for sixth.

By Lap 3 Holden was the fastest car on the track and closing down on Kaminsky for third. Further back in the pack, Sulaiman got Sundaramoorthy for ninth.

He got past Kaminsky for third on the fourth lap and was within 1.6 seconds of Eves for second.

Keane got past Crawford for fifth on Lap 6 with a bold and aggressive move to the inside at Turn 10, showing his race craft in earnest.

Kaminsky responded to Holden’s pace with the fastest lap on Lap 6, while the McElrea/Eves battle at the front of the field remained static. Sulaiman passed young Barrichello for eighth on the same circuit.

Holden and Kaminsky’s battle for third continued to rage while McElrea set the new fastest lap on Lap 8, and extended his lead to Eves to more than 2.1 seconds.

Gold was having a great battle with the DEForce teammates of Sulaiman and Barrichello for seventh, with the teenager holding back the pair of blue cars.

At the conclusion of Lap 10, the order was still McElrea ahead of Eves by 3.1 seconds, with Holden, Kaminsky and Keane the top five. Crawford was sixth ahead of Sulaiman and Barrichello, who both got Gold, and then Tomaselli completed the top 10.

Tomaselli later passed Gold for ninth. Green, Sundaramoorthy and Siegel were also closing on the fourth of four Cape cars to try to demote him further down the order.

At Lap 13, halfway home, McElrea’s lead was 3.6839 seconds with no further changes in the top 10 and all 18 cars still circulating.

Sundaramoorthy had a quick trip through the Festival Curves runoff and dropped a spot from 12th to 13th, with Siegel moving ahead of him in the Newman Wachs car.

With less than 10 laps to go, the McElrea lead remained steady at 3.7 seconds and change.

With five laps to go, Holden had to fight harder to hold Kaminsky at bay for the battle for third. McElrea’s lead over Eves stretched north of 4.7 seconds.

Kaminsky remained locked on Holden’s gearbox with just two laps to go, close but unable to make a passing attempt to get around him.

McElrea took the white flag still well clear of Eves, north of 5.5 seconds.

He took the checkered flag by a final margin of victory of 5.5127 seconds over Eves. Holden secured the final podium position by just over a tenth of a second over Kaminsky. This is Holden’s second podium finish of the season, having also finished third at St. Petersburg race two back in March.

There were a few other late-race changes involving the Jay Howard Driver Development group. Green made it to 10th after a checkered flag and after racing the entire event playing catch-up after his first lap pit stop, Rasmussen passed teammate Bogle for 17th on the final lap. He’d also set the fastest race lap.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Portland Grand Prix – Race #2 Unofficial Results

P No Name Team Laps Diff
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 25
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 25 5.5127
3 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 25 7.0539
4 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 25 7.2444
5 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 25 9.3538
6 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 25 13.7975
7 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 25 17.1918
8 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 25 19.0390
9 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 25 19.3233
10 5 Josh Green Jay Howard Driver Development 25 21.1953
11 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 25 21.3304
12 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 25 22.7133
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 25 26.9590
14 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 25 30.5474
15 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 25 31.8179
16 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 25 58.1400
17 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 25 58.6857
18 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 25 59.1202
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Road To Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Saturday – 5:15 pm – McElrea dominates USF2000 Race 1; closes to within 1 point of title lead

Hunter McElrea has enjoyed a successful weekend at Portland International Raceway thus far and continued it with an authoritative victory in the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race of the weekend. He’s provisionally closed to within one point of Braden Eves for the championship lead thus far. 

“It’s a mega feeling. It’s been an incredible weekend. We’ve topped every session. The car the Pabst Racing guys have given me have made my job rather easy thus far,” McElrea said on the podium after controlling the race in his No. 22 Tatuus USF-17, adorned in the soul red colors of Mazda Motorsports.

After a thrilling NTT IndyCar Series qualifying session, the 18 USF2000 drivers had a tough act to follow in the first race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products.

The call to fire the 2.0L Elite Engines came at 4:25 pm.

After a single pace lap, the front row of McElrea and Eves brought the nine rows of two to the start finish line.

McElrea got the jump on Eves and was the first driver to clear the Festival Curves. In fact, all 18 drivers made it cleanly through the yellow inducing sector. The only glitch was Nolan Siegel, who bumped over the curb on the inside of Turn 2, but was able he was able to continue.

Yuven Sundaramoorthy spun at the west end of the track and the two rookies who had issues early on the opening got together In Turn 11. Both drivers were able to continue, but the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine of Siegel lost a lap.

Rasmussen, who had originally qualified third, but because he did not slow at least 15% in a sector with a local yellow (Rule 7.1.3.2), was given a two spot grid penalty, meaning the Dane started in fifth. It only took him the first lap to make his way back into the third spot.

