Archives for USF2000 News/Results

Chris Griffis Memorial Test – Update #1 – Notebook from the two days of testing

 

By Steve Wittich

Consider tonight’s writings the first of two updates from the ninth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test. For the seventh time, the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway played host to all three steps on the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder.

TSO Ladder has made this point each time we’ve covered this event, but we’re going to make it again and go one step further. We won’t call testing times meaningless, but we will reiterate that they are one of the last things that we look at when the two days of testing are done.

Need proof? If you take nine previous years of the Chris Griffis Memorial Test and multiply it by three, you come up with 27 drivers that have led the annual end of season test. Of those 27 drivers, only five (that’s 18.5%) have won the championship the next year.

So, what do we pay attention to?

How well does the driver progress from day to day and session to session? How does a driver that is new to the Road To Indy acclimate themselves to the car and tires? How does a driver fit in well with a new team? How ready is a driver that makes the jump to the next level? How does a driver interact with their teammates? How seriously does a driver take the test? These are all questions we attempt to answer before looking at the timesheets.

We will be back with notes from each day along with timesheets tomorrow, but for now, here is a notebook of some of the other things we learned this weekend.

The ninth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was blessed with wonderful fall weather (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)


If you haven’t yet, make sure you watch Road To Indy TV Episode 11 from the finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.


So, why is Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) testing with Belardi Auto Racing?

It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

From the team side, the experienced VeeKay piloting the team’s car during the test makes sense on two fronts. First, the Dutchman helped move the Juncos Racing program forward last year and should help the Brownsburg, Ind. based team do the same. Second, VeeKay is the perfect driver to showcase how competitive your cars will be against Andretti Autosport.

Rinus VeeKay provides feedback to Belardi Auto Racing engineer Kent Boyer at the 2019 Chris Griffis Memorial Test (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

From the driver’s side, testing is so limited in modern racing that any extra seat time is beneficial.

VeeKay is coming off his second successful test with Ed Carpenter Racing. From all accounts that TSO Ladder has heard, the day-long outing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was very successful.

Look for news on the Dutch teenager’s future sooner than later.


Experienced newcomer?

TSO had a chance to chat with experienced newcomer Raoul Hyman, who is testing in Indy Pro 2000 with Exclusive Autosport.

Hyman was impressed with the PM-18’s torque and enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere in the paddock and especially with Exclusive Autosport. He hasn’t entirely made up his mind on where he will be racing next year but did tell us that he was leaning towards a switch to the U.S.A.

Raoul Hyman relaxes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before getting in an Exclusive Autosport Indy Pro 2000 car for the Chris Griffis Memorial Test (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Hyman spent this past season in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, finishing a disappointing 22nd in the championship. TSO doesn’t put much stock into that result. Last year was the first year for the new Dallara F3 2019 car, and the South African’s Sauber Charouz Racing System team didn’t have a handle on a car they’ve never run before.

The 23-year-old won the 2018 F3 Asian Championship, finished fourth in the 2019 Toyota Racing Series, and was a race winner in GP3 and BRDC Formula 4 Championship.

He’d be a great addition to the Road To Indy.


Lights car count and another test for the top rung of the Road To Indy

We’ve had some questions about why the Lights field is only five cars for the Chris Griffis Memorial Test. There are several factors. Brand new team Exclusive Autosport is still prepping their cars. HMD Motorsports is focusing on getting their restarted USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 programs sorted.

Unfortunately, the FIA Formula 3 Championship post-season test is taking place at the same time in Valencia, Spain. That series, with a similar budget to Indy Lights, has 31 drivers entered across the three-days of testing.

Also, there will be another official Indy Lights test in a few months. The top level of the Road To Indy will join the Global MX-5 Cup and the Lucas Oil School of Racing Karting Shootout for a two-day test.

With surface changes, bumps, heavy braking zones, and 90-degree turns, the 1.6-mile, 11-turn short course does a great job of mimicking a street circuit.


Safety addition for the ‘kids’

Before next season, the USF-17, PM-18 and IL-15, will all be fitted with the Advanced Frontal Protection device. The AFP is designed to keep debris from the cockpit of the car and was added to the cars of the NTT IndyCar Series before the Indianapolis 500 last year.


