Archives for USF2000 News/Results

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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Road To Indy at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Friday – McElrea leads USF2000 practice – four Pabst Racing drivers in the top 8

By Steve Wittich

The lowest rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires had three test sessions (120 minutes), but no timing or scoring was available. Editorial note from Steve – I actually like that. It allows the teams to work on a designed testing plan with no pressure to turn in that ultimate quick lap.

The temperature when the 30-minute session began was in the upper 60’s but quickly surpassed 70F. There was a light haze, but that burned off quickly.

At the half-way point of the session, winner of the Mazda Road To Indy 200K Scholarship winner McElrea had the quickest lap at 82.028 seconds. The rest of the top ten were Christian Rasmussen, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Darren Keane, Matthew Round-Garrido, Braden Eves, Jak Crawford, Reece Gold, Bruna Tomaselli, and Colin Kaminsky.

Times continued to drop throughout the half-hour session with McElrea going under 82 seconds, on his first lap in the second half of the session.

With five minutes remaining, McElrea and Rasmussen were the only drivers with laps in the 81-second range and were over seven-tenths ahead of Kaminsky, who had the third-best time.

At that point in the session spots, three through 13 were separated by only a half-second.

In the last few minutes of the session, five more drivers were able to get within six-tenths of McElrea.

The 17 drivers that took to the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course turned a total of 322 laps in a session that went clean and green. Rasmussen, Kaminsky and Christian Bogle all turned 21-laps, the most of the session.

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

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:21.424 –.—- 20
2 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:21.546 0.1223 21
3 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:21.819 0.3952 19
4 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:21.906 0.4813 21
5 27 Matt Round-Garrido BN Racing 1:21.953 0.5288 18
6 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:22.021 0.5968 18
7 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:22.050 0.6260 15
8 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:22.065 0.6410 20
9 4 Jak Crawford Cape Motorsports 1:22.231 0.8065 19
10 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:22.269 0.8452 20
11 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:22.315 0.8904 20
12 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:22.357 0.9325 19
13 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.580 1.1554 17
14 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:22.773 1.3490 15
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:23.110 1.6854 21
16 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:23.225 1.8006 20
17 77 Timmy Pagliuso Legacy Autosport 1:26.718 5.2940 19

The first rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track at 1:55 pm for a 20-minute qualifying session.

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Road To Indy testing at Mid-Ohio – Frost tops Indy Pro 2000 – Crawford tops USF2000 – championship contenders are all close

By Steve Wittich

A pair of drivers, Danial Frost, and Jak Crawford put behind forgettable weekends in Wisconsin behind them to top the timesheets during a two-day USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Both series will be back at the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Road Course in a month for each series ninth and tenth round.

Whether it occurs in May, June or July, an official test for the bottom two rungs of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires test has been part of the schedule (except in 2017) since 2012.

The schedule included three 45-minutes sessions each day, equaling six total sessions of 4.5 hours of total track time.

Teams were allotted five fresh sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as having the option to use a carryover set from last weekend at Road America.

Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires testing

Exclusive Autosport rookie Frost, a winner on the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway oval to end the “Month of May, failed to finish either race at Road America last weekend. ‘Winning’ a test only days after is an excellent way to start the second half of the season.

Danial Frost and the his No. 68 Exclusive Autosport PM-18 led two days of Indy Pro 2000 testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Frost’s quickest lap of 76.2167 seconds in Thursday’s fifth session, is below the race track record, set last year by Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay).

The 17-year-old was one of four drivers, who are all in championship contention, to lead one of the six sessions. Current points leader, Juncos Racing rookie Rasmus Lindh, another 17-year-old, led a pair of sessions and ended up with the second quickest time on the combined timesheet.

Parker Thompson, a winner at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in USF2000, led the opening and closing sessions in his No. 8 Abel Motorsports PM-18 and ended the two-day test with the fourth quickest lap on the combined timesheet.

Double Road America winner and reigning USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood ended up third on the combined timesheet after leading the fourth test session on Thursday morning.

The lone newcomer was Antoine Comeau, a veteran of Radical racing who was testing with the Peter Dempsey owned Turn 3 Motorsport.

The top nine drivers were all within one second of Frost.

A dozen drivers completed 1,441 laps (3,253.8 miles). Frost’s Exclusive Autosport teammate Nikita Lastochkin, who totaled 139 circuits, was the busiest driver.

