Indianapolis, Ind. – Nico Jamin vaulted into the lead of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda following another convincing victory this morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix Circuit. Jamin, from Rouen, France, started from the pole position, maintained his advantage at the start and then drove away from the field to secure a weekend sweep of the Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis for himself and the four-time defending champion team Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Teammate Aaron Telitz finished a lonely second, 4.866 seconds in arrears, while Australian Anthony Martin took third for Indianapolis-based John Cummiskey Racing as the best-placed rookie.
The key to Jamin’s success was a potent combination of speed and consistency. He broke clear on the first lap after Telitz and erstwhile championship leader Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing) made slight contact with each other at Turn Two. Jamin, 19, then edged farther away with every circuit of the 2.439-mile road course, including a sequence of 13 laps all within a hair over one tenth of a second of each other, including the fastest lap of the race and a new USF2000 record at 1:26.4672 (101.546 mph).
Eidson’s hopes evaporated when he slid a little wide at Turn One on the opening lap. A close-following Telitz immediately ducked to the inside and drove around the outside of his rival at Turn Two. Eidson’s efforts to stay with Telitz resulted in slight nose-to-tail contact, but it was enough to dislodge the nosecone and send him to pit lane for repairs.
Eidson finally recovered to finish 12th, but his first non-podium finish allied to Jamin’s third straight win – and fourth of the season – means that Jamin now holds an 18-point lead, 206-184, at the midway point of the 16-race season.
Martin took advantage of the incident between Eidson and Telitz to climb from sixth to third, where he remained for the duration of the 21-lap race. For the second day in succession, MAZDASPEED Scholarship winner Luke Gabin (Team Pelfrey) earned his career-best finish, this time in fourth after passing Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing) at Turn Seven on Lap 11.
Garth Rickards (Team Pelfrey) also ran among the top four before running into gearbox difficulties, while teammate Nikita Lastochkin took seventh behind Parker Thompson (JDC MotorSports), who claimed both the Tilton Hard Charger Award, advancing five positions to sixth from 11th on the starting grid, and the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award for his impressive progress on the opening lap. Other contingency awards included the PFC Award to the winning car owners, Dominic and Nicholas Cape, and the Staubli Award to Luo.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will return to action at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the Freedom 75, part of the #MRTI FreedomFest weekend during the lead-up to the 99th Indianapolis 500.
Nico Jamin (#2 Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics-Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing): From the start of the season, this was the race I wanted to win. My dream was to win here, to be the fourth Frenchman to win here (after Jules Goux 1913, Rene Thomas 1914 and Simon Pagenaud 2014).To get two poles and two wins here is just awesome. But it’s not too comfortable to start from the pole at Indianapolis because the straightaway is so long. Aaron got next to me and I think he would have overtaken me because he was so much faster, but Jake bumped me like they do in NASCAR going into Turn One. It gave me momentum and I could make it through the turn. After that, I just kept my head down and stayed in front. I tried to stay relaxed. I had to keep myself from thinking about anything, just driving as though I were in a practice session, taking lap after lap, corner after corner. I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I was just hoping there wouldn’t be a yellow!”
About USF2000: The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda debuted in 2010 and is a continuation of the highly-regarded USF2000 series which ran from 1990 through 2006, launching the careers of many of today’s top drivers. Sanctioned by INDYCAR and managed by Andersen Promotions, the series is the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system. The top driver in the Championship class will earn a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The series also is part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder program which assists young drivers in advancing from the Skip Barber Racing School to USF2000. Additional information can be found at www.usf2000.com.
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED: Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy and the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.