IndyCar driver sighting

NTT IndyCar Series championship contender Alexander Rossi was in the USF2000 paddock on Sunday. Pieter Rossi, the 7-time IndyCar race winners father, helps guide the careers of several Road To Indy drivers. This weekend, the Rossi’s were working with Pabst Racing’s Yuven Sundaramoorthy.

The Oconomowoc, Wisc. is coming off a successful first year of USF2000 action where he was one of only three drivers to complete every lap.


Road To Indy alum making good

At last year’s Chris Griffis Memorial Test, Igor Fraga spent Saturday wrenching on the Exclusive Autosport program in exchange for an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Canadian team’s Indy Pro 2000 car.

This year, the Brazilian was at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, where he won the final two races of the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship season. Fraga won four races and stood on the podium in ten races on the way to finishing third in the series that utilizes the Tatuus F3 chassis mated to a 265+ HP Alfa Romeo power plant.

Fraga earned his seat by winning the FIA Gran Turismo Nation’s Cup along with the McLaren Shadow Project by beating over 500,000 contestants around the world.

Fraga, who just turned 21-years-old spent the 2018 racing season with Exclusive Autosport, collecting three podiums and finishing fourth in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.


New Town of Speedway denizen 

Juncos Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing, and Dallara will soon have more racing company in the town of Speedway. The walls are currently going up on the new home of Abel Motorsports. The building is being built by ABEL Construction and is a partnership between team owner Bill Abel and Bob Lazier.


Speaking of Laziers

Third-generation racer Flinn Lazier spent the test in the second Abel Motorsports PM-18 alongside Jacob Abel. The Vail, Colo. native experienced mechanical gremlins on Saturday but rebounded to turn a lap within one-second of the quickest lap of the weekend on Sunday.

The Chris Griffis Memorial Test was the first time the 20-year-old had been behind the wheel of an Indy Pro 2000 car, but he is not short of open-wheel experience. Lazier joined his grandfather Bob as a Formula B/Atlantic champion at the SCCA Runoffs, winning at Virginia International Raceway last weekend. The elder Lazier won the 1971 Formula B championship Road Atlanta in 1971.

Joining Lazier at the historic track where his grandfather, the 1981 Championship Auto Racing Teams Rookie Of The Year and his father Buddy, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion.

Third-generation racer Flinn Lazier on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the ninth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

That’s it for us tonight. I’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires at Laguna Seca – Saturday – Rasmussen wins exiting USF2000 race – McElrea extends points lead

By Steve Wittich

The penultimate USF2000 race of the 2019 season featured everything that makes the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires great. Plenty wheel-to-wheel side-by-side action, a pass for the lead, and Road To Indy family helping each other.

Christian Rasmussen made a pass to collect his third race win in the last six races. Championship contenders Hunter McElrea and Braden Eves went side-by-side for a large portion of the circuit. And, Pabst Racing helped Jay Howard Driver Development get Rasmussen’s car on the grid.

Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Rasmussen is all smiles after winning his third USF2000 race of the 2019 season (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

In the morning qualifying session, Rasmussen had a gearbox fail spectacularly, damaging the 2.0L power plant in the process. The Jay Howard Driver Development crew with help and a loaned gearbox from Pabst Racing was able to get the No. 6 ready to go in time for Saturday’s afternoon race.

“I’m always flat out, no matter what,” said the Dane, who thanked Pabst Racing for the help on the podium. “I’m always going for the win, always pushing. The second half of the season has been really good for us, and if I keep showcasing my talent, I hope I can get a career out of this. But I’m so happy to be racing here. I’ve been playing this track on video games since I was a kid. To drive the Corkscrew and feel the car get lighter, the compression at the bottom, it’s amazing.”

McElrea, who fell to third on the start was able to get past Eves daringly, finishing two spots ahead of his championship rival and growing his championship lead to 12 points.

The Pabst Racing Kiwi will start at the tail of the 18-car field for today’s finale after a non-team related issue meant he couldn’t set any laps in the morning qualifying. His rival for the advancement scholarship Eves will start on the inside of the third row.

“Today was super unfortunate (in qualifying), but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said McElrea after standing on the podium for the 12th time this season. “I am so proud of the Pabst team, to get me back out on track for the race. They worked their tails off, from this morning until literally right before the race. It’s not a win, but with the scenario, we’re in now, it’s the best second I’ve ever gotten. I have new tires tomorrow but it will be a different type of race, going through the field, but it will be about coming through the field.”

