Home Featured Eves wins USF Pro 2000’s Freedom 90 race at his fourth attempt

Eves wins USF Pro 2000’s Freedom 90 race at his fourth attempt

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Exclusive Autosport’s Braden Eves took a lights-to-flag win in the Freedom 90, USF Pro 2000’s sole oval race.

Located at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the race was supposed to take place on Friday night but heavy rain led to it being postponed to Saturday afternoon. Eves, who had contested the event three times before, topped every session prior to the race and set a new track record in addition to taking pole.

He and Pabst Racing’s Jace Denmark immediately pulled away when the 90-lap race began, and he was two seconds clear of his rival by lap eight. That gap reached three seconds on lap 12, then four on lap 15. It started to compress a third of the way into the race as Eves encountered drivers to lap, but as he navigated he never returned to being in the vicinity of Denmark.

The picture changed on lap 48 when a caution period bunched up the field just as he had built his lead to five seconds. Velocity Racing Development’s points leader Nikita Johnson had crashed out at turn three, and Turn 3 Motorsport’s Ethan Ho was in the barriers at turn four.

There were eight drivers still on the lead lap at that point, but Pabst’s Jace Denmark headed to the pits to retire with radiator damage. DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark then pitted from sixth, but was able to rejoin the track without losing a lap.

The restart took place on lap 58 and Denmark got on the inside of Eves for the whole lap, finishing it 0.058s off the lead. He then droppe back in behind Eves, before launching another attack on lap 61 as he trailed by an even smaller 0.034s. Again nothing came of it, and the gap was back up to a second by lap 66.

Eves then managed his pace to the chequered flag, while Turn 3’s Lochie Hughes and Danny Dyszelski began to close in on Denmark. Hughes had been third throughout the race, while Dyszelski had initially battled Clark then passed the debuting Bryce Aron for fourth on lap 38. They ran out of time to truly challenge Denmark for position.

Clark ended up finishing sixth as BN Racing’s Ricardo Escotto slowed on track then pitted later in the race and fell seven laps down, with his team-mate Nicolas Baptiste the best placed of the lapped drivers in seventh.

Johnson’s crash and the results of his rivals means 24 points now covers the top four in the standings.

Race result (90 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 36m07.623s
2 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing +0.647s
3 Lochie Hughes Turn 3 Motorsport +1.165s
4 Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport +1.822s
5 Bryce Aron TJ Speed +7.500s
6 Mac Clark DEForce Racing +18.127s
7 Nicolas Baptiste BN Racing +1 lap
8 Frankie Mossman JHDD +1 lap
9 Liam Sceats TJ Speed +1 lap
10 Jorge Garciarce DEForce Racing +1 lap
11 Christian Brooks Pabst Racing +1 lap
12 Nicholas Monteiro DEForce Racing +1 lap
13 Tyke Durst Turn 3 Motorsport +2 laps
14 Ricardo Escotto BN Racing +7 laps
Ret Simon Sikes Pabst Racing
Ret Ethan Ho Turn 3 Motorsport
Ret Nikita Johnson VRD
Ret Francesco Pizzi TJ Speed
Fastest lap: Eves, 19.752s

Championship standings
1 Johnson 178   2 Hughes 177   3 Denmark 161   4 Sceats 154   5 Yeany 148   6 Brooks 139   7 Eves 129   8 Sikes 123   9 Baptiste 118   10 Dyszelski 113