The running order at the end of the first lap was: McElrea, Eves, Rasmussen, Jak Crawford, Colin Kaminsky, Manuel Sulaiman, Darren Keane, Zach Holden, Eduardo Barrichello, Reece Gold, Bruna Tomaselli, Josh Green, Kyle Dupell, Christian Bogle, Ayrton Ori, Jack William Miller, Sundaramoorthy, and Siegel.

McElrea’s lead over Eves to begin lap five was only 0.8 seconds. Rasmussen was a second behind the second place driver. Behind them, things were static.

However McElrea set a new fastest lap at 1:11.8728 on Lap 10 to increase his lead to 1.3031 seconds.

Crawford passed Kaminsky for fourth on Lap 11 to break up the stasis.

At the halfway point of the race, Lap 13 of 25, McElrea led Eves, Rasmussen, Crawford and Kaminsky, with Sulaiman, Keane, Holden, Barrichello and Tomaselli in the top 10. Gold was 11th ahead of Green, Dupell, Miller, Bogle, Ori, Sundaramoorthy and Siegel.

Tomaselli later got around Holden for ninth on Lap 17.

With five laps to go the order remained unchanged up front. McElrea extended his lead over Eves to more than four seconds, with Rasmussen third and Kaminsky back around Crawford for fourth. Keane got Sulaiman for sixth while Barrichello, sensing the opportunity, tried to get his new DEForce Racing teammate and gain another position himself.

Rasmussen was now within four tenths of Eves for second with McElrea’s lead now well north of 4.4 second.

Keane got past Crawford for fifth as further down the order, one of the Legacy Autosport cars (Ori) went off course and through the pits.

McElrea took the white flag with a 4.6 second lead over Eves, who was holding on with everything to keep Rasmussen at bay.

He brought it home to the checkered flag by 4.8713 seconds, with Eves able to hang on to second over Rasmussen. Kaminsky and Keane completed the top five.

Crawford, Sulaiman, Barrichello, Tomaselli and Holden rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products Race #1 – Unofficial Results

P No Name Team Laps Diff
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 25
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 25 4.8713
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 25 5.4358
4 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 25 16.1443
5 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 25 17.6402
6 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 25 19.5516
7 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 25 19.8186
8 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 25 20.5335
9 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 25 22.1288
10 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 25 22.6569
11 5 Josh Green Jay Howard Driver Development 25 24.2893
12 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 25 24.5648
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 25 33.0238
14 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 25 34.3752
15 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 25 49.6012
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 25 57.9336
17 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 24 1 LAPS
18 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 24 1 LAPS

Tomorrow’s second race caps off the weekend activity, starting at 4:15 p.m. PDT and local time.

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Road To Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Saturday – 9:40am – McElrea grabs his fourth straight pole – collects important bonus point

For the fourth straight USF2000 race, the Soul Red No. 2 of 200K Mazda Scholarship winner Hunter McElrea will start from the inside of the front row.

The pole for Sunday’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products race is the American born Kiwi’s fifth of the season. The bonus point, along with the bonus point from yesterday, equates to McElrea trailing championship leader Braden Eves by seven points instead of nine.

TSO caught up with McElrea this morning before qualifying, and he told us that the flowing nature and lack of run-off on the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn Portland International Raceway road course remind him of the Australian tracks he has raced on in the past.

The Gold Coast, Australia resident, just missed out setting the USF2000 track record by 13-thousandths of a second.

It was Pacific Northwest Chamber of Commerce weather that greeted the 18 USF2000 entries when their second qualifying session of the weekend began. There were no clouds in the sky. The ambient temperature was 68Fand the track temperature was 78F.

Early in the session, it was points leader Eves that held the provisional pole.

Some of the quicker drivers – Eves, McElrea, Gold, and Keane, among others – set an early fast lap before coming to pit road for adjustments.

At the half-way point of the 20-minute qualifying session, the provisional pole sitter was Zach Holden with a lap of 71.8790 seconds. Eves, McElrea, Rasmussen, Gold, Crawford, Sundaramoorthy, Keane, Sulaiman, and Siegel were the rest of the top 10.

Things started to change quickly though with Rasmussen and McElrea trading the provisional pole with laps times creeping towards the track record of 70.9038 seconds set by Rasmus Lindh last year.

With five minutes left, it was McElrea at the top of the timing screens, with Eves and Rasmussen both within a tenth of a second of the Pabst Racing driver.

The Soul Red No. 22 on the next lap, was the first driver to go under 71 seconds, turning a lap just shy of the track record.

With just under a minute left, Eves crossed the timing line with his best lap of the session, but it was still not almost two-tenths adrift of McElrea. The Cape Motorsports rookie was not able to go quicker on his final lap.