For the fifth time this season, Pabst Racing veteran finished on the podium. The 20-year-old starts on the pole for Sunday’s championship decider and is looking for his first win and third place in the championship.

A win would help his teammate by keeping essential points away from Eves. It would also guarantee Kaminsky finishes the championship in third place. He leads that battle by four points over Rasmussen and five points over Darren Keane.

Eves was the first driver to arrive at Turn 2 and was the first to exit. Behind him, Rasmussen was able to get around McElrea for third after the Soul Red No. 22 dropped his right-side tires at the exit of the hairpin.

The running order at the end of the first lap was: Eves, Rasmussen, McElrea, Kaminsky, Jak Crawford, Eduardo Barrichello, Wyatt Brichacek, Sulaiman, Keane, Holden, Sundaramoorthy, Gold, Duppell, Bogle, Tomaselli, Siegel, Miller and Ori.

Leader Eves immediately came under pressure from Rasmussen who was able to make a textbook pass, out braking Eves while on the inside line in the Andretti Hairpin.

Christian Rasmussen makes a pass for the lead in the Andretti Hairpin at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“Pretty intense,” is how Rasmussen described the first few laps to TSO Ladder. “I managed to get by Hunter (McElrea) on the first lap. I set up Braden (Eves) coming out of (Turn) 11 going into (Turn) 2. I managed to get by with a clean pass. I knew that he was not going to fight me hard because he’s fighting for a championship. I had to do it. I want to win just as much as these guys even though I’m not fighting for a championship.”

McElrea immediately began putting pressure on Eves and at the end of the fourth lap, made a move to outside of his chief championship rival on the outside of the final turn. The pair went side-by-side up the front straight and through Turn 2 before McElrea was able to complete the pass with the preferred inside line in Turn 3.

“I have raced him (Eves) wheel-to-wheel a lot this year, and he’s usually pretty clean,” said the 19-year-old. “Obviously, there is a lot on the line. Our careers are on the line. It was pretty intense. I tried to go around him on the start and to be fair; I would have done that as well.

“I got alongside him at the last corner and drove alongside of him the whole way down the straight; then I outbroke him at Turn 2. I was along side of him for that turn. I got the move done.”

Hunter McElrea around the outside of Braden Eves in Turn 2 to grab second place in the first USF2000 race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

McElrea’s teammate Kaminsky was watching that battle closely and was able to take advantage, setting up Eves in Turn 4 before getting past him in Turn 5.

After the race, McElrea told TSO Ladder that Kaminsky is the best teammate he’s ever had, and Kaminsky said to us that getting past Eves to help his friend and teammate was “huge.”

By Lap 7, Rasmussen’s lead had grown to 3.5 seconds, but McElrea had just turned his quickest lap of the race. Over the next few laps, the points leader was able to shrink the lead to just under three seconds. The gap remained steady for the next five laps, but Rasmussen was able to pull a more significant gap over the final five laps winning by a significant 4.5 seconds.

Eves was not able to get close to Kaminsky, finishing over four seconds behind the last spot on the podium. The Cape Motorsports driver did have cover from behind with 14-year-old teammate following him for the final 16 laps of the race.

The top ten at the half-way point of the 20 lap race was Rasmussen, McElrea, Kaminsky, Eves, Crawford, Barrichello, Keane, Brichacek, Sulaiman and Gold.

Barichello spent the second half of the race defending the sixth spot, while also catching Eves and Crawford. Late in the race, Eves could be happy that he had the cover from Crawford as the three drivers behind him were separated by only 2.1 seconds.

Further down the order, Wyatt Brichacek had an impressive Road To Indy debut finishing in eighth place while piloting the JHDD, CSU | One Cure/Lucas Oil sponsored No. 5 for Jay Howard Driver Development.

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

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 20 LAPS
2 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 4.4573
3 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 9.4027
4 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 13.6619
5 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 14.6917
6 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 14.8641
7 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 15.4156
8 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 17.0336
9 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 21.3742
10 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 22.4607
11 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 26.8713
12 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 32.6114
13 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 34.3535
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 36.0428
15 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 38.7530
16 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 39.9632
17 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 47.1341
18 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Developmen 50.4385
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Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires at Laguna Seca – Saturday – Pabst Racing experiences the best and worst in qualifying

By Steve Wittich

The story of the qualifying for Sunday’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products were diametric results for a pair of Pabst Racing drivers.

