Rowe Makes History With USF2000 Victory In New Jersey
Myles Rowe, driving for the African American-owned Force Indy team, made history Sunday by becoming the first Black driver to win an INDYCAR-sanctioned race when he captured the second leg of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix tripleheader Sunday, Aug. 29 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The 21-year-old Pace University student from Atlanta produced a sensational performance in mixed conditions following an earlier rain shower for his first USF2000 victory and first win for the Indianapolis-based Force Indy team, which was formed in December 2020 as part of the Race for Equality & Change diversity initiative introduced in July 2020 by INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He took the lead in the No. 99 Force Indy car with just a few corners remaining in the 20-lap race after starting 10th.
“As I was coming to the finish, I had to radio my spotter (Jon Bouslog) and ask him, ‘Are we in the lead?’” Rowe said. “He told me, ‘Keep going, keep going!’ I knew I was in second, but looking at my first win, I just didn’t believe it. Once I took the checkered, my first thought was – I’m here.
“I can’t thank my parents so much for all the love, support and patience. Rod Reid, Jon (Bouslog), the whole team, Stu (Kelly), Derrick (Morris), Zach (Griggs) – I can’t thank them all enough. And of course, Roger Penske and Will Power. So many people who put me where I am, where Force Indy is today.”
Kiko Porto, from Recife, Brazil, finished second for DEForce Racing after leading for most of the distance, with teammate Nolan Siegel, from Palo Alto, Calif., completing the podium in third.
Slightly cooler conditions this morning for qualifying, plus fresh Cooper tires, led to a general improvement in lap times, with Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), from Hartsdale, N.Y., taking full advantage and becoming the first USF2000 driver to circulate the 2.25-mile track at an average speed above 100 mph. A best lap of 1:16.9750 (100.084 mph) saw d’Orlando claim just his second Cooper Tires Pole Award and the coveted inside front row starting position for the first of two races.
A “wet start” was declared by race officials, which required all 23 cars to start on grooved Cooper tires, but with the track already starting to show signs of drying, several cars ducked into the pits at the end of Lap One to change onto fully slick, dry-weather tires. Up front, meanwhile, d’Orlando maintained his advantage into Turn One, albeit with the two DEForce cars hot on his heels.
D’Orlando held on gamely for the first four laps but he was clearly struggling as the track continued to dry, so it came as no surprise when Porto, who had started third, forged past to take the lead on the fourth lap.
Siegel and Josh Green (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Mount Kisco, N.Y., also found a way past d’Orlando, who continued to slip down the order.
Rowe, meanwhile, a protégé of former NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power, continued to move up the order, relishing the slippery conditions. He was up to fifth place by the mid-point of the race, forcing Green to adopt some defensive tactics to keep him in his mirrors. Race officials eventually instructed Green to cede the third position with four laps remaining.
An inspired Rowe continued his charge, quickly dispensing with Siegel and rapidly closing onto Porto’s tail. Finally, in Turn Nine on the final lap, Rowe saw his opportunity and pounced, taking the lead and a memorable maiden victory.
Rowe also took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award, his first of the season, while Force Indy team principal Rod Reid was presented with his first PFC Award as the winning car owner.
Porto graciously accepted second place, secure in the knowledge that he had been able to extend his championship lead to 51 points over d’Orlando with only three races remaining – including one later this afternoon. At stake is a scholarship valued at over $400,000 to graduate onto the next level of the Road to Indy, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, in 2022.
Provisional championship points after 15 of 18 races:
- Kiko Porto, 355
- Michael d’Orlando, 304
- Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 273
- Christian Brooks, 253
- Josh Pierson, 249
- Josh Green, 204
- Spike Kohlbecker, 200
- Jace Denmark, 189
- Thomas Nepveu, 186
- Prescott Campbell, 185
Myles Rowe (#99 Force Indy Tatuus USF-17): “As I was coming to the finish, I had to radio my spotter (Jon Bouslog) and ask him ‘are we in the lead?’ He told me ‘keep going, keep going!’ I knew I was in second, but looking at my first win, I just didn’t believe it. Once I took the checkered, my first thought was – I’m here. I can’t thank my parents so much for all the love, support and patience. Rod Reid, Jon, the whole team, Stu, Derrick, Zach – I can’t thank them all enough. And of course, Roger Penske and Will Power. So many people who put me where I am, where Force Indy is today.
