Home News Christodoulou tops USF2000 practice as USF Juniors trio step up at IMS

Christodoulou tops USF2000 practice as USF Juniors trio step up at IMS

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Velocity Racing Development’s Nico Christodoulou led the way in USF2000 practice on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.

There were several changes to the entry list compared to the previous rounds, with VRD being without Cole Kleck while Exclusive Autosport had added debutants Giovanni Cabrera and Evan Cooley to its line-up and Jay Howard Driver Development had its fourth car out for G3 Argyros.

Cooley and Cabrera usually race for Exclusive in USF Juniors, the step below on the Road to Indy, and are currently eighth and 26th in the standings there.

Similarly, Argyros is part of JHDD’s USF Juniors line-up and is 15th in that championship after two rounds. He will race in USF2000 at IMS and then again at Lucas Oil Raceway and on the streets of Toronto.

Two test sessions preceded practice on Thursday at IMS, and VRD’s Max Taylor topped the first with a 1m27.2630s lap set over 10 minutes before the end of the session. He was fastest by just 0.0683 seconds over Pabst Racing’s Max Garcia, with Exclusive’s Joey Brienza 0.0742s off top spot, Pabst’s Sam Corry 0.0803s behind in fourth and Christodoulou completing a top five split by 0.0827s.

Cooley was sixth fastest, 0.3786s off the pace, and team-mate Thomas Schrage was a further 0.1666s behind in seventh. The top 15 in the 22-car field were covered by 0.9783s.

Garcia set the pace in session two, with most drivers setting their best laps early on. The session-topping 1m27.3704s came on Garcia’s fifth tour, and put him 0.0284s ahead of Taylor. Cooley was 0.0581s behind in third, and this time 0.8s covered the top 17. Argyros failed to get out on track after being 21st in session one, while Cabrera ended the test 3.2673s off the pace.

Christodoulou came to the fore fairly quickly in the single practice session, lowering the pace a few times but not getting near the laptimes being set in testing as wet weather hit Indianapolis.

A 1m32.9466s put him on top by a slim 0.0567s over JHDD’s Michael Costello, then there was a 0.7109s gap to DEForce Racing’s Nicolas Giaffone in third and 0.9315s to JHDD’s Evagoras Papasavvas in fourth. Quinn Armstrong (DEForce) was 1.8570s behind in fifth, Taylor was 2.0545s off the pace in sixth and deciding to skip the wet running were Exclusive’s four drivers.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Christodoulou VRD 1m32.9466s 16
2 Michael Costello JHDD 1m33.0033s +0.0567s 16
3 Nicolas Giaffone DEForce Racing 1m33.6575s +0.7109s 15
4 Evagoras Papasavvas JHDD 1m33.8781s +0.9315s 17
5 Quinn Armstrong DEForce Racing 1m34.8036s +1.8570s 15
6 Max Taylor VRD 1m35.0011s +2.0545s 14
7 Lucas Fecury DEForce Racing 1m35.3782s +2.4316s 15
8 Xavier Kokai VRD 1m35.4705s +2.5239s 17
9 G3 Argyros JHDD 1m35.7425s +2.7959s 16
10 Brady Golan DEForce Racing 1m36.5707s +3.6241s 15
11 Ayrton Houk DC Autosport 1m36.7025s +3.7559s 14
12 Tanner DeFabis JHDD 1m36.8677s +3.9211s 15
13 Sam Corry Pabst Racing 1m36.9130s +3.9664s 6
14 Maxwell Jamieson DEForce Racing 1m36.9903s +4.0437s 14
15 Max Garcia Pabst Racing 1m37.1527s +4.2061s 5
16 Elliot Cox SFHRD 1m37.3182s +4.3716s 4
17 Hudson Schwartz Pabst Racing 1m37.4125s +4.4659s 7
18 Carson Etter DC Autosport 1m40.1451s +7.1985s 7