The first Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda race of the weekend rolled off the grid at 6:15pm under overcast skies.
Pole sitter Nico Jamin led the field to green, but went through Turn 1 side-by-side with Victor Franzoni. The No. 17 Afterburner Autosport machine of Franzoni pushed wide in Turn 1 and got on the grass and when he came back on the track, he bumped wheels with Jamin. Jamin went into a lazy spin and ended up in the gravel trap on the outside of Turn 2. Race control did review the incident, but no action was taken.
The track went yellow and the Holmatro Safety Team were able to get Jamin fired and he rejoined a lap down. The only consolation for the sophomore driver was that he was able to turn the quickest lap of the race, which earned him one bonus point. And the way this championship is going, one point could make a huge difference when they get to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
The top 10 after the first lap were: Franzoni, Jake Eidson, Aaron Telitz, Luke Gabin, Anthony Martin, Parker Thompson, Garth Rickards, Yufeng Luo and Ayla Agren.
The field went back to green on the third lap and this time they filed through the first three turns single file. Fraznoni was able to build almost a one second lead over Eidson by the end of the third lap.
A good battle developed between Gabin and Martin, the two Australian rookies in the field. On the 11th lap the No. 33 of Martin was able to get by the No. 82 of Gabin. Gabin sustained some damage (not sure how as we had very limited cameras) and had to pit and retire from the race.
Meanwhile up front, the three sophomores were waging a close battle for the lead, with Franzoni holding between a 0.3 and 0.5 second lead over Eidson, while Telitz was tucked right up under the gearbox of the championship leader.
The trio of championship contenders held station until lap 17 when Telitz got good run off of Turn 3 and was able to out brake Eidson into Turn 5.
On the next lap, Telitz again got a good run off of Turn 3 and this time made a spectacular pass around the outside of leader Franzoni in Turn 5. Unfortunately they had turned off all of the cameras at this point, so hopefully Telitz’s on-board was able to capture the move.
Telitz pulled away to 1.1 second victory over Franzoni, while Eidson, Martin and Thompson made up the remainder of the Top 5.
This is Telitz’s second Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda win, and first on a road course. His first win came on the oval at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2014.
The podium was the fifth in a row for Eidson. The fourth place finish for Martin was his fourth top five in five races, a very impressive run for the John Cummiskey Racing rookie.
The big movers of the race were:
1) Nikita Lastochkin, who came home tenth after starting at the tail of the field in fifteen after missing qualifying.
2) Team Pelfrey rookie Garth Rickards, who finished a career best sixth after starting tenth.
The final results are as follows:
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||QUICKEST LAP TIME|
|7||5||Keyvan Andres Soori||1:24.898|