Cooper Tires Winterfest – Barber Motorsports Park Update #1

Good morning from Barber Motorsports Park (Barber), the 2.3 mile, 17-turn road course located just east of Birmingham, Alabama.

The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire drivers and teams were scheduled to test at the track yesterday and this morning, but the cold weather scrapped that plan.  Indy Lights will be back at Barber on March 3rd for a full day of testing.  Let’s hope they have better weather.

Today’s forecast includes a Winter Storm Warning and currently it’s raining and the temperature is a balmy 33F.  The Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights are bound by a rule that the either the air temperature or track temperature is 50F before they are allowed out on track.

Fortunately, the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series do not have the same constraints.  Kudos to Cooper Tire for making tires that are able to race in cooler temperatures.

Yufeng Luo will not be participating in the Barber rounds.  Pabst Racing tweeted that he had a family emergency.

Race #1 for USF2000 is at 2:00pm and Race #1 for Pro Mazda is at 3:00pm.

The USF2000 cars went out for practice at 11:15am for a 20 minute session.  Drivers tiptoed around on their opening lap and were on their first “hot” lap when Santiago Lozano lost control of the No. 79 M2 Autsoport machine between Turns 7 and Turn 8 and clobbered the wall on the left hand side.  His Van Diemen Elan was severely damaged, but did it’s job protecting the driver, as he was able to get out of the car under his own power.

After a lengthy clean up, the track did go back to green, but only for a few minutes before the checkered fell.  Jake Eidson from Pabst Racing led the way with Nico Jamin, Aaron Telitz, Victor Franzoni and Keyran Andres Soori were the remainder of the top five.

After a five minute break the USF2000 drivers went back out 15 minute qualifying session.

The session remained green for all 15 minutes.  There were a number of spins but all drivers were able to get going under their own power.

The top five in qualifying were: Franzoni, Jamin, Eidson, Telitz and Parker Thompson.

I had a chance to chat with Jamin after qualifying and he said the conditions were tough for USF2000 qualifying, but were not un-drivable.

Complete qualifying results are:

1 Victor Franzoni
2 Nico Jamin
3 Jake Edition
4 Aaron Telitz
5 Parker Thompson
6 Jordan Lloyd
7 Anthony Martin
8 Michai Stephens
9 Luke Gabin
10 Augie Lerch
11 Keyran Andres Soori
12 Garth Rickards
13 Nikita Lastochkin
14 James Dayson
15 Ayla Agren
16 Max Hanratty

Pro Mazda went out for their 20 minute practice session at 12:15pm.

The session went red in the first five minutes when Nicholas Latifi had a big shunt on the straight-away between Turn 4 and Turn 5.  He hit the Armco on drivers right and the car split in half.  He was able to walk away from the crash under his own power.

The car puked out a ton fluid and it took the rest of the session to clean it up.  The top 5 times in the disjointed session were set by: Raoul Owens, Nicholas Latifi, Alessandro Latif, Michael Johnson and Bobby Eberle.

Qualifying for Pro Mazda was cancelled due to weather and the first race will be set by current Cooper Tires Winterfest points.

Current points are:

Rank Driver WF1 WF2 WF3 Total
1 Jack Aitken (R) 32 19 32 83
2 Weiron Tan (R) 26 32 20 78*
3 Will Owen 22 22 15 59
4 Nicholas Latifi (R) 7 25 22 54
5 Florian Latorre (R) 14 17 13 44
6 Raoul Owens (R) 19 15 9 43
7 Timothe Buret (R) 12 14 12 38
8 Garett Grist 17 1 19 37
9 Jose Gutierrez 6 13 17 36
10 Michael Johnson 11 12 11 34
11 Dalton Kellett (R) 15 1 14 30
12 Alessandro Latif (R) 10 10 10 30
13 Bobby Eberle 9 11 8 28
14 Carlos Conde 8 9 7 24
15 Daniel Burkett (R) 13 1 0 14

Jake Eidson currently has a commanding lead in USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest standings.  Complete standings and statistics to date are available here:  Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda standings and stats.

Jack Aitken currently leads Weiron Tan by only five points in the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire Winterfest standings.  Complete standings and statistics to date are available here: Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire standings and stats.