“I haven’t had that many sessions in the wet, but for some reason, I seem to excel in these conditions. I think it’s just extra confidence. We were aiming for a top-10 finish this weekend and our plan today was just to hit our marks, let other people make mistakes and see what could happen. I was able to pick people off, like a chess game. I was able to be in guys’ mirrors and take advantage on the exit of corners. I knew Kiko was thinking championship so he was very respectful, I appreciate that.
“There’s been pressure, but it’s just about focusing on the present. There’s been a lot of attention, but also a lot of support. For me as a driver, all I can worry about is what I can do. It’s helped me control my emotions, control my actions and really be able to plot this path, and help plot the path for Force Indy. We’re going to keep going from here!”
Force Indy Team Principal Rod Reid: “Until you actually win one of these, you don’t know what you’re going to feel. For us, the early part of that battle was reminiscent of St. Pete, when we were in fourth and going for third until we made a mistake. I was right there in Turn Eight and saw him battling for third and then for the lead, and I thought ‘can we do this, is this real?’ But this is why we do this, it’s a great feeling. The entire team did great – the crew in setting up the car, and Myles, managing tire wear. We’re so excited for everyone who worked so hard to be in this position. And of course now, we’re going to see if we can repeat this afternoon! That would be awesome.”
Kiko Porto (#12 Banco Daycoval/Petromega-DEForce Racing Tatuus USF-17): “The conditions changed so fast. I found grip in the early part of the race faster than Michael did, and I was able to attack and pass him. But after that, the guys on the team told me that Myles was coming and that he was fast so I tried to adapt. My tires were done at the end, with how dry the track was, and Myles caught me. Two corners from the finish, he made a move – and with the championship so close, I didn’t want to take too much risk. Second place isn’t bad, and it gives me a good gap in the championship.”
Nolan Siegel (#10 Menlo Ventures/Aero Paint Technologies- DEForce Racing Tatuus USF-17): “The track dried so quickly and it was just about who could save their tires. I think Kiko and I both planned on it being wetter so we both burned our tires up quickly so it was just hanging on at the end. But I look around at some of the championship contenders and other fast guys and they weren’t able to make it to the podium, so after a really difficult race, it’s nice to be rewarded with a podium.”
Petrov, McElrea Share Indy Pro 2000 Spoils in New Jersey
MILLVILLE, N.J. – Russian Artem Petrov and New Zealander Hunter McElrea each claimed a victory today as the Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by The Andersen Companies concluded at New Jersey Motorsports Park. No one came close to challenging Exclusive Autosport’s Petrov during the opening race, held in tricky wet conditions, and once the track dried in time for the final race of the weekend, McElrea claimed an equally authoritative victory for Pabst Racing.
McElrea also finished second in the opener, chased home by Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport), from New Albany, Ohio, while Eves moved up to finish second in the nightcap ahead of teammate Petrov.
McElrea began the day in perfect style by securing the Cooper Tires Pole Award during a damp qualifying session this morning. Conditions gradually deteriorated as the morning progressed, such that the 2.5-mile track was fully wet by the time the competitors lined up on the grid for the first of two 25-lap races.
After an exploratory lap behind the Pace Car, Petrov drove imperiously past McElrea at the first corner and simply romped away into the distance. He completed the first racing lap with an advantage of almost two seconds, which he extended to almost half a minute by the time the checkered flag flew. It was one of the most dominant performances in recent memory.
Petrov’s effort earned Exclusive Autosport team principal Michael Duncalfe another PFC Award as the winning car owner.
McElrea was similarly unchallenged in second place, although Eves had to work a little harder to fend off yesterday’s winner Reece Gold (Juncos Hollinger Racing), from Miami, Fla.
Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky., capped a solid run to fifth place by snaring The Ticket Clinic Fastest Lap Award on the very last lap.
Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Johnstown, Colo., finished a lap down in sixth but still did enough to claim the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting 10th.
The track had dried out in time for the final race of the weekend, which saw McElrea take full advantage of another Cooper Tires Pole Award by immediately pulling clear of Eves and Petrov. McElrea extended his lead to over 12 seconds by the finish to extend his current podium streak to five races, book-ended by a pair of wins. He also secured a third PFC Award for team owner Augie Pabst.
After challenging for position during the first few laps, Petrov settled into third, mindful of teammate Eves’ championship aspirations, as the pair finished well clear of Abel who subsequently received a penalty for avoidable contact which dropped him to seventh.
