Braden Eves made it two wins out of two in the USF2000 season-opener in St. Petersburg after a last corner crash between Darren Keane and Christian Rasmussen.
At the green flag, poleman Keane got away cleanly as Cape Motorsports team-mate Eves lost second to Jay Howard Driver Development’s Rasmussen.
Rasmussen immediately started challenging for the lead, pulling an audacious move on Keane on the opening lap while Eves? start went from bad to worse as he briefly lost third to Legacy Autosport’s Colin Kaminsky. Once he reclaimed the position, Kaminsky started dropping down the order.
Keane reclaimed the lead on lap three, and had to fend of Rasmussen for several laps before yellows were brought out to clear Jay Howard Driver Development driver Christian Bogle’s car. His team-mate Matt Round-Garrido also had a less than ideal race, getting an early drive-through penalty.
After the yellow flag period, Eves became more involved in the lead battle and nearly benefited from a failed move for first by Rasmussen. Once again, another yellow flag period paused the action.
In the final segment of the race the top two pulled away, and at the final corner on the last lap, Rasmussen dived for the lead but span, hit Keane and the pair slid down the order. Eves, who had been distanced, gladly took the win.
Hunter McElrea held off Zach Holden to finish second, with Alex Baron recovering from his dramatic race one crash to take fourth.
Kaminsky halted his decline down the order in fifth place, while Manuel Sulaiman rose from 19th on the grid to take sixth place and third in the standings. Bruna Tomaselli was seventh, just ahead of Reece Gold and the impressive Matt Round-Garrido. Keane and Rasmussen were classified 14th and 15th.
Race results (25 laps)
|1||Braden Eves||Cape Motorsports||37m46.5374s|
|2||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||+0.6338s|
|3||Zach Holden||BN Racing||+1.2618s|
|4||Alex Baron||Legacy Autosport||+2.0381s|
|5||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||+3.9729s|
|6||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing||+4.5949s|
|7||Bruna Tomaselli||Pabst Racing||+6.2738s|
|8||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||+7.2399s|
|9||Matt Round-Garrido||Jay Howard Driver Development||+7.7176s|
|10||Anthony Famularo||BN Racing||+10.7625s|
|11||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||+16.3040s|
|12||Nolan Siegel||Newman Wachs Racing||+18.2939s|
|13||Jose Sierra||Legacy Autosport||+34.9574s|
|14||Darren Keane||Cape Motorsports||+1 lap|
|15||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||+1 lap|
|16||Cameron Shields||Newman Wachs Racing||+1 lap|
|17||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||+2 laps|
|Ret||Manuel Carbrera||Exclusive Autosport|
|Ret||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|Ret||Nate Aranda||Team E JAY Racing|
|Ret||Eduardo Barrichello||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports|
|Pole: Keane, 1m12.6534s? ? ? Fastest lap: Rasmussen, 1m13.1396s