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Hargrove Pads Points Lead with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Victory
Scott Hargrove
Canadian Scott Hargrove strengthened his lead in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda this morning by virtue of a commanding victory in the Allied Building Products Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Since teammate and closest title rival Neil Alberico could manage no better than fourth place in today’s 12th round of the championship, Hargrove now holds a healthy 44-point advantage with only two races remaining at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas, on October 5/6.

Hargrove and Alberico also secured a second successive Team Championship for Florida-based Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing this weekend.

Hargrove, 18, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, started from the outside of the front row of the grid for the second day running, alongside yesterday’s debut race winner Alexandre “Alex” Baron (Afterburner Autosport), then took the lead on Lap 2 when Baron made a mistake and ran off the road at the exit of Turn Six. Hargrove remained in control for the remainder of the race. His comfortable margin of almost three seconds over fellow Canadian Garett Grist (Andretti Autosport) was erased by a full-course caution after eight laps, when National Class contender James Dayson crashed in Turn Four, but Hargrove held his nerve during a one-lap dash to the checkered flag to cement the victory – his fourth of the season but first since St. Petersburg in March – by 1.160 seconds.

Baron, who holds dual English and French citizenship, held his pole advantage at the start over Hargrove, while Grist was able to make a move around fellow second row starter Alberico going into Turn Two. The top four quickly distanced themselves from the chasing pack which was led by ever-improving Canadian Daniel Burkett, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who headed the five-car Belardi Auto Racing challenge.

Baron’s mistake on Lap 2 dropped him to fourth position, where he remained until the final lap, when a late lunge to the inside under braking for the Corkscrew moved him to a podium finish. Alberico, from Los Gatos, Calif., had to be content with fourth ahead of Burkett, who easily bettered his previous best finish of ninth.

Wyatt Gooden, from Cleveland, Ohio, capped an excellent weekend for Afterburner Autosport by accelerating past Jason Wolfe (Pabst Racing Services) at the late restart to snare sixth place, while 16-year-old Frenchman Florian Latorre posted another strong drive for JAY Motorsports, sneaking past Wolfe on the final lap for seventh.

Australian newcomer Scott Andrews finished ninth for JDC MotorSports, narrowly ahead of Florida teenager RC Enerson, who climbed from 16th to 10th for ZSports with Team E Racing, and Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (PRL Racing), who claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award by surging from 18th on the grid to 11th.

Ryan Verra scored his second USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises victory in as many days to maintain the Alliance Autosport team’s 100 percent record in 2013.

Additional contingency awards included the Staubli Award to Burkett, the PFC Award to the winning car owners of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and Alliance Autosport and the National Class Masters Award Presented by Elite/Comprent to Verra.

Scott Hargrove, #38 Analytic Systems/Race Energy/Metal Action/Skip Barber Racing/Bell Racing (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) - First: “Yesterday was hard but the team did a great job to get me back out on the lead lap after a nose change. I love racing here at Mazda Raceway. The track is phenomenal, especially going through the Corkscrew in these cars. We carry a lot of speed through there and it is a lot of fun. It was a good race. I feel great heading into Houston. I know the championship is mine to lose at this point and I need to just keep my head down.”

Garett Grist, #7 DaVinci Foods (Andretti Autosport) - Second:  “It wasn’t an easy weekend. Usually we come out of the box with a great car, and we worked well as a team to get the car back into podium shape. I had some pressure from Neil [Alberico] in the race but I have been racing with him all year and know what he is like and I know he is clean, so I just focused on hitting my marks. I knew if I hit my marks that I wouldn’t have to worry.”

Alexandre “Alex” Baron, #18 13th Avenue (Afterburner Autosport) – Third: “I was able to get by Neil [Alberico] on the last lap for third. I am pretty happy with the weekend – a win, two poles and another podium today. I want to thank the team for their great job. I also want to say that I will be coming back to compete at Houston and I am looking forward to that.”

Ryan Verra, #25 Capto Scientia/Enemy Sport/Cancer Research Society (Alliance Autosport) – First National Class: “It felt pretty good to win again. We had really good momentum coming into today. We have been working on the setup throughout the weekend. We were fastest yesterday, and I would like to thank my team.”


Pos St No. Driver Hometown Team Laps Diff Status
1 2 38 Scott Hargrove Vancouver, BC, Canada Cape Motorsports w/WTR 12 0.000s Running
2 4 7 Garett Grist Grimsby, ON, Canada Andretti Autosport 12 1.160 Running
3 1 18 Alexandre Baron Narbonne, France Afterburner Autosport 12 1.740 Running
4 3 2 Neil Alberico Los Gatos, CA Cape Motorsports w/WTR 12 2.280 Running
5 6 4 Daniel Burkett Winnipeg, MB, Canada Belardi Auto Racing 12 3.350 Running
6 5 17 Wyatt Gooden Cleveland, OH Afterburner Autosport 12 3.532 Running
7 12 91 Florian Latorre Libourne, France JAY Motorsports 12 4.621 Running
8 8 23 Jason Wolfe Mount Vernon, OH Pabst Racing Services 12 5.456 Running
9 11 93 Scott Andrews Torquay, Australia JDC MotorSports 12 5.748 Running
10 16 10 RC Enerson New Port Richey, FL ZSports w/Team E Racing 12 6.036 Running
11 18 96 Henrik Furuseth Oslo, Norway PRL Motorsports 12 7.439 Running
12 13 41 Peter Portante Plainville, CT Belardi Auto Racing 12 7.725 Running
13 14 77 Austin Cindric Mooresville, NC Andretti Autosport 12 7.821 Running
14 7 21 Jesse Lazare Montreal, QC, Canada Pabst Racing Services 12 8.574 Running
15 17 11 Danilo Estrela Goiania, Brazil Belardi Auto Racing 12 8.621 Running
16 15 19 Clark Toppe The Woodlands, TX JDC MotorSports 12 9.033 Running
17 19 54 Michael Johnson Flint, MI JDC MotorSports 12 9.650 Running
18 21 14 Matt McMurry Phoenix, AZ Belardi Auto Racing 12 11.797 Running
19 22 25 Ryan Verra Calgary, AB, Canada Alliance Autosport 12 14.531 Running
20 20 6 Timothy Paul Mount Kisco, NY ArmsUp Motorsports/SMR 7 5 Laps Not running
21 23 16 James Dayson Vancouver, BC, Canada ArmsUp Motorsports 7 5 Laps Not running
22 9 5 Dalton Kellett Toronto, ON, Canada Pabst Racing Services 1 11 Laps Not running
23 10 44 Michael Epps Hemel Hemstead, England Belardi Auto Racing 0 12 Laps Not running
DNS 24 51 Felipe Donato Sao Paulo, Brazil ArmsUp Motorsports - - DNS

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