Late in the session, Kaminsky, Barichello, Sundaramoorthy, and Gold all moved into the top ten.

Unofficial qualifying results for Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products Race #2

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FASTEST LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:10.916 –.—- 15
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:11.102 0.1854 14
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:11.229 0.3128 13
4 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:11.328 0.4111 14
5 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:11.366 0.4498 15
6 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:11.449 0.5330 15
7 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:11.466 0.5500 13
8 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 1:11.554 0.6376 14
9 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:11.562 0.6454 16
10 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:11.591 0.6742 14
11 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:11.642 0.7255 9
12 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:11.644 0.7272 14
13 5 Josh Green Jay Howard Driver Development 1:12.012 1.0954 13
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:12.145 1.2283 16
15 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:12.154 1.2378 14
16 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:12.317 1.4004 16
17 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 1:12.614 1.6980 16
18 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:12.791 1.8748 13

The bottom rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on track at 4:30 pm for their first race of the weekend.

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Road to Indy at the Grand Prix of Portland – 5:35 p.m. – McElrea speeds to USF2000 Race 1 pole

The championship battle between Hunter McElrea and Braden Eves in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship action heated up as the sun set Friday evening at Portland International Raceway.

McElrea beat Eves to the pole position for the first of two races this weekend, as the Pabst Racing driver looks to catch and pass the Cape Motorsports driver for the points lead. Nine points down entering the weekend, McElrea will seek to close that gap following his fourth pole position of the season.

While Eves looked a potential polesitter after snatching the provisional top spot away from Jay Howard Driver Development’s Christian Rasmussen, McElrea responded by throwing down the gauntlet at 1:11.6752, his first of two laps eventually good enough for pole. It was a time nearly three tenths faster than either Eves or Rasmussen, who were both in the 1:11.9 bracket.

McElrea got even quicker with another lap at 1:11.5920 while Eves was able to make it to 1:11.7737, a tenth and a half shy of the top spot.

Behind the top three, the other impressive driver was 14-year-old Jak Crawford, in the RE/Max-supported No. 4 Cape Motorsports entry. Crawford briefly held the top spot before Rasmussen edged ahead. Either way, he’ll match his car number starting a season and career-best fourth place. His previous best was fifth on two occasions.

Colin Kaminsky rounds out the top five in the second of four Pabst cars. Of note, Yuven Sundaramoorthy made it back to eighth place in his repaired Pabst car following an accident in practice. Bruna Tomaselli in the fourth Pabst car starts 12th.

Slightly further down the order, Eduardo Barrichello qualified ninth in his first outing for DEForce Racing. Series debutantes Josh Green (Jay Howard Driver Development) and Ayrton Ori (Legacy Autosport) will roll off 15th and 17th, and sandwich series returnee Kyle Dupell in the second Newman/Wachs car.

USF2000 has two on-track sessions Saturday. Qualifying for Race 2 takes place at 9:05 a.m. PDT with Race 1 at 4:30 p.m. PDT.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – Qualifying Race #1

P No Name Team FTime Diff Laps
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:11.564 –.—- 11
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:11.704 0.1402 13
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:11.904 0.3399 15
4 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:12.004 0.4400 14
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:12.136 0.5722 11
6 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:12.151 0.5869 13
7 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:12.152 0.5881 13
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:12.216 0.6515 14
9 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 1:12.290 0.7262 15
10 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:12.309 0.7450 14
11 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:12.336 0.7715 14
12 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:12.441 0.8762 14
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:12.570 1.0060 16
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:12.586 1.0214 16
15 5 Josh Green Jay Howard Driver Development 1:12.720 1.1556 15
16 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 1:13.132 1.5675 16
17 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:13.397 1.8326 15
18 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:13.887 2.3231 15

Road to Indy at Portland – 1 p.m. – McElrea beats Eves to lead USF2000 Practice

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship contenders, Braden Eves and Hunter McElrea, traded punches and best laps in Friday’s lone practice session before qualifying. But ultimately McElrea ended fastest to set the tone before qualifying later on Friday evening.

At 12:35 p.m. the 18 cars entered rolled for their first official practice of 25 minutes. Similar to the Indy Pro 2000 series, they also tested yesterday. Championship leader Eves led the quartet of Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17 cars out on course to begin the session.

A few cars took detours through the Festival Curves on their first flying laps after missing their braking points, but all resumed without incident.

Pabst Racing’s McElrea was first to dip into the 1:11s at 1:11.918, which broke up a logjam of three drivers within the same tenth at 1:12.1. Eves followed shortly thereafter at 1:11.990.