A couple of incidents on the opening lap put paid to the hopes of both Gold, who tangled with Petrov in Turn One, and title aspirant Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Copenhagen, Denmark, who damaged his car’s rear suspension in an incident with Irishman James Roe (Turn 3 Motorsport) at Turn Three.
Rasmussen gained some consolation by securing The Ticket Clinic Fastest Lap Award – along with what could be another valuable championship point – following suspension repairs, while Roe survived the early skirmish to earn the Tilton Hard Charger Award having progressed from 10th on the grid to fourth. Brichacek rounded out the top five.
A pair of podium finishes for Eves, combined with a dismal day for Rasmussen, who finished a lap down in the earlier race followed by more contact on the opening lap, will see the contenders separated by just 18 points heading into the championship deciding double-header at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 2/3.
Provisional championship points after 16 of 18 rounds:
- Christian Rasmussen, 392
- Braden Eves, 374
- Hunter McElrea, 347
- Reece Gold, 337
- Artem Petrov, 329
- Jacob Abel, 259
- Kyffin Simpson, 231
- Manuel Sulaiman, 214
- James Roe, 202
- Wyatt Brichacek, 189
Artem Petrov (#42 Road To Success/Bell/226ers-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18): “I’m super happy to score two podiums after a huge crash last weekend and some unlucky moments this season. I was starting to think I was cursed, between the crash and the team having to rebuild a new car, and a gearbox issue yesterday. I’m so thankful to them for their hard work; I think my curse is finally over. I was just screaming over the radio after the race this morning, which is not something I usually do, but I was so happy with the win. I’m happy as well for the team and for Braden, to score two double podiums today, and he can still fight for the championship. I need to do a good job in Mid-Ohio as well to finish third in the championship.”
Hunter McElrea (#18 Giltrap Group/Doric NZ/Miles Advisory Partners/Bell-Pabst Racing Tatuus PM-18): “I knew I had to win this weekend and I knew I was fast, but when you can win by 12.5 seconds, that’s awesome. That was the best race ever. I knew I had to get the start – I was pretty angry at myself that I let Artem by in the rain earlier today; that wasn’t going to happen again. To check out was great, even though I had to deal with a lapped car for a bit mid-race. When you’re leading, it’s so frustrating to deal with dirty air. I was having so much fun, I didn’t want it to end. The car was so hooked up, I was just having fun. To dominate like that, that’s what we live for, especially after the race earlier today when I didn’t have enough for Artem in the full wet conditions. P3 in the championship, so some good points this weekend. I’ll be smiling for a bit after this.”
Braden Eves (#91 Cambridge/CCFI/Huston Insurance/MDRN Livery-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18): “Today did not start out well but we salvaged everything we could. Finally, for what seems like the first time this season, something that should have gone our way did go our way! It comes back around, and I’m so thankful to have such a good weekend. It was super slippery at the start of the race earlier today, and Artem did a stellar job. Super happy for the team, Michael Duncalfe is really going after that team championship and these points really help. We’re only 18 points back in the championship now and we’re still in the fight. This is what I fight for all season, to maximize everything we can, even though it seems like we’ve been all over the place in results. The series is so competitive, I’m so grateful to get some big points this weekend.”
Teenager Siegel Adds his Name to the USF2000 Victory Roster
MILLVILLE, N.J. – Nolan Siegel produced an exemplary performance this afternoon at New Jersey Motorsports Park to win the third and final race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix triple-header. Siegel, 16, from Palo Alto, Calif., managed his wet-weather Cooper tires perfectly on a fast-drying race track to claim the first victory of his Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career for DEForce Racing. He became the second first-time USF2000 winner in just a few hours following Myles Rowe’s triumphant drive a little earlier in the day for Force Indy.
Josh Green, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., equaled his career-best finish in second for Turn 3 Motorsport, while Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), from Delafield, Wis., drove through the field impressively to finish third after electing to pit for dry-weather tires at the completion of the opening lap.
Grid positions were determined according to each driver’s second-fastest lap during qualifying this morning or fastest race lap from Race 2. Thus championship challenger Michael d’Orlando claimed his second Cooper Tires Pole Award of the day. Siegel started alongside on the front row with Josh Pierson (Pabst Racing), from Wilsonville, Ore., and Siegel’s DEForce Racing teammate and championship leader Kiko Porto, from Recife, Brazil, sharing row two.
