Home News Garcia gets USF2000 win after Cooley and Christodoulou’s last lap crash

Garcia gets USF2000 win after Cooley and Christodoulou’s last lap crash

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

USF2000 points leader Max Garcia won the second race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course after Evan Cooley and Nico Christodoulou crashed on the last lap.

Exclusive Autosport’s debutant Evan Cooley started on pole, ahead of Elliot Cox, Max Taylor, Thomas Schrage, Christodoulou and Garcia. There was contact on the rolling start but green flags still waved, and Jay Howard Driver Development’s Taylor moved past Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development’s Cox for second.

There was a gap of 1.78 seconds between the top two at the end of the opening lap, with Christodoulou hounding Cox having passed Schrage. There was drama behind them on lap three as Michael Costello caused a turn two crash that eliminated Joey Brienza and also hampered Tanner DeFabis.

Cox and Christodoulou passed Taylor on that lap, then Christodoulou took second place on lap four as the track