With a little more than 15 minutes remaining the red flag flew for Yuven Sundaramoorthy in his No. 21 Pabst Racing car coming onto the front straight. Sundaramoorthy dropped all four wheels off course entering Turn 12 and his left side tires and rear wing collected the tire barrier before coming to rest on the front straight. Sundaramoorthy got out under his own power with the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team there immediately. He was sixth in the session prior to the incident, just over half a second off teammate McElrea atop the charts.

The session resumed with 10 minutes to go after a five-minute red flag. However with five minutes to go, Jack William Miller was stopped on course at pit out. The Miller Vinatieri Motorsports driver had had a rough session with only a handful of laps turned, none representative on pace. This brought out the second red flag of the session. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Tam brought Miller back to pit out and the session resumed after a quick minute and a half stoppage.

Just before the red, Eves got back ahead of McElrea with a lap at 1:11.793. But that didn’t hold.

In their final laps, McElrea got down to a 1:11.541 to edge Eves at 1:11.647. A couple others also dropped into the 1:11 bracket, including Manuel Sulaiman of DEForce Racing and Zach Holden of Legacy Autosport.

The USF2000 qualifying from 5:10 to 5:30 p.m. PDT tonight concludes Friday’s on-track activity.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – Practice

P No Name Team FTime Diff Laps
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:11.591 –.—- 14
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:11.616 0.0247 15
3 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:11.966 0.3747 13
4 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:11.990 0.3992 14
5 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:12.117 0.5261 14
6 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:12.122 0.5310 13
7 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:12.138 0.5470 14
8 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:12.185 0.5937 13
9 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:12.225 0.6338 15
10 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 1:12.267 0.6755 14
11 5 Josh Green Jay Howard Driver Development 1:12.379 0.7881 14
12 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:12.386 0.7952 15
13 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:12.445 0.8535 6
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:12.803 1.2118 14
15 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 1:13.203 1.6121 14
16 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:13.372 1.7812 13
17 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:13.722 2.1305 14
18 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 2:02.160 50.5686 4

USF2000 at Portland International Raceway – Preview – entertaining title fight between Eves and McElrea – Rasmussen is hot – some newcomers

 

By Steve Wittich

Game on! Only nine points separate Braden Eves and Hunter McElrea in the chase for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship title chase with only four races left on the calendar.

The 20-year-old Eves started the season with four straight trips to victory lane and a 44-point lead over Pabst Racing rookie McElrea when the “Month of May” came to a close.

One win, and two races later, the New Albany, Ohio driver began summer with a 41 point advantage over his Yankee/Kiwi/Aussie rival.

But, a mistake, some bad luck, a lack of pace, and being a victim of another driver’s aggressive driving has resulted in an average finish of 7.5 over the last four races.

In that same span, McElrea has a win and three podiums, outscoring Eves by an 88 to 56 margin.

Braden Eves (No. 8) leads his Cape Motorsports teammate Darren Keane (No. 2) and Hunter McElrea (No. 22) earlier during the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The bottom rung of the Road To Indy has visited the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn road course four times and all four times, it was Cape Motorsports driver that stood on the top step of the podium.

Previous USF2000 winners at Portland International Raceway

YEAR DRIVER TEAM
2018 Race #2 Kyle Kirkwood Cape Motorsports
2018 Race #1 Kyle Kirkwood Cape Motorsports
2006 Race #2 J.R. Hildebrand Cape Motorsports
2006 Race #1 J.R. Hildebrand Cape Motorsports

Eves has a slight track knowledge advantage over McElrea after making his series debut on the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn road course last year. Competing with Newman Wachs Racing, he finished an impressive sixth in his first race and was taken out in Turn 1 on Lap 1 in his second race.

But, with a trio of 45-minute test sessions today, that advantage shouldn’t be too significant.


Road Course Crystal Ball… advantage McElrea?

Maybe, but certainly not by much.

The final four races of the championship will be contested on natural terrain road courses, giving us reason to look backward.

In the previous six races contested on natural terrain road courses at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road America, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Hunter McElrea has outscored Braden Eves by a slim 160 to 143 margin.

Eves has three wins compared to two for McElrea (Christian Rasmussen has the other win), but McElrea’s average finish of 2.0 is better than Eves’ average of 3.7.

