Braden Eves continued his perfect start to the 2019 USF2000 season by winning both races at the Indianapolis road course, extending his lead in the standings.
The Cape Motorsports driver took pole for both races at ahead of team-mate Darren Keane and Pabst Racing rival Hunter McElrea.
It was the poleman who got the best getaway in race two, while Keane got tagged behind by Exclusive Autosport’s Manuel Cabrera, pitching both drivers into a spin and down to last place.
Jack William Miller was one of several drivers to leap up the order, going from 11th to fourth on the opening lap, while NACAM Formula 4 title contender Jak Crawford dropped from fifth into 16th having made a poor start in his first race.
McElrea tracked Eves closely in the fight for the lead, gapping the rest of the field comfortably as they broke away from the rest of the pack.
Keane?s fightback brought him up to 15th by lap five, while Crawford and BN Racing?s Zak Holden also got busy overtaking having dropped outside the top 10 at the start.
McElrea eventually forced his way past Eves for the lead but the fight was long from finished as the drivers approached the penultimate lap.
Eves retook the lead out of the final corner, but his rival would pass him once again in an audacious move around the outside of turn one – setting up a last lap duel.
Through the infield section, Eves closed once more and sent his car up the inside of McElrea – who could do nothing but sit in Eve’s slipstream to the finish line. Their battle brought DEForce Racing’s Manuel Sulaiman onto their tails, and the podium trio was covered by 0.8658 seconds.
Crawford?s fight ended with a lap to go after contact with Miller sent both drivers into the gravel, while Keane?managed to slice his way back to sixth behind Pabst’s Colin Kaminsky and Newman Wachs Racing’s Cameron Shields.
Eves kept the lead from pole again in race two, with team-mate Keane following closely behind. McElrea and Sulaiman fought over third behind them until Sulaiman made a mistake on lap three, dropping to eighth.
The race was then put under caution after Miller and Matt Round-Garrido (Jay Howard Driver Development) tangled. There was no change at the front on the restart, and when McElrea did make a move for second the yellow flags were out again second later due to another Miller incident.
On the second restart McElrea was bettered by Keane, and he was unable to break the Cape duo’s grip on the top two through the remainder of the race. One of the later yellow flag periods was caused by a clash between Sheilds and Sulaiman, leaving Crawford to take fourth ahead of Edoardo Barrichello and Alex Baron.
Championship debutant and reigning US F4 champion Dakota Dickerson finished seventh for Legacy Autosport.
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 21m28.2785s
2 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing +0.2998s
3 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing +0.8658s
4 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing +4.1820s
5 Cameron Sheilds Newman Wachs Racing +8.3125s
6 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports +12.2880s
7 Zach Holden BN Racing +14.8809s
8 Anthony Famularo BN Racing +15.2542s
9 Alex Baron Legacy Autosport +17.1490s
10 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing +18.3878s
Pole: Eves, 1m24.7198s
Fastest lap: Keane, 1m24.8876s
Race 2 (20 laps)
1 Eves 34m20.6445s
2 Keane +0.5455s
3 McElrea +0.8253s
4 Jak Crawford DEForce Racing +1.6128s
5 Edoardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports +2.6663s
6 Baron +3.7259s
7 Dakota Dickerson Legacy Autosport +4.1714s
8 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development +4.9963s
9 Famularo +5.3663s
10 Kaminsky +5.78723s
P: Eves, 1m24.5396s
FL: Eves, 1m24.7440s
1 Eves 127? ?2 McElrea 94? ?3 Sulaiman 65? ?4 Keane 65? ?5 Holden 54? ?6 Kaminsky 52? ?7 Tomaselli 50? ?8 Famularo 48? ?9 Baron 47? ?10 Rasmussen 40