The good news is that for the third time this season the Slick Locks Sponsored No. 23 piloted by Pabst Racing veteran Colin Kaminsky will start from the pole.

The bad news is that championship leader Hunter McElrea will have to start Sunday’s final race of the season from the final spot on the grid. The Kiwi’s Soul Red No. 22 experienced a throttle pedal sensor issue, and ground to a halt on the 2.258-mile, 11-turn road course twice, causing two red flags. Per the rule book, he was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.

Starting outside of Kaminsky is Eduardo Barrichello, the best qualifying effort for the DEForce Racing second-generation racer.

McElrea’s closest competition for the championship, Eves was mired in the middle of the timing screens until the end of the session. The Cape Motorsports driver was one of five drivers to turn his quickest lap on his final lap of the session.

Barrichello’s DEForce Racing teammate Manuel Sulaiman will start behind his teammate on the outside of the second row.

The first Road To Indy session of Saturday, qualifying for the second USF2000 race, began under sunny skies and with comfortable temperatures in the upper 60s.

McElrea brought out the first of two red flags after coming to a stop in Turn 4 on his out lap. He was able to get his 2.0L engine restarted and made it back to pit lane. The Pabst Racing crew went to work diagnosing the issue.

The green flag came back out, but only a few drivers were able to complete hot laps before the red flag came back out. This time, McElrea’s car had come to a stop on the pit exit lane. He got going again, but per Rule 8.5.5, he had to sit out the remainder of the 20-minute session. Elite Engine’s Steve Knapp confirmed that the issue was with the throttle pedal sensor.

There were only 10-minutes left when the track went back to green.

With five minutes remaining, the quickest driver was Kaminsky. Sulaiman, Crawford, Eves and Reece Gold were the next four drivers on the timing screen.

Kaminsky was the first driver and the only driver to turn a lap under 85 seconds.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying #2 unofficial results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:24.901 –.—-
2 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 1:25.363 0.4612
3 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:25.451 0.5501
4 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:25.613 0.7118
5 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:25.687 0.7859
6 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:25.767 0.8659
7 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:25.774 0.8727
8 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:25.794 0.8926
9 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:25.903 1.0018
10 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:26.070 1.1683
11 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:26.221 1.3192
12 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:26.267 1.3659
13 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:26.332 1.4309
14 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:26.423 1.5217
15 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 1:26.679 1.7773
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:27.014 2.1125
17 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:27.061 2.1598
18 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing No Time

The green flag for the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products races is scheduled to get the green flag at 5:05 pm.

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Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires at Laguna Seca – Friday – Eves dominate qualifying – moves one point closer to McElrea

By Steve Wittich

Braden Eves, with a dominant qualifying lap, and the bonus point for winning the pole, moved to within five points of Hunter McElrea with a lap that was over a half-second ahead of the driver he’s chasing in the hunt for the scholarship.

It’s the 20-year-old Ohioan’s fourth pole of the season and the fifth at the iconic road course for Cape Motorsports. It’s Eves first pole since the second race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Nine of the 15 past USF2000 winners at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca have started on pole, giving Eves a decided advantage for the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products races.

The bottom rung of the Road To Indy, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers, followed the Indy Lights drivers on track for qualifying.

Early in the session, the S team Motorsports sponsored No. 21 of Yuven Sundaramoorthy had an off in Turn 3, but he was able to get the 2.0L engine on his Pabst Racing machine restarted and continued.

Reece Gold, McElrea, and Rasmussen all held the provisional pole in the first ten minutes of the session.

At the halfway point of the 20-minute session, McElrea’s lap of 85.575 seconds was a slim six-hundredths of a second ahead of Christian Rasmussen. Kaminsky, Crawford, and Eves were the remainder of the top five.

McElrea improved on his provisional pole by a few-hundredths on his seventh of nines lap to that point in the session. With five minutes left, the top seven drivers were within a half-second of Kiwi McElrea.