Road Course Points Through Six Of Ten Races

RANK DRIVER POINTS BACK
1 Braden Eves – R 260
2 Hunter McElrea – R 251 -9
3 Darren Keane 207 -53
4 Colin Kaminsky 199 -61
5 Christian Rasmussen – R 198 -62
6 Manuel Sulaiman – R 161 -99
7 Cameron Shields – R 137 -123
8 Bruna Tomaselli 130 -130
9 Jak Crawford – R 130 -130
10 Reece Gold – R 125 -135
11 Matthew Round-Garrido – R 122 -138
12 Yuven Sundaramoorthy – R 119 -141
13 Zach Holden 107 -153
14 Eduardo Barrichello- R 93 -167
15 Alexandre Baron 92 -168
16 Nolan Siegel – R 89 -171
17 Christian Bogle – R 75 -185
18 Jack William Miller – R 69 -191
19 Anthony Famularo – R 67 -193
20 Manuel Cabrera 21 -239
21 Dakota Dickerson 15 -245
22 Jose Sierra 12 -248
23 Timmy Pagliuso 9 -251
24 Nate Aranda – R 2 -258

Going fast and leading laps aka bonus points

With only nine points separating Braden Eves and Hunter McElrea, don’t be surprised if bonus points play a role in who wins the title.

Each race has three bonus points available; one each for winning the pole, one for leading the most laps, and one for having the quickest race lap.

Eves has three poles, led the most laps on four occasions and had the quickest lap of the race twice to score nine bonus points so far this season.

McElrea has six bonus points, including a trio of pole positions, twice leading the most laps as well as collecting the quickest lap of the race once.

The only driver to score ‘max points’ so far in 2019 is Eves, who accomplished the feat in the second race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

USF2000 bonus points in 2019

RANK DRIVER POINTS
1 Darren Keane 9
2 Braden Eves – R 9
3 Hunter McElrea – R 6
4 Christian Rasmussen – R 5
5 Colin Kaminsky 2

Hot Dane

Hunter McElrea isn’t the only driver that has made up significant ground in the championship in July.

Jay Howard Driver’s Development’s Christian Rasmussen heads to the final four races as the hottest driver over the last five races. The rookie’s 131 points are 19 more than the next most productive driver.

Rasmussen has two wins, four podiums, one pole, and has led 55 of 97 laps over that five-race span. He has also had the first or second quickest race lap in all five races.

The Danish driver will need some significant help if he is to win the title and advancement scholarship. But, don’t be surprised to see him play the role of spoiler.


Other potential spoilers

Only nine points separate Darren Keane, Colin Kaminsky, and Christian Rasmussen in an entertaining battle for the third spot in the championship.

Cape Motorsports veteran Keane currently holds that third spot and is also on a role. The 19-year-old University of Florida sophomore has scored the second-most points over the last five races, including his first career win, three podiums, and three quickest race laps.

“I’m really looking forward to racing at Portland this weekend and the next four races,” Keane enthused, having just started his sophomore year at the University of Florida. “I think it is a track that I will mesh well with. The goal is two clean finishes and some good points, but I’m always aiming for the top step of the podium! I’m third in the championship and a bit far behind the leaders and I feel a bit like I’m the underdog with nothing to lose, so I’m just going to go for the wins. This championship is theirs to loose. I can’t wait to get on track this Thursday and show what we’ve got. It’s also nice to be back with the Cape boys after a long break. All in all, I’m excited for a great weekend!

Kaminsky is coming off a pair of podiums at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and trail only McElrea and Eves in points scored on natural terrain road courses. The University of Pittsburgh student’s average finish in the six previous natural terrain road course is 4.2.


Team title

The USF2000 Driver’s Championship isn’t the only one that is heating up. We’ll be carefully watching the Team Championship over the last two events.

Cape Motorsports had sprinted out to a healthy lead early in the season, but Pabst Racing has been on a tear lately and has cut the gap to a slender nine-point margin.

The Oconomowoc, Wisconsin based Pabst Racing has won the last two team titles.

USF2000 team points

RANK TEAM POINTS
1 Cape Motorsports 292
2 Pabst Racing 283
3 DEForce Racing 142
4 Newman Wachs Racing 83
5 Legacy Autosport 98
7 BN Racing 99
6 Jay Howard Driver Development 132
8 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 46
9 Exclusive Autosport 20
10 Team E-JAY 5

Changes

Moving

After contesting the first 11 races of the season with Miller Vinatieri Motorsports, Eduardo Barrichello will be making a move to DEForce Racing to get behind the wheel of the Bib’s Chocolate sponsored No. 91.

“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to drive with DEForce for the last two race weekends of the USF2000 season. I want to thank Miller Vinatieri Motorsports for their support throughout the year. Now I’m looking forward to the new challenge ahead of me.”

The Brazilian’s three top-10 finishes this season have come on the natural terrain road courses at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Road America.

Returning

Making his return to the series for the first time this season Kyle Dupell, who calls Portland, Ore. home. The 20-year-old will be at the wheel of the Opal Creek Capital / Family Help and Wellness sponsored No. 73 from the Newman Wachs Racing stable.

