Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda qualifying

For the eleventh straight USF2000 race Nico Jamin will start on pole. It’s also his 12th of the season which is a series record that was previously set by Sage Karam in 2010.

It is also the 9th straight race that some 12th time in 15 races that

The green flag dropped on qualifying for the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda drivers at exactly 4:55pm under partly cloudy skies.

All 15 drivers immediately took to the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track for the half-hour session on sticker Cooper racing slicks.

One third of the way through the session and Aaron Telitz was 0.2 seconds ahead of his Cape Motorsports with /WTR teammate and championship leader Nico Jamin. No surprise that the third of the terrific trio, Jake Eidson had the third quickest time.

With ten minutes left in the qualifying session it was still Telitz, Jamin on top, but rookie Anthony Martin that had moved ahead of Eidson.

Not soon after that Nico Jamin took back the top spot from Telitz and Eidson was able to sneak back into the top three.

The first USF2000 race of the weekend will take place tomorrow at 10:30am (Pacific).

The complete qualfiying results are below:

RANK — DRIVER — QUICK LAP
1 Nico Jamin 1:25.735
2 Aaron Telitz 1:25.898
3 Jake Eidson 1:26.208
4 Anthony Martin 1:26.292
5 Luke Gabin 1:26.754
6 Nikita Lastochkin 1:26.774
7 Ayla Agren 1:27.037
8 Garth Rickards 1:27.054
9 Peter Portante 1:27.137
10 Parker Thompson 1:27.593
11 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:27.668
12 Yufeng Luo 1:27.918
13 Robert Alon 1:28.205
14 James Dayson 1:29.051
15 Max Hanratty 1:29.277

 

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire practice #2

As TSO expected, the variation in times during the morning Indy Lights session was due to different tire strategies. Each driver gets four fresh sets of Cooper slicks for the event, and are allowed to carry tires over from testing.

Most engineers and drivers we talked to between sessions were hoping that they would be able to carry all four new sets into qualifying tomorrow morning, but that proved to be optimistic as most teams made the switch to sticker tires ten minutes into the final half hour session.

I spent the majority of time on pit lane during the session and the most common change being made was rear damper adjustments.

Now the engineers and drivers will spend the night pouring over date and hope they make the right changes before qualifying at 8:45am (Pacific) tomorrow morning.

Here is the final practice session times:

RANK — DRIVER — BEST LAP TIME — TOTAL LAPS TURNED
1 Max Chilton 1:15.872 14
2 Ed Jones 1:16.045 16
3 RC Enerson 1:16.599 17
4 Shelby Blackstock 1:16.713 16
5 Jack Harvey 1:16.978 16
6 Ethan Ringel 1:16.985 17
7 Kyle Kaiser 1:16.998 11
8 Spencer Pigot 1:17.401 11
9 Sean Rayhall 1:17.677 6
10 Scott Anderson 1:18.219 8
11 Felix Serralles 1:18.442 11
12 Juan Piedrahita 1:18.632 16
13 Heamin Choi 1:19.272 17

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Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire practice #2

Nineteen Mazda Renesis powered Pro Mazda machines took to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course at 3:25pm for their second half-hour practice session of the day.

Half-way through the half-hour practice and the top 10 were: Will Owen, Santiago Urrutia, Neil Alberico, Raoul Owens, Timothe Buret, Kyle Connery, Weiron Tan, Alessandro Latif, Dalton Kellett and Florian Latorre.

Unlike the first Pro Mazda session this morning, this thirty minute session ran green the entire time allowing drivers and engineers to dial in their set-ups before qualifying bright and early tomorrow morning at 8am.

The full time-sheet for the practice session is a follows:

RANK — DRIVER — BEST LAP TIME — TOTAL LAPS TURNED
1 Will Owen 1:23.424 11
2 Weiron Tan 1:23.941 16
3 Garett Grist 1:24.040 15
4 Santiago Urrutia 1:24.132 15
5 Florian Latorre 1:24.806 9
6 Neil Alberico 1:24.815 10
7 Raoul Owens 1:24.912 17
8 Alessandro Latif 1:25.334 16
9 Michael Johnson 1:25.386 17
10 Timothe Buret 1:25.433 17
11 Kyle Connery 1:25.500 14
12 Dalton Kellett 1:25.778 12
13 Jose Gutierrez 1:25.858 12
14 Parker Nicklin 1:25.971 8
15 Daniel Burkett 1:26.852 11
16 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:27.910 17
17 Jay Horak(E) 1:28.038 19
18 Pato O’Ward 1:31.963 3
19 Victor Franzoni No Time —

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Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda practice #2

The second USF2000 session of the day began at 1:30pm after a one hour lunch break for the track workers.

Halfway through the session and the top 10 were: Ayla Agren, Jake Eidson, Nikita Lastochkin, Aaron Telitz, Nico Jamin, Luke Gabin, Anthony Martin, Parker Thompson, Keyvan Andres Soori, and Garth Rickards.

The entire 30 minute session was clean and green.

The complete times for the session are as follows.

RANK — DRIVER — BEST LAP TIME — TOTAL LAPS TURNED
1 Nico Jamin 1:25.489 10
2 Luke Gabin 1:26.276 18
3 Aaron Telitz 1:26.765 10
4 Garth Rickards 1:26.920 18
5 Ayla Agren 1:27.296 20
6 Jake Eidson 1:27.407 13
7 Parker Thompson 1:27.473 18
8 Nikita Lastochkin 1:27.689 19
9 Anthony Martin 1:28.629 13
10 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:28.814 18
11 Yufeng Luo 1:29.019 8
12 Robert Alon 1:29.308 12
13 Peter Portante 1:29.326 12
14 Max Hanratty 1:29.893 18
15 James Dayson 1:30.181 18

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It’s great to see the familiar faces and orange and black Chevrolets of the Holmatro Safety Team here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Mazda Road To Indy promoter Dan Andersen determined that it was important to have them present this weekend and paid for IndyCar’s most important team to make the trip.  Also making the trip was the IndyCar timing and scoring team.

The familiar orange and black Chevrolets of the Holmatro Safety Team made the trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Mazda Road To Indy  finales (photo by Steve Wittich)

The familiar orange and black Chevrolets of the Holmatro Safety Team made the trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Mazda Road To Indy finales (photo by Steve Wittich)

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TSO had a chance to chat with Trevor Carlin, Racing Director at Carlin this morning.  The newest Indy Lights team boss said that they have enjoyed their first season in the U.S.A., and that racing on the this “side of the pond” really isn’t all that different from racing in Europe.  He confirmed that the team would like to add at least one car next year, and would ideally like to double the size of the team to four cars.

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It’s easy to forget sometimes how lean these Mazda Road To Indy teams have run to make it to each event.

John Cummiskey Racing is a perfect example of how a small teams can punch above their weight. Unless disaster strikes, John Cummiskey Racing driver Anthony Martin will finish the year as the top rookie and in fourth place overall in the championship.

John Cummiskey Racing's rookie Anthony Martin makes his way around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

John Cummiskey Racing’s rookie Anthony Martin makes his way around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The one-car team has five team members this weekend, including driver Martin.

Cummiskey, who’s background includes chief mechanic stints at Team Penske and Team Green Racing, is joined this weekend by engineer Louis D’Agostino, a truck driver, and a local mechanic that he worked with in IndyCar (hired for just this weekend).

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Word around the paddock is that one of the big-two Verizon IndyCar Series teams is evaluating starting an Indy Lights team to the point that they have been contacting potential drivers.