Pigot Takes Win Number Eight as Brabham Clinches Title
Spencer Pigot continued where he left off yesterday afternoon by dominating this morning’s 14th and final round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. The 18-year-old from Orlando, Fla., took an instant affinity to the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway road course, posting the fastest lap in every session aboard his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Van Diemen-Mazda, qualifying on the pole for both the weekend’s rounds and never being headed for a single inch in the pair of 14-lap races.
Even that wasn’t enough to prevent teammate and rival Matthew Brabham from clinching the championship after a steady drive to eighth place. Brabham saw his points advantage dwindle from 41 at the beginning of the weekend to just seven in the final tally, but that was all he required to tie up the Mazda scholarship prize, worth $375,000, which will enable him to move up to the Star Mazda Championship, the next rung on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, in 2013.
Pigot took off into the lead for the second day running and barely looked back, but in his wake was a fine tussle for second between Wayne Boyd (Belardi Auto Racing), Trent Hindman (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) and the pair of JDC MotorSports entries driven by Scott Hargrove and Neil Alberico.
Boyd, who finished third yesterday, looked secure in second for much of the race until his car begin to experience a worsening oversteer, causing him to ease his pace and fall into the clutches of the chasing pack. Hargrove (#38 Analytic Systems, Race Energy, Skip Barber Racing School, Red Line Oil) held third for much of the race before Hindman, who had started on the outside of the front row of the grid, found a way past with just a few laps remaining to secure his second podium finish of the season. Hargrove held on for fourth ahead of Alberico (#19 Kartel Motorsports, Bondurant School, RaceLite Protection, Red Line Oil).
Also especially noteworthy was the performance of Scott Anderson (#14 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Neuropathy Testing Center, Laser Nail Centers/Belardi Auto Racing), who started dead last due to being involved in an incident of the opening lap of yesterday’s race. Anderson slipped past Shelby Blackstock (#8 Starstruck/Andretti Autosport) for sixth on the final lap. Brabham (#83 DTE Group) and Thomas McGregor (#7 Dairy Queen, Exclusive Management/Andretti Autosport) also were close behind at the finish line.
The National Class Championship also was settled in the final race of the season. RC Enerson (#10 Patriot Bank/ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing), from New Port Richie, Fla., overtook his season-ling rival, Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (#32 Palfinger, Akrene Mek Verksted/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) at the start, only to tangle with a Championship Class car later on the opening lap. Enerson was eliminated immediately, leaving Furuseth clear to take a weekend sweep, his sixth and seventh wins of the season, to claim the title by a 14-point margin over Mark Eaton (#92 Deathtolionfish.org, Valvoline/Robinson Motor Sports) who finished second today ahead of Jim Libecco (JAY Motorsports).
Contingency awards included the Tilton Hard Charger Award, for the driver who gained the most positions during the race, which was claimed by Anderson, who went from 26th to sixth for a gain of 20 positions; the PFC Award for the winning car owner, which was issued to Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing; and the Staubli Award, a random finisher award, which was presented to Pigot.
USF2000 will head to Greensboro, NC, tonight for its season-ending awards banquet.
Matthew Brabham, #83 DTE Group (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Champion: “I am over the moon at how the whole year went. I didn’t expect to come into the year and, within the first couple of races, to be up to the front straightaway. So, my goals changed pretty quickly and I was going for the championship for the rest of the year. Spencer [Pigot] was really quick all year. We pushed each other so much and I think we were in a class of our own the whole season and I am sure that he and I will be racing together the whole way up. It was definitely a good rivalry. I learned a lot and we pushed each other and learned more probably with pushing each other. The team has been great all year. We were fast everywhere. Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing was just awesome and I have to really, really thank them and my parents and everyone that I have been staying with in the U.S. as I have been gypsying around. It’s been a fantastic year and I am just really, really happy.”
Henrik Furuseth, #32 Palfinger/Akrene Mek Verksted (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda National Class Champion/1st–place today: “I had another great race today. RC [Enerson] had a really good start and passed me but he was involved in an incident on the first lap unfortunately. That wasn’t the way I wanted the championship battle to end, but that is how racing is and things like that happen. After that, I had a good lead and just kept focusing and tried not to risk anything and it worked. The car was very good and I have to thank Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. They did an amazing job throughout this weekend and the whole year. This season has been amazing for me. I have learned so much in this series. I have to thank USF2000 and everyone that made this possible.”
Spencer Pigot, #2 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/E-merging Technologies/ Parathyroid.com (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – First: “It was another really good race today, nice and uneventful which is how I like it. In the end, we came up a little bit short in the championship and it’s a little disappointing but overall on the year, we won over half the races so I can’t be too disappointed with that. The Cape Motorsports’ guys were awesome all year. I have to thank everyone in the series especially Mazda for all the support they give young drivers, Cooper Tires and all the USF2000 staff.”
Wayne Boyd, #9 DHL/Belardi Auto Racing/MoeryLAI (Belardi Auto Racing) – Second: “I am very happy with the race today. I had a good start and just tried to chase after Spencer [Pigot] as much as I could. Towards the end, it was just a chase of monitoring the gap behind us and making sure we came home with a second place. A big thanks to Belardi Auto Racing, MoeryLAI and DHL for making it happen.”
Trent Hindman, #3 Premier Woodcraft/Zydro+/DFL Construction/RaceLite Protection (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – Third: “It was a great race and one of the toughest races that I have ever been in for sure. Battling with one of the JDC cars, we really had a great, clean race. He made a mistake and I was able to get by down the straight and that was the move that really got us on the podium. The Cape’s did a great job on setting up the car and my mechanic Cisco did a great job all weekend and all year. We have really had a good car all year and I am looking forward to next year and more great races. I am thrilled and a big thanks to Dan Andersen and everyone that helps the series. They really put on a great show.”