With the track still damp from earlier rain, officials once again determined that all drivers should start on wet-weather tires. The start was clean, with d’Orlando and Siegel leading the way into Turn One, and once again several drivers – seven in total – chose to make stops for a change of tires after a solitary lap.
It was immediately apparent that slick Cooper tires were the faster option, but the drivers – particularly those at the front of the field – faced a tricky dilemma: continue on the slower wet tires or lose a considerable amount of time by ducking into the pits for a change to slicks.
Two of the Pabst drivers, Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., who started sixth, and Sundaramoorthy, who had lined up 12th, were among the pit callers.
In the meantime d’Orlando continued to hold the lead, albeit under immense pressure from Siegel. Pierson held down third ahead of Green, who made up a couple of positions during the opening two laps.
On Lap 10, after several attempts to overtake had been rebuffed by the leader, Siegel finally managed to make a move around the outside line in Turn One. He immediately began to pull clear.
Green took advantage of a slight loss of momentum for d’Orlando by nipping through into second, but there was no catching Siegel, who romped away to victory and a sixth PFC Award of the year for David and Ernesto Martinez as the winning car owners.
D’Orlando held onto third place until the final lap, when he was caught and passed by Sundaramoorthy, but fourth was enough to keep his title hopes alive after points leader Porto could manage no better than eighth. Sundaramoorthy’s fine effort, assisted by quick work by his team in the pits, was enough to earn the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Pierson held on for fifth ahead of rookie Christian Weir (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Naperville, Ill., who also drove well after changing tires after the first lap.
The final two rounds of this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will take place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on October 1-3. Porto holds a comfortable 44-point advantage over d’Orlando in the quest for a scholarship valued at over $400,000 which will enable the champion to graduate to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the next step on the unique Road to Indy open-wheel driver development ladder, in 2022.
Provisional championship points after 16 of 18 races:
- Kiko Porto, 368
- Michael d’Orlando, 324
- Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 295
- Josh Pierson, 266
- Christian Brooks, 257
- Josh Green, 229
- Spike Kohlbecker, 210
- Jace Denmark, 203
- Prescott Campbell, 197
- Thomas Nepveu, 192
Nolan Siegel (#10 Menlo Ventures/Aero Paint Technologies- DEForce Racing Tatuus USF-17): “I’ve been waiting so long for this. We’ve worked so hard but we’ve had so much bad luck. It’s great for the team, everything came together today. It was a great fight with Michael, he defended every lap and one time we came together and I got pushed off into the grass but finally I made it count. Once I got by, it was just about tires – trying to slide as little as possible and managing the gap behind. The car was perfect and everything worked out. The car was incredible – we’ve worked so hard, from off-season testing all the way through the season and, finally, we got it perfect this weekend.”
Josh Green (#33 JHG Investment Fund-Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus USF17): “That was a very interesting race. After this morning’s race, everyone had experience in the conditions, but this track dries extremely quickly, more than any other circuit. We all got excited before the race, ready for a real rain race, but minutes later the entire circuit was dry and we were all immediately faced with a choice – come into the pits for tires on the first lap, or finish the race like that. I got a great start, raced really hard, got up to fourth right away and just picked the other guys off. Nolan had a really strong race, so kudos to him. I’m so proud of this team, we’ve worked really hard and come so far. It’s been a big push to get here and we’re not going to stop.”
Yuven Sundaramoorthy (#22 S Team Motorsports-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-17): “I didn’t think I’d ever be thinking about pit strategy and pit speed in USF2000! We talked about it on the warmup lap, looking at the conditions, and the main factor was the sun – we could see it beginning to peak out from behind the clouds so we knew the track would dry quickly. Great job by the Pabst team – great call and an amazingly fast stop, with Augie (Pabst) and Martin (Guimont) on the guns to change out the tires. We were four seconds faster than the leaders, and I was 17 seconds back with four laps to go so if I’d had a few more laps, I might have been able to go for the win. But I finished ahead of the championship contenders so I’m happy, it’s a good way to end the weekend.”
Gold Takes Maiden Indy Pro 2000 Win in New Jersey
Reece Gold has been knocking on the door of Victory Lane all season. Less than a week shy of his 17th birthday, Gold, from Miami, Fla., this afternoon led from green flag to checkered flag to score a well-deserved maiden victory in the first of three races that will comprise the Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by The Andersen Companies at New Jersey Motorsports Park. It was also the first win of the season for the recently renamed Juncos Hollinger Racing team, which guided Sting Ray Robb to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2020.