Indy Pro 2000 session leaders

  • Wednesday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #1 – Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) – 76.7062 seconds
  • Wednesday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #2 – Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) – 76.7276 seconds
  • Wednesday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #3 – Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) – 76.4068 seconds
  • Thursday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #4 – Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport) – 76.3949 seconds
  • Thursday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #5 – Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) – 76.2167 seconds
  • Thursday – Indy Pro 2000 Test Session #6 – Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) – 76.8355 seconds

Indy Pro 2000 combined timesheet

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM SESSION # BEST TIME (seconds) DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 5 76.2167 136
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 5 76.3178 -0.1011 124
3 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport 4 76.3949 -0.1782 131
4 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 4 76.5555 -0.3388 130
5 5 Ian Rodriguez RP Motorsport 2 76.8217 -0.6050 113
6 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 2 76.8886 -0.6719 124
7 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 2 77.0487 -0.8320 116
8 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 6 77.0760 -0.8593 139
9 98 Phillippe Denes Fatboy Racing! 4 77.1436 -0.9269 108
10 6 Moisés de la Vara DEForce Racing 5 77.4538 -1.2371 117
11 3 Antoine Comeau Turn 3 Motorsport 5 77.6405 -1.4238 119
12 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 2 77.7702 -1.5535 84

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship testing

A late Thursday afternoon thunderstorm ended the two-day test before the bottom rung of the Road To Indy could get on track for their sixth and final session.

DEForce Racing rookie Jak Crawford set the quickest lap of the day during Thursday morning’s fourth session, a lap that was timed at 81.3106 seconds.

14 year-old DEForce Racing rookie was the quickest of 18 drivers during two days of USF2000 testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Championship contender Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) led the second and fifth sessions, while his veteran teammate Colin Kaminsky led the first session on Wednesday morning. Cape Motorsports veteran Darren Keane, who has had the quickest race lap in three of the seven USF2000 races so far this season was the fastest driver in Wednesday afternoon’s third session.

Keane’s teammate and championship leader Braden Eves didn’t lead a session, but the 20-year-old had the second quickest lap on the combined timesheet.

The top four drivers on the combined timesheet, Crawford, Eves, McElrea, and newcomer Kiko Porto, were all within one-tenth of a second.

Porto, a double-winner through the first six races of the F4 United States Championship Powered By Honda, was testing with DEForce Racing and ended up with the fourth quickest time.

The top eight drivers were all within a half-second of the 14-year-old Crawford, with the top 14 within one-second.

The 18 drivers completed a total of 1,767 circuits of the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Road Course. Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Bogle was the busiest driver, completing 129 laps.

USF2000 session leaders

  • Wednesday – USF2000 Test Session #1 – Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) – 81.9564 seconds
  • Wednesday – USF2000 Test Session #2 – Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) – 81.5681 seconds
  • Wednesday – USF2000 Test Session #3 – Darren Keane (Cape Motorsports) – 81.5927 seconds
  • Thursday – USF2000 Test Session #4 – Jak Crawford (DEForce Racing) – 81.3106 seconds
  • Thursday – USF2000 Test Session #5 – Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) – 81.3468 seconds

USF2000 combined timesheet

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM SESSION # BEST TIME (seconds) DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 52 Jak Crawford DEForce Racing 4 81.3106 109
2 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 4 81.3392 -0.0286 109
3 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 5 81.3468 -0.0362 94
4 11 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 4 81.4018 -0.0912 92
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 4 81.4806 -0.1700 113
6 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 3 81.5927 -0.2821 108
7 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 4 81.6742 -0.3636 118
8 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 5 81.7947 -0.4841 101
9 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 4 81.8750 -0.5644 101
10 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 4 81.9580 -0.6474 99
11 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 3 82.0283 -0.7177 65
12 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 4 82.0738 -0.7632 102
13 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 4 82.1575 -0.8469 117
14 27 Matthew Round-Garrido BN Racing 5 82.4101 -1.0995 95
15 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 4 82.7278 -1.4172 73
16 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 5 82.8081 -1.4975 117
17 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 4 82.8691 -1.5585 129
18 77 Timmy Paglusio Jay Howard Driver Development 3 90.1023 -8.7917 25

Both series have two weekends off before they are back on-track again north of the border in Toronto. Practice on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit begins on Friday, July 12, 2019.