Dupell made 14 USF2000 starts last year, including a pair of tenth place finishes on the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn road course.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Newman Wachs Racing for the Grand Prix of Portland,” Dupell enthused. “I believe we can do some great things together this weekend. Everything started coming together in winter testing this year, leading sessions in both Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 in official testing. I’m looking forward to the challenge of jumping into the car for the first time this year and seeing what we’re made of. Thank you to Opal Creek Capital for coming on-board with us again, and Family Help and Wellness for joining up with us and making this possible.”

Newbees

Jay Howard Driver Development will be running a third car this weekend. F1600 Championship Series stand-out Josh Green will be behind the wheel of the JHDD, CSU | One Cure, Pelican Energy, Lucas Oil sponsored No. 5.

The Mount Kisco, N.Y. driver, has won seven times and finished on the podium in 18-races, sitting second in the championship. The high-school senior was recently named as one of the six finalists for the Team USA Scholarship.

“I’m extremely excited to get to work this weekend!” said a thrilled Green. “Being my first time in the car at a new track, it’ll be a huge learning curve, and I’m confident I’ll learn a massive amount with a team as prestigious as JHDD. I can’t wait to figure out what this new car likes from both an engineering and driving standpoint, as well as speaking to, and learning from, as many new people as possible. I can’t thank Jay Howard and JHDD enough for the opportunity.”

Ayrton Ori, from Orlando, Fla. is the second F1600 Championship Series driver that will be making his series debut piloting the No. 77 Legacy Autosport USF-17. The 15-year-old has stood on the podium one time throughout two seasons and also has experience in SCCA Formula F competition.

“The whole crew at Legacy Autosport treated me like family,” explained Ori. “I was able to get fitted to the car comfortably and while on track, the team consistently worked with me to ensure I was learning with each passing lap. Driving a non-winged car is much different than a USF2000, but I am excited and ready for the challenge that lies ahead.”


A Champion

DEForce Racing rookie Manuel Sulaiman heads to the Pacific Northwest as a champion. The Puebla, Mexico won ten times on the way to clinching the 2018–19 edition of the NACAM Formula 4 Championship. Fellow USF2000 competitor Jak Crawford finished right behind Sulaiman.


This week 13 years ago, Alexander Rossi, who is in the fight for the NTT IndyCar Series championship, tested with Cape Motorsports. Here was the press release from the series at that time. https://web.archive.org/web/20061024041122/http://www.cooperseries.com/news/news_september0206_alexander_rossi_tests_in_palmetto.html

Palmetto FL (September 1, 2006) – The fourteen-year-old talented driver and Skip Barber 2006 Scholarship winner from Nevada City, California came to Group Four Park with the expectation of doing well but not setting the world on fire. It turned out he would set a track record in a Formula 1000 car.

Despite blistering heat and having never driven the F1000 car, Alexander Rossi would adapt quickly and begin putting down laps that would challenge the times of other drivers many years his senior. Dominic and Nicholas Cape, owners of Cape Motorsports, would put Alexander through a series of tests to assess his ability to adapt and communicate how the car was performing.

Nicholas Cape, co-owner of Cape Motorsports, stated, “Rossi is a talent beyond his years. He showed impressive pace and adaptability and never put a wheel wrong. When you consider his age and where he is in his career, this definitely marks him as future champion.”

Alexander would continue putting in faster laps as the day progressed, learning the car and controls, adjusting the setup and then concentrating on the track. By early afternoon he would go on to set a new track record in an F1000 car.

Rossi would draw on his experiences in a Skip Barber car and a Formula Renault car to provide analysis of the new F1000 car. “The Skip Barber car is similar as it’s a frame rail chassis, but it doesn’t have as much power. The Formula Renault 1.6 is the exact opposite. It has a carbon fiber chassis and only 90 hp at the wheels. The F1000 car was an in-between thing because it had power but was a frame rail chassis, so it didn’t take me long to adjust. I really enjoyed the car. It was fun to drive.”

Rossi’s background in karting and experience with Skip Barber and Formula Renault is the foundation for a bright future for this young but mature driver from California. He is currently third in the point’s race in the Skip Barber National Championship presented by RACER. His next race will be one of the support races with the Champ Car World Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI, September 22-24.

Alexander Rossi testing with Cape Motorsports (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)


Other Steve type things

  • Braden Eves has five podiums this season. All of them are wins.
  • The USF2000 Championship has only visited Portland International Raceway twice and that eventual champion – J.R. Hildebrand in 2006 and Kyle Kirkwood in 2018 – has won.
  • The pole-sitter has won three of the four USF2000 races at Portland International Raceway.

Race Weekend Basics

Race #1: Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products
Race #2: Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products

Race #1 distance: 25 laps or 40 minutes
Race #2 distance: 25 laps or 40 minutes

Each entry can utilize three new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the test at Portland International Raceway.

