Birmingham, Ala. – Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing maintained its mastery of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, sweeping both of this weekend’s races for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Yesterday it was American Aaron Telitz who led the way in the dry, but today, in extremely wet conditions, teammate Nico Jamin, from Rouen, France, was the dominant force.
Australian rookie Anthony Martin also drove an impressive race for John Cummiskey Racing with a late pass on championship leader Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing) to take second place and secure his first-ever podium finish.
This evening’s 30-minute race was delayed by thunderstorms, but that was of little consequence to Jamin, 19, who made it look easy as he romped clear from the start and pulled away with every lap. Even though his advantage twice was slashed to nothing by full-course cautions due to a couple of cars sliding off the road and being stranded in the gravel, Jamin remained unflustered. He even found time to reset fastest lap of the race in a green/white-checkered one-lap dash to the finish. His eventual margin of victory was 1.1751 seconds.
Martin, from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, was the day’s biggest mover, securing the Tilton Hard Charger Award for advancing four positions during the race from sixth on the grid. He also took home the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award for the manner in which he passed Victor Franzoni for third place on Lap Six.
Eidson took his fourth successive third-place finish after winning the opening two rounds in St. Petersburg, Fla., but his championship lead now has been trimmed to just 11 points, 152-141, over Jamin. Yesterday’s winner Telitz is now a further 10 points back in third.
Franzoni ran third in the early stages for Afterburner Autosport and was expected to be a strong challenger for the victory after leading the way in similarly wet conditions two weeks ago at NOLA Motorsports Park, but the Brazilian struggled to match the leading pace on this occasion and could manage only fourth ahead of Telitz. Franzoni’s car was later disqualified for violating Rule 14.1(a) in post-race technical inspection.
Subsequently, Canadian Parker Thompson finished fifth for JDC MotorSports, followed by China’s Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing), Germany’s Keyvan Andres Soori (ArmsUp Motorsports), Russian Nikita Lastochkin (Team Pelfrey) and Max Hanratty, who earned his top-10 finish for ArmsUp Motorsports.
Additional contingency awards included the PFC Award to the winning car owners, Dominic and Nicholas Cape, while the Staubli Award went to Thompson.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will continue with another pair of races run in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series – and all three steps on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system – at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 7-9.
Nico Jamin (#2 Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics-Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing): “I was very mad 24 hours ago. Yesterday was a rough day, but I kept my head up. I was looking forward to getting back out there today and starting on pole again. I wanted this win so much; it’s a bit of revenge for me. The car was so great. The Cape Motorsports guys did such a great job. I didn’t make any mistakes and got the win, which feels really good. I had a good start and two good restarts. It was very important on the start to get a good gap and to manage the race from there. When I saw the first full course caution, I was very nervous, because I had a good gap and then all these guys came back on me! But I had a good restart and kept it going. I’m very excited now for the month of May, with two big races in Indy.”
Anthony Martin (#33 Burgess BLA-John Cummiskey Racing): “I wasn’t sure how the race would go; I’m not very experienced in the rain. Thankfully, the car was just awesome. It was a really fast car so I had the confidence in the car to make the moves that I did and it paid out very well. It was all about getting around the track without making mistakes and I didn’t make too many. Victor covered pretty well going into Turn Five so I decided to try the outside and it worked out. Then, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when the last yellow came out, but they gave us a one-lap dash. I got a good run on Jake going into Turn Five and made the pass stick.”
Jake Eidson (#22 OMP/Bell Helmets/1st Bank/SAFEisFAST.com/Team USA Scholarship-Pabst Racing): “Coming to a track and not having any experience there in the rain throws a bit of a curveball. I wanted to take it easy through Turn One without compromising anything. Yesterday, I was fighting off Telitz and today I was fighting off Martin. It’s a bit disappointing, but I’d rather finish third than not finish at all – like the quote says, ‘to finish first, first you must finish.'”