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

By Steve Wittich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rank

Car

Name

Team

Top Speed (MPH)

Session #

Total Laps

1

68

Danial Frost

Exclusive Autosport

121.739

2

208

2

90

Nikita Lastochkin

Exclusive Autosport

119.008

2

115

3

6

Moisés de la Vara

DEForce Racing

118.936

3

111

4

28

Kyle Kirkwood

RP Motorsport

118.717

3

153

5

51

Jacob Abel

Abel Motorsports

118.675

3

179

6

10

Rasmus Lindh

Juncos Racing

118.517

1

156

7

2

Sting Ray Robb

Juncos Racing

117.685

3

148

8

8

Parker Thompson

Abel Motorsports

117.344

2

139

9

11

Antonio Serravalle

PSerra / Jay Howard Driver Development

116.776

3

177

10

5

Ian Rodriguez

RP Motorsport

116.392

3

191

11

83

Charles Finelli

Fatboy Racing!

116.378

3

126

12

98

Phillippe Denes

Fatboy Racing!

116.327

3

169

13

7

Kory Enders

DEForce Racing

116.039

1

144

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Championship leader Braden Eves turned in the sixth fastest lap.

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

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

Rank

Car

Name

Team

Top Speed (MPH)

Session #

Total Laps

1

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

111.675

1

47

2

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

111.659

2

123

3

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

111.617

1

128

4

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

111.173

3

156

5

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

111.038

2

129

6

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

111.005

2

163

7

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

110.896

3

177

8

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

110.860

3

148

9

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

110.760

3

196

10

14

Alexandre Baron

Legacy Autosport

110.758

3

114

11

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

110.711

3

176

12

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

110.350

3

193

13

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

110.272

3

196

14

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

110.175

3

84

15

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

110.148

3

150

16

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

110.076

3

109

17

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

109.359

1

132

18

5

Matthew Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

107.235

3

140

19

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

106.221

1

76

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

By Steve Wittich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

DIFFERENCE

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

15 LAPS

2

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

0.2998

3

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

0.8658

4

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

4.1820

5

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

8.3125

6

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

12.2880

7

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

14.8809

8

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

15.2542

9

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

17.1490

10

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

18.3878

11

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

22.5018

12

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

25.3298

13

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

26.2337

14

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

26.3400

15

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

29.3924

16

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

50.0319

17

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

– 1 LAP

18

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

– 1 LAP

19

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

– 1 LAP

20

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

– 1 LAP

21

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

– 10 LAPS

 

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

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

By Steve Wittich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

8

Braden Eves

Cape Motorsports

1:24.720

–.—-

14

2

2

Darren Keane

Cape Motorsports

1:24.760

0.0404

13

3

22

Hunter McElrea

Pabst Racing

1:24.844

0.1237

14

4

90

Manuel Cabrera

Exclusive Autosport

1:24.920

0.2003

14

5

52

Jak Crawford

DEForce Racing

1:25.027

0.3071

12

6

27

Zach Holden

BN Racing

1:25.197

0.4769

11

7

23

Colin Kaminsky

Pabst Racing

1:25.213

0.4932

14

8

12

Manuel Sulaiman

DEForce Racing

1:25.322

0.6023

12

9

40

Jack William Miller

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.389

0.6693

14

10

14

Alex Baron

Legacy Autosport

1:25.433

0.7130

14

11

28

Anthony Famularo

BN Racing

1:25.441

0.7216

9

12

36

Nolan Siegel

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.447

0.7272

14

13

73

Cameron Shields

Newman Wachs Racing

1:25.461

0.7409

14

14

21

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

Pabst Racing

1:25.518

0.7980

14

15

41

Eduardo Barrichello

Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

1:25.546

0.8259

14

16

77

Dakota Dickerson

Legacy Autosport

1:25.600

0.8806

14

17

24

Bruna Tomaselli

Pabst Racing

1:25.620

0.9001

15

18

5

Matt Round-Garrido

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:25.663

0.9436

13

19

3

Reece Gold

Cape Motorsports

1:25.965

1.2450

13

20

6

Christian Rasmussen

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:26.011

1.2914

14

21

7

Christian Bogle

Jay Howard Driver Development

1:26.577

1.8570

13

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

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