With three minutes remaining, Eves threw down the gauntlet, turning a lap the was almost three-tenths of a second quicker than McElrea. The Cape Motorsports rookie lowered the provisional pole time on his next lap.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race #1

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:24.994 –.—-
2 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:25.517 0.5229
3 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:25.578 0.5841
4 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:25.674 0.6802
5 91 Eduardo Barrichello DEForce Racing 1:25.722 0.7287
6 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:25.869 0.8757
7 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:25.915 0.9208
8 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:25.973 0.9796
9 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:26.171 1.1768
10 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:26.212 1.2181
11 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:26.322 1.3281
12 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:26.408 1.4146
13 73 Kyle Dupell Newman Wachs Racing 1:26.654 1.6604
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:26.855 1.8615
15 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:27.055 2.0611
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:27.131 2.1369
17 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:27.151 2.1572
18 77 Ayrton Ori Legacy Autosport 1:27.812 2.8185

The checkered flag for the first race for the lowest rung of Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder gets the green flag at 5:05 pm on Saturday.

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Road To Indy at Laguna Seca – Friday – Kaminsky leads the way in USF2000 practice. Eves quicker than rival McElrea

 

For the first time this season, Pabst Racing veteran Colin Kaminsky led a USF2000 practice; an excellent way for the Homer Glen, Ill. driver to start the weekend. Kaminsky is in a tight battle with Darren Keane and Christian Rasmussen for third place in the championship. Kaminsky’s quickest lap was 86.223 seconds, an impressive and significant three-tenths of a second ahead of the next fastest driver, Braden Eves.

Eves, who lost the lead of the championship at the last race, got a quick jump on his rival Hunter McElrea, who had the fourth-fastest time.

Also in the top five were youngsters Jak Crawford (Cape Motorsports) and Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports).

The lone USF2000 practice session of the final race weekend of the 2019 season got underway at 8:45 am. There were no clouds in the sky, and the temperature was in low 60s.

Championship leader Braden Eves and two-time race winner Christian Rasmussen traded the top spot on the timing screen early in the session.

Kaminsky moved to the top of the timing screen just before the halfway point of the 30-minute session.

At the halfway point of the session, Kaminsky’s lap of 86.6197 seconds was the quickest. His teammate and championship contender McElrea was second fastest and was followed by Eves, Crawford and Sulaiman in the top five.

With 10-minutes remaining, the red flag came out for Legacy Autosport driver Ayrton Ori, who is making his second appearance in the series. His No. 77 came to a stop in the gravel on the outside of the Rainey Curve. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to get him back on track, and he was able to drive back to pit road on his own.

The green flag came back out with five minutes remaining in the session, and 17 of the 18 USF-17 machines hit the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course for a few more laps of practice.

McElrea, Darren Keane, Bruna Tomaselli, Kyle Dupell, Nolan Siegel and Reece Gold all turned their quickest laps in the final five minutes. McElrea (fourth) and Miller (fifth) both moved into the top five.

There is one newcomer this weekend. Wyatt Brichacek, an 18-year-old is making his USF2000 debut. The Johnstown, Col. native and Lucas Oil School of Racing graduate has made 23 F4 United States Championship Powered By Honda starts with Jay Howard Driver Development, the team he is with this weekend.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Practice #1 at Laguna Seca Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 23 Colin Kaminsky Harding Steinbrenner Racing 1:26.223 –.—- 9
2 8 Braden Eves Team Penske 1:26.530 0.3073 10
3 4 Jak Crawford Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 1:26.717 0.4940 11
4 22 Hunter McElrea Team Penske 1:26.717 0.4946 14
5 40 Jack William Miller Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1:26.895 0.6720 16
6 12 Manuel Sulaiman Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 1:27.028 0.8048 9
7 91 Eduardo Barrichello Andretti Autosport 1:27.085 0.8622 14
8 6 Christian Rasmussen Team Penske 1:27.312 1.0891 7
9 14 Zach Holden Andretti Autosport 1:27.380 1.1576 8
10 3 Reece Gold Andretti Autosport 1:27.449 1.2259 16
11 2 Darren Keane Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:27.549 1.3262 14
12 36 Nolan Siegel Dale Coyne Racing 1:27.648 1.4252 14
13 24 Bruna Tomaselli Andretti Autosport 1:27.928 1.7048 14
14 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan 1:27.962 1.7389 10
15 77 Ayrton Ori Carlin 1:28.088 1.8652 8
16 5 Wyatt Brichacek Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:28.302 2.0788 16
17 73 Kyle Dupell AJ Foyt Enterprises 1:28.546 2.3231 15
18 7 Christian Bogle Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian 1:28.878 2.6554 6

The middle rung of the Road To Indy will be back on track again for their first qualifying session at 4:40 pm, but before that, you can get their autograph in the fan village at 2:10 pm.

