St. Petersburg, Fla. – Jake Eidson and his Pabst Racing team continued their fine form this morning by leading throughout the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Race Two and completing a sweep of the opening weekend of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Just as was the case yesterday, 19-year-old Eidson took full advantage of his pole starting position to lead into the first corner from Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates Aaron Telitz and Nico Jamin. Eidson led all 20 laps to take the victory but was pushed to the limit all of the way by Telitz. The pair of former Team USA Scholarship winners secured the top two positions for the second day running, with Frenchman Jamin once again rounding out the podium in third.
Eidson also had to contend with a full-course caution, which came after seven laps when Garth Rickards (Team Pelfrey) crashed out of seventh place in Turn Two. The race leader timed his restart to perfection but was never able to eke out a substantial advantage over Telitz, who kept the pressure on in second place. Telitz set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 19 to claim an additional championship point, but there was no way past Eidson who cemented his early series lead.
John Cummiskey Racing teammates and fellow Australian rookies Jordan Lloyd and Anthony Martin fought out an entertaining battle for fourth place. Lloyd seemed to have the edge in the early stages but it was a different story after the restart as Martin remained glued to his countryman’s tail before making a pass in Turn 10 with three laps to go. The move earned Martin, who finished fourth for the second day in a row, the Replay XD Move of the Race Award.
Sixth place was taken by Canadian karting ace Parker Thompson, who bounced back well for JDC MotorSports following an incident at the beginning of yesterday’s race.
Germany’s Keyvan Andres Soori (ArmsUp Motorsports), the youngest driver in the field at age 15, took seventh ahead of the Palmetto, Fla.-based Team Pelfrey trio of Nikita Lastochkin, Luke Gabin and Ayla Agren. Both Andres Soori and Gabin, the winner of last year’s Skip Barber Championship Shootout and a MAZDASPEED scholarship to graduate into USF2000, also had been eliminated in the first-lap incident on Saturday.
Andrew List (D2D Motorsports) earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award for moving up five places during the race from his 17th starting position. The PFC Award was presented to the winning car owner, Augie Pabst, and the Staubli Award to Telitz
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will return to action, once again in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series, at NOLA Motorsports Park, just a few miles from downtown New Orleans, La., on April 10-12.
Jake Eidson (#22 OMP/Bell Helmets/1st Bank/SAFEisFAST.com/Team USA Scholarship-Pabst Racing): “You talk about having weekends like this, but to actually have one is definitely easier said than done. Everyone at Pabst Racing has worked so hard, especially since Winterfest. We weren’t sure what kind of results we were going to have – obviously we were aiming for the win but to actually execute it is a relief. It was close today. On the restart, I didn’t get all the way down into first gear coming out of Turn One, so when I came back to gas on the acceleration, it was a bit slow. Luckily, I was able to make it out of there without being side by side for too long. I saw the two Cape cars battling coming out of Turn Four so it gave me some breathing room. It was nerve wracking, but thankfully we didn’t have any issues.