Drivers failing to slow at least 15% in a timing sector with a local yellow will be subject to a two-place grid spot penalty.

Drivers who fail to heed the checkered flag at the end of a session will receive a two-grid spot penalty

Causing one red flag will result in a driver losing their fastest lap.

Causing a second red flag will wipe out all of drivers laps, and they will be parked for the remainder of the session

Driver points are distributed as follows: 30 – 25 – 22 – 19 – 17 – 15 -14 – 13 – 12 – 11 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – an additional one point will be awarded to the pole sitter, to the driver who leads the most laps, and to the driver who turns the quickest race lap


Watch last year’s USF2000 races

Race #1

Race #2

 


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

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Road To Indy at Mid-Ohio – Sunday – McElrea wins – title gap is now down to single digits

By Steve Wittich

Game on for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. Cape Motorsports rookie Braden Eves won four of the first five races of the season to build a 44 championship lead over Hunter McElrea as the “Month of May” came to an end.

Hunter McElrea celebrates winning a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

McElrea, the Mazda Road To Indy 200K Shootout Winner has turned the tables though, winning twice in the last six races and outscoring Eves by 36 points in those half-dozen races.

With a trip to the top step of the podium from the pole and the quickest lap of the race, the American born Kiwi scored 33 points, the maximum on offer.

Eves finished outside of the top five for the third straight race, meaning his points lead over McElrea is now only nine points. It’s the first time that McElrea has been with single digits of Eaves all season.

Christian Rasmussen, who started second for his third consecutive race was not able to repeat his first lap heroics from the Sunday’s race in Toronto and Saturday’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It is the Dane’s fourth straight race standing on one of the top two steps of the podium.

For the fourth time this season, Pabst Racing veteran Colin Kaminsky wheeled his Slick Locks sponsored No. 23 to a podium position.

Before the race note: Darren Keane, Reece Gold, Braden Eves, Manuel Sulaiman, Bruna Tomaselli, and Nolan Siegel were all penalized two grid spots for failing to slow by at least 15% in an area with a local yellow.

The front row of McElrea Rasmussen brought the 17 2.0L powered Tatuus chassis to the green flag, and unlike their big siblings, got their 20 lap race started cleanly.

McElrea got a good jump, but Rasmussen was able to close enough to take a look around the outside in the Keyhole but had to pull back in line and could not get a run down the back straight.

The running order at the end of the first lap was McElrea, Rasmussen, Kaminsky, Sundaramoorthy, Holden, Round-Garrido, Eves, Crawford, Miller, Gold, Sulaiman, Barichello, Siegel, Bogle, Tomaselli, Keane and Pagliuso.

On Lap 2, Siegel had to come to pit road to repair a damaged front wing.

On Lap 3, Jack William Miller made a daring pass of championship leader Eves on the inside of Turn 8. Eves pushed wide, and lost three more spots, dropping to 11th.

McElrea’s lead with six laps remaining was a slim 0.6553 seconds over Rasmussen. Behind the front four, Sundaramoorthy lost two spots to Matthew Round-Garrido and Jak Crawford.

On Lap 8, Eves was able to gain two spots to move back into the top 10. He passed Sulaiman on track and earned another spot when Miller went off track in Turn 10 and 11.

At the half-way point of the race, McElrea’s lead was 1.2 seconds over Rasmussen, who had a safe gap over Kaminsky. Holden was running fourth, with Round-Garrido running fifth. The BN Racing driver had the rest of the top ten – Crawford, Sundaramoorthy, Gold, Eves and Keane nose-to-tail behind him.

On Lap 12, Eves lost a spot to his Cape Motorsports teammate Keane to fall to tenth.

Round-Garrido was making his car wide, but on the next lap lost the fifth spot to Cape Motorsports 14-year-old Crawford.

With six laps remaining, Keane was able to pass his teammate gold to move up to the eighth spot.

McElrea’s lead with five laps remaining was 1.1 seconds. Behind him, Keane, who started last was working on Sundaramoorthy for the seventh spot, getting around him and immediately putting pressure on Round-Garrido.

Keane was able to gain one more spot in the final three laps to end up finishing 11 places higher than he started.

With two laps remaining, McElrea’s lead over the Jay Howard Driver Development rookie was under one second and was 0.7 seconds when they got the white flag.

On lap 19, Sundaramoorthy and Round-Garrido made contact in Turn 5, dropping them down to 14th and 13th respectively.

