Pigot tops USF2000 practice in St. Pete
Spencer Pigot will start on pole for tomorrow’s third round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda after posting the fastest time in an intensely fought half-hour qualifying session this afternoon on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
Scott Rettich, from Camden, Ohio, secured top honors in the equally hotly contested National Class with the Alliance Autosport team’s Formula Enterprise Van Diemen-Mazda.
Pigot, 18, from Orlando, Fla., bested teammate Matthew Brabham by a scant 0.002 seconds to ensure a sweep of the front row of the grid for locally based Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. The pair had split the victories in the opening races of the season one week ago at Sebring, Fla.
The strong 34-car field provided a thrilling session that was interrupted only briefly by one red flag when Rettich spun, but he quickly recovered.
Brabham, 18, from Boca Raton, Fla., led the way for most of the session until Pigot found a clear lap with around four minutes remaining to move to the front. Brabham also improved shortly before the checkered flag but fell fractionally short.
Neil Alberico, 19, from Los Gatos, Calif., will start third for JDC MotorSports despite being halted early after clipping the wall and knocking the rear suspension out of alignment.
Matthew Di Leo (MDL Racing), 17, from Innisfil, Ont., Canada will line up on the outside of the second row of the grid ahead of Megenbier, 20, from Melrose Park, Ill., who did well to overcome a major accident during the opening practice session on Thursday evening to snare a position on Row Four. The Afterburner Autosport team opted to skip this morning’s practice session in order to ensure the car was as good as it could be for qualifying. Sebring pole-sitter Luigi Biangardi, 15, also from the Chicago area, drove another strong session to be sixth for ArmsUp Motorsports.
Also impressive was Michael Johnson, 19, from Flint, Mich. Johnson, who is paralyzed from the mid chest down following a motorcycle racing accident when he was 12, will line up 16th with a time just 1.472 seconds slower than the pole.
Rettich, the fastest National Class contender with a time of 1:15.306, edged RC Enerson (ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing), 15, from New Port Richey, Fla., by just 0.025s.
Spencer Pigot, #2 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/E-merging Technologies/ Parathyroid.com (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – First: “It was a difficult session. With all the traffic out there, it was difficult to get a clear lap. I only had one really, and I was just barely able to take the pole. I am really happy with that, with the car and the way the team has been working with me so far this year. This is the best place to be starting and I am looking forward to the race.”
Matthew Brabham, #83 DTE Group (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – Second: “I am very pleased with how qualifying went. Spencer [Pigot] has been here before so it was pretty good to be straight up on the speed with him for the whole weekend. I am a little bit disappointed that I was pipped at the end. Other than that, it was very good. I am very happy to be on the front row. It is one of the safest places to be for the first corner. Hopefully, it all goes well tomorrow.”
Neil Alberico, #19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/Red Line Oil (JDC MotorSports) – Third: “We had a good session. The Cape [Motorsports] cars were really quick but JDC [MotorSports] did a great job in giving me a good car. I came in after the red flag and made some changes, hit it really hard and got a good run on my second lap. I put down a quick time but it wasn’t enough. Third is a good starting position and I look forward to tomorrow.”
Scott Rettich, #71 PDI Communications Systems/Springboro Car Wash (Alliance Autosport) – First, National Class: “It was an incredible run. It feels really good to be on the pole here in St. Pete in front of such big crowds. I have to thank my team, Alliance Autosport, for giving me an incredible car and my sponsor PDI Communications. I also want to thank Dan Andersen for allowing our FE cars into the field. We love being here. I want to thank [USF2000 driver coach] Gerardo Bonilla, who has been helping me with my lines and coaching me a little bit and it has certainly been very helpful. And also Mazda for their continuing support through the Mazda ladder and helping out a lot of drivers.”