Cape Motorsports’ Braden Eves picked up the first victory of the 2019 USF2000 season in a time-truncated race at St. Petersburg.
Eves, driving the car that won the 2018 title, led away from pole until a first corner crash put a temporary pause on proceedings. Legacy Autosport’s Alex Baron had made brief tyre-to-tyre contact with another driver,?sending him flying over the top of Hunter McElrea and Zach Holden and bringing out the red flags.
Under the pace car leading the field back to the pitlane, Nate Aranda was pitched into the barriers at the start of lap three, ending his race too.
Christian Rasmussen was a big gainer on the first lap, moving from ninth to fourth, which positioned him behind Eves, DEForce Racing’s Manuel Sulaiman and Pabst Racing’s?McElrea. Yellow flags were out almost immediately after the restart, and amidst the continuing chaos there was a frantic battle for fourth between Ramussen and BN Racing’s Zach Holden.
Holden looked to be the man with the most speed, picking up the pace to pressure Rasmussen while Eves built up a lead when uninterrupted by yellow flags.
Although the battle for second behind was close, overtaking was made difficult by the frequent appearances of yellow flags, and after the last caution period there was a one lap dash to the finish.
Eves held off Sulaiman to win, while McElrea soaked up the pressure from behind to complete the podium.?
Pabst’s Bruna Tomaselli held onto her sixth position from qualifying, while Cape’s Darren Keane sliced through the field from 19th to finish seventh.
The top ten was rounded out by Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst), Anthony Famularo (BN Racing) and Reece Gold (Cape) with Northern Irish Formula Ford champion Matt Round-Garrido impressing for Jay Howard Driver Development by rising through the field from last to finish 12th.
Race results (18 laps)
|1||Braden Eves||Cape Motorsports||40m39.9252s|
|2||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing||+0.4372s|
|3||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||+1.3548s|
|4||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||+1.4754s|
|5||Zach Holden||BN Racing||+1.9761s|
|6||Bruna Tomaselli||Pabst Racing||+3.1984s|
|7||Darren Keane||Cape Motorsports||+3.6570s|
|8||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||+4.1889s|
|9||Anthony Famularo||BN Racing||+4.7059s|
|10||Reece Gold||Cape Motorsports||+5.0711s|
|11||Cameron Shields||Newman Wachs Racing||+5.3804s|
|12||Matt Round-Garrido||Jay Howard Driver Development||+5.6822s|
|13||Eduardo Barrichello||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||+6.0659s|
|14||Nolan Siegel||Newman Wachs Racing||+6.9499s|
|15||Christian Bogle||Jay Howard Driver Development||+7.3308s|
|16||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||+1 lap|
|17||Jose Sierra||Legacy Autosport||+2 laps|
|Ret||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports|
|Ret||Manuel Cabrera||Exclusive Autosport|
|Ret||Nate Aranda||Team E JAY Racing|
|Ret||Alex Baron||Legacy Autosport|
|Pole: Eves, 1m13.5277s? ? ? Fastest lap: Keane, 1m13.1602s|