New Zealand’s Hunter McElrea chased gamely in second place for Pabst Racing as Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen extended his championship lead for the Jay Howard Driver Development team by finishing a solid third.
For a season-leading fifth time this season, Gold secured the Cooper Tires Pole Award by virtue of posting the fastest time during qualifying this morning.
Gold led the field toward the starter’s flag at a very leisurely pace before jumping on the loud pedal and leading outside front row starter McElrea comfortably toward Turn One. A strong early pace saw Gold extend his lead to more than two seconds inside the opening two laps. He also turned what was to stand as the fastest lap of the 25-lap race, earning The Ticket Clinic Fastest Lap Award for the third time this year and ensuring a maximum haul of 33 points from the day.
The gap from first to second grew to as much as 2.4 seconds after nine laps. Thereafter, McElrea whittled away at the deficit as Gold continued to turn a string of consistent laps as the two leaders gradually extended their advantage over Rasmussen in third.
McElrea closed to within striking range of Gold with seven laps remaining but Gold was up to the challenge, managing his pace to perfection before taking the checkered flag just under a second to the good. In addition to claiming his long overdue maiden victory, Gold nabbed another PFC Award for Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger as the winning team owners.
Rasmussen finished more than 7.6 seconds adrift of McElrea in third having held off a late challenge from Jack William Miller, from Carmel, Ind., who made up two positions at the start to claim the best finish thus far in his rookie season for Miller Vinatieri Motorsports.
Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky., also made a strong start, vaulting from eighth on the grid to fifth, where he remained to assure himself of his first Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Two more races will be held tomorrow on the 2.25-mile, 12-turn road course, with the starting positions for Race 2 to be decided during a separate qualifying session at 10:45 a.m.
Provisional championship points after 14 of 18 rounds:
- Christian Rasmussen, 367
- Braden Eves, 327
- Reece Gold, 307
- Hunter McElrea, 289
- Artem Petrov, 276
- Jacob Abel, 227
- Manuel Sulaiman, 214
- Kyffin Simpson, 203
- James Roe, 172
- Wyatt Brichacek, 157
Reece Gold (#55 The Ticket Clinic-Juncos Hollinger Racing Tatuus PM-18): “I’ve had so many poles and podiums this season so to finally get the win feels great. It was hard there at the end, that was good racing by Hunter. He kept the pressure on all race. You start thinking about it at the end: there’s so much pressure because there’s so much to lose, especially in the last five to 10 laps when the tires start to go and the field starts to close up. We held strong and came away with it. The team gave me a mega car as always. I’m so happy. Great points for myself and for the team as well, so we’re super excited.”
Hunter McElrea (#18 Giltrap Group/Doric NZ/Miles Advisory Partners/Bell-Pabst Racing Tatuus PM-18): “Reece was on new tires and given how much this track eats up tires, that made a huge difference, though I was surprised how much I was able to run him down at the end. Considering the amount of bad luck we had in the middle part of the season, I’ll take a second-place finish and the points. I’ve come back from nowhere in the championship back to fighting for a podium in the final standings, but honestly, I’m not as focused on that now. Wins are all I care about now, so I don’t care if I have to be a bit more aggressive. The team has done an awesome job, the way we’ve come back the past few races. I know I can go for pole tomorrow and get two wins.”
Christian Rasmussen (#1 JHDD/CSU – One Cure/Lucas Oil-Jay Howard Driver Development Tatuus PM-18): “Huge congrats to Reece. I know they’ve been looking toward that win for a long time now. He definitely deserves it. It’s hard to pass here, though I didn’t really get into a position to make that an issue. The gap to the front two guys just got bigger and bigger. We didn’t have the pace to challenge for the win today, so maximizing points was crucial. I’m happy with P3 – we want to get as many race wins as possible but we’re getting toward the end of the championship so we have to think about that. We gained some points on Braden (Eves) and we’re just chipping away at it.”
Porto Celebrates Birthday With Emphatic Fourth USF2000 Win
MILLVILLE, N.J. – Kiko Porto, from Recife, Brazil, was on a mission in this afternoon’s first leg of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix triple-header at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The championship leader had to settle for second place during qualifying this morning, but he turned the tables on polesitter Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing) from Delafield, Wis., by taking the lead at the first corner. Porto then romped clear to a dominant victory, his fourth of the season for the DEForce Racing team. It was the perfect way to celebrate his 18th birthday.