 

Here are your Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship 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 green flag time: Saturday, September 21 at 5:05pm
  • Race #2 green flag time: Sunday, September 22 at 10:25am

 

  • Race #1 distance: 20 laps or 40 minutes
  • Race #2 distance: 20 laps or 40 minutes

 

  • WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca qualifying track record: 83.959 seconds by Sage Karam (Andretti Autosport) in 2010
  • WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca race track records: 84.566 seconds by Mikhail Goikhberg (JDC Motorsports) in 2010

 

  • Each entry can utilize three new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the race weekend at Portland International Raceway.
  • The timing line is located at Turn 10
  • 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

 

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

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 – 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 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 – Friday – McElrea on pole for USF2000 Race #1 – Four of top five from Pabst Racing stable

By Steve Wittich

For much of the 20-minute USF2000 qualifying session, it appeared that Pabst Racing might lock out the front row, but the Oconomowoc, Wisc. team had to settle for putting four drivers in the top five.

For the second race of the season, it will be Mazda backed Road To Indy 200K Scholarship that starts on the pole for a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race. It’s only the second time that Pabst Racing will start on pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

It was Hunter McElrea who grabbed the pole for the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

It was Jay Howard Driver Development pilot Christian Rasmussen, that broke up the Pabst Racing party, and will start on the outside of the front row for the second straight race.

The second row will consist of Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Bruna Tomaselli, who both had their best career qualifying sessions. The fourth member of the Pabst Racing squad, Colin Kaminsky, will start on the inside of the third row beside BN Racing rookie Matthew Round-Garrido.

Cape Motorsports drivers had won 13 of last 17 USF2000 poles at the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course, but struggled today. The best any of the four drivers could do was eighth, by newcomer Jak Crawford. His teammate points leader Braden Eves will start ninth.

The ambient temperature when the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship qualifying session began at 1:55 pm was 80F. The track temperature was 118F and the humidity a reasonably comfortable 50%.

Rasmussen grabbed the early provisional pole, throwing down a lap at 83.076 seconds early. That lap held until Manuel Sulaiman briefly held the top spot.

With 12 minutes remaining in the session, Keane was on pit road for adjustments.

McElrea was the quickest driver at the 10-minute mark of the 20-minute session, turning a lap at 82.1933 seconds. The remainder of the top 10 were Colin Kaminsky, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Christian Rasmussen, Jak Crawford, Manuel Sulaiman, Jack William Miller, Bruna Tomaselli, Braden Eves, and Nolan Siegel.

With seven minutes remaining, it was Pabst Racing racing holding down the top four spots. Tomaselli was on top, followed by McElrea, Kaminsky, and Sundaramoorthy.

Two laps later, it was the Soul Red No. 22 piloted by McElrea, went back to the top of the timing screens. He was able to go quicker yet on his next lap.

The top five with two-minutes remaining were: McElrea, Rasmussen, Sundaramoorthy, Tomaselli, and Kaminsky. The Cooper Tires were clearly outside of their optimal grip level, as none of the 17 drivers were able to improve on their final lap.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Qualifying #1 Unofficial Results

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:21.513 –.—-
2 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.657 0.1441
3 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:21.768 0.2555
4 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:21.773 0.2600
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:21.834 0.3216
6 27 Matt Round-Garrido BN Racing 1:21.901 0.3882
7 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:21.971 0.4583
8 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:21.978 0.4658
9 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:22.018 0.5054
10 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:22.084 0.5713
11 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:22.132 0.6199
12 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.309 0.7965
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.593 1.0803
14 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:22.619 1.1061
15 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:22.667 1.1542
16 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.436 1.9232
17 77 Timmy Pagliuso Legacy Autosport 1:25.717 4.2046

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship is back on track for their second qualifying session on Saturday morning at 8:35 am.

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