Simon Sikes dominated the second USF2000 race at Mid-Ohio, but it was Mac Clark who won after a huge crash.
Sikes’ second-best laptime in qualifying earned him pole ahead of Clark, Nikita Johnson, Lochie Hughes and race one winner Evagoras Papasavvas.
He held off Clark’s attacks through the opening corner, while at the back of the field Logan Adams went off. Hughes then got alongside Clark through turns four to six but could not get ahead before red flags were shown, which were quickly replaced by yellows as the pace car came out, due to a clash between Max Taylor and Danny Dyszelski that ended the former’s race.
Racing resumed on lap five and Hughes went down the inside of Clark at turn one for second place, with Papasavvas passing him on the outside of turn two. Papasavvas tried to pass Hughes too, but a late-braking move from Clark meant he reclaimed third at turn six.
Sikes finished the lap two seconds clear, and extended that gap with each lap. Johnson passed Papasavvas for fourth on lap nine and quickly closed in on the two ahead as Sikes pulled even further away.
On lap 12 he attacked Clark but went off at turn four and thankfully was able to safely rejoin the track after turn five but only after losing three positions. The lead gap was 6.5s at that point, and it was approaching eight seconds on lap 14 when another caution period occurred due to Zack Ping and Logan Adams having crashes.
After some assistance, Ping was dragging his car back to the pits two laps later and then the restart took place the lap after that.
Sikes’ victory hopes evaporated at turn two as Hughes hit the inside kerbs and then the rear of his car before rolling several times in the air and then in the gravel trap. Sikes lost his rear wing, and the lead to Clark exiting the corner, and another caution period began.
Hughes got out of his car, while title rival Sikes retired his from second at the end of the penultimate lap. Moments later green flags waved again, and Clark led the field to the finish for his second win of 2023.
Papasavvas did have a look at the lead at turn four but settled for second, while Johnson passed Max Garcia for fourth. Sam Corry benefitted to finish third, having started 10th.
Team USA scholar Thomas Schrage started his second USF2000 race in 21st and finished it in 11th, and Dyszelski got into more drama as he and Avery Towns collided on the last lap.
Race result (20 laps)
|1||Mac Clark||DEForce Racing||36m21.8787s|
|3||Sam Corry||Velocity Racing Development||+0.5676s|
|4||Nikita Johnson||Velocity Racing Development||+0.8064s|
|5||Max Garcia||Pabst Racing||+1.1553s|
|6||Jacob Douglas||Pabst Racing||+1.5306s|
|7||Chase Gardner||Exclusive Autosport||+3.1324s|
|8||Jorge Garciarce||DEForce Racing||+3.5138s|
|9||Ethan Ho||DC Autosport||+4.0374s|
|11||Thomas Schrage||Exclusive Autosport||+5.5886s|
|12||Maxwell Jamieson||DEForce Racing||+6.1206s|
|13||Brady Golan||DEForce Racing||+6.8273s|
|14||Carson Etter||DC Autosport||+6.9701s|
|15||Gordon Scully||Velocity Racing Development||+11.6287s|
|16||Danny Dyszelski||Velocity Racing Development||+32.8235s|
|17||Avery Towns||Exclusive Autosport||+1 lap|
|18||Simon Sikes||Pabst Racing||+1 lap|
|Ret||Zack Ping||Velocity Racing Development|
|Ret||Max Taylor||Velocity Racing Development|
|Fastest lap: Sikes, 1m22.4216s