Sundaramoorthy held onto second place, narrowly holding off a train of cars headed by Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), from Santa Clarita, Calif., who returned to the podium for the first time since the fifth race of the season on the Indianapolis Grand Prix road course.
Sundaramoorthy, too, was looking to maintain his own championship challenge. Already a three-time winner this season, Sundaramoorthy positioned himself perfectly by posting the fastest lap during qualifying this morning to snag his fourth Cooper Tires Pole Award.
Sundaramoorthy seemed to make an exemplary getaway at the rolling start, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent a fired-up Porto from braking a little deeper into Turn One and driving around the outside line to take the lead. He never looked back.
Porto remained under pressure during the opening stages of the 20-lap race, holding onto a slender advantage as he made sure not to overwork his Cooper tires on the notoriously abrasive 2.25-mile, 12-turn road course. The tactic worked to perfection. Porto posted what was to stand as the fastest lap of the race on Lap Seven, then gradually extended his advantage before taking the checkered flag a full 5.1731 seconds clear.
Instead it was Sundaramoorthy who had reason for concern with Brooks, Josh Green (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Mount Kisco, N.Y., and good friend and former karting rival Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), from Hartsdale, N.Y., who made up a position at the start, all snapping at his heels.
The four-car train remained tied together but no one ever really looked likely to make a pass for position on a track where overtaking is always difficult.
Pabst Racing teammates Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., and Josh Pierson, from Wilsonville, Ore., couldn’t match the pace of the leaders. They, too, stayed in close contact throughout the race until Pierson managed to sneak past for fifth on the final lap.
Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing) from Palo Alto, Calif., followed closely in their wake, while New Zealander Billy Frazer (Exclusive Autosport) took advantage of a last-lap incident between rookie Christian Weir (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Naperville, Ill., and Prescott Campbell (DEForce Racing), from Newport Beach, Calif., to finish ninth. Frazer claimed his second Tilton Hard Charger Award of the season after starting 12th.
David and Ernesto Martinez earned their fifth PFC Award of the year as the winning car owners.
A second qualifying session at 9:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow will establish the starting lineups for two more races, the 15th and 16th rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, tomorrow afternoon.
Provisional championship points after 14 of 18 races:
- Kiko Porto, 329
- Michael d’Orlando, 295
- Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 272
- Christian Brooks, 242
- Josh Pierson, 239
- Spike Kohlbecker, 186
- Josh Green, 185
- Thomas Nepveu, 179
- Jace Denmark, 172
- Prescott Campbell, 170
Kiko Porto (#12 Banco Daycoval/Petromega-DEForce Racing Tatuus USF-17): “Winning a race is the best way to spend your birthday! When I saw that (primary title rival) d’Orlando was starting P6, I knew I could make some good points. I was focused on keeping Brooks behind me at the start but when I saw Yuven brake early, I tried to attack, and I think that surprised him. I used that to open a gap, especially when Yuven started getting pushed from behind. I knew where d’Orlando was, so to get the win, lead the most laps and get the fastest lap, those are good points. But the weekend is only just starting. We have two more races tomorrow and it might be raining. I love this track. We have a good car and we have experience in the rain here, so we’ll keep on pushing.”
Yuven Sundaramoorthy (#22 S Team Motorsports-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-17): “I got on the brakes where we were planning to before the race but Kiko had the racing line and got on the brakes deeper than I could. In hindsight, I should have braked deeper but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Kiko drove a perfect race, I can’t take anything away from him. There was nothing I could do once I was in second, just wait for a mistake that never happened. Hats off to him, it’s a good birthday present! P2 is good, good points on Michael (d’Orlando) – we’ll try to put it on pole again tomorrow and try not to make the same mistake.”
Christian Brooks (#44 Hot Wheels/Chaco Flato/Bell Helmets-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus USF-17): “This is a technical track and that suits me, and the tire degradation plays into my favor. We caught up from pretty far back to catch Yuven but burned the front tires off a bit too much to have anything for him at the end. All in all, a podium is a nice way to get things going again. Third today, with two more races tomorrow, so hopefully we can start up front and get some wins. We’re shooting for a top three in the championship now – of course we wanted to win, but a few bad events put us back in points. We have to keep pounding out consistent finishes and go for a couple wins, hopefully they come our way.”