In the chaos, Eves was able to get past his teammate gold, moving from 10th at the start of the white flag lap to take the checkered flag in seventh. Bookmark, those three spots, we’ll come back to them when the championship comes to a close at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race #2 Unofficial Results

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 20 LAPS
2 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 0.5652
3 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 8.1742
4 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 8.6937
5 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 14.3891
6 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 17.2252
7 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 20.7171
8 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 21.1403
9 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 25.9813
10 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 26.3793
11 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 28.1250
12 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 28.5486
13 27 Matthew Round-Garrido BN Racing 33.9488
14 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 33.9488
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 41.5165
16 77 Timmy Pagliuso Legacy Autosport – 1 LAP
17 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing – 1 LAP

The lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back in action at the Portland International Raceway on Labor Day weekend.

Road To Indy at Mid-Ohio – Sunday – Kirkwood drives to victory lane for fifth time in six Indy Pro 2000 races – narrows championship deficit to 13 points

By Steve Wittich

There is no Road To Indy driver hotter than Kyle Kirkwood right now. The reigning USF2000 champion has won five of the last six Indy Pro 2000 races, and it’s his 17th career win in 25 Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts.

The 20-year-old has now won all five of his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts on the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course.

Sting Ray Robb used a daring Turn 1 pass to move to the second step of the podium. It’s the 17-year-olds fifth Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires podium.

Lindh’s incredible run of consistency continued for one more race. The Juncos Racing rookie started a season-worst sixth but finished on the podium for the ninth time in the first 11 races of the 2019 season.

The gap between leader Lindh and second place Kirkwood is now 13 points.

When the engines were fired for Indy Pro 2000 race #2, the ambient temperature was 78F, the track temperature was 89F, and the humidity was 67%.

The front row of Kirkwood and Frost led the baker’s dozen drivers slowly to the green. Robb, who was starting fourth locked up the brakes. His teammate and championship leader Lindh got into the back of him.

That caused a stack up behind them, with Antonio Serravalle and Antoine Comeau getting air as they ran into the back the drivers they were starting behind, Moisés de la Vara and Nikita Lastochkin.

Oops (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The start was waved off as Comeau’s No. 3 from Turn 3 Motorsport ended up in the grass on drivers right.

The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got the PM-18 restarted and all of the carbon fiber cleaned up, for a double-file start to begin Lap 3.

Before that, Lastochkin, de la Vara, and Serravalle all came to pit road for repairs.

Also, race control penalized Frost for an improper start, and he had to move to the back of the field for the Lap 3 start.

The running order after the first green flag lap was Kirkwood, Thompson, Robb, Rodriguez, Lindh, Denes, de la Vara, Abel, Lastochkin, Finelli, Frost, Serravalle, and Comeau.

On Lap 5, Lindh moved to fourth, getting past Rodriguez.

By the half-way point of the race, Kirkwood had a 1.3 second lead over Thompson. Robb and Lindh were closing up on Thompson, running within a second of the second-place runner.

Behind the front group, de la Vara, Abel, Lastochkin and Frost were battling for seventh through tenth.

By Lap 15, Frost had moved his way past the other three drivers to grab the seventh spot. Three laps later, he was able to get by Denes to move up to sixth after restarting on Lap 3 in 11th.

With seven laps remaining, Kirkwood’s lead was at 1.5 seconds but was erased when the yellow flag came out.

de la Vara’s DEForce Racing No. 6 did two full spins after dropping his left wheels at the exit of Turn 8, coming to a stop in the gravel. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to get him out and restarted, and he drove back to pit road.

The running order under caution was Kirkwood, Thompson, Robb, Lindh, Rodriguez, Frost, Denes, Lastochkin, Abel, Serravalle, Comeau,

The green flag came with four laps remaining. Kirkwood got a good jump, and for the second straight race, Robb made an aggressive move on a restart, passing Thompson to the inside. Thompson then lost another spot to Lindh on the run uphill to The Keyhole, dropping the Canadian off the podium.

Further back, Frost got around Rodriguez to grab the fourth spot.

With two laps remaining, Kirkwood’s lead was 1.6 second over Robb.

On Lap 23, Rodriguez grabbed the fifth spot back.

Kirkwood ended up crossing the line 3.5 seconds ahead of Robb with Lindh grabbing the last spot on the podium.

Kory Enders was entered this weekend but was not able to take part in the races. The DEForce Racing driver had to head home to Texas for a family issue.

Kyle Kirkwood rolls into victory lane at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race #2 Unofficial Results

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 25 LAPS
2 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 3.4783
3 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 3.9523
4 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 4.5132
5 5 Ian Rodriguez RP Motorsport Racing 5.3491
6 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 7.9953
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 8.3256
8 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing 11.1495
9 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development 11.4824
10 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 46.0435
11 3 Antoine Comeau Turn 3 Motorsport -1 LAP
12 83 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing – 7 LAPS
13 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing – 7 LAPS
14 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing

The middle run of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on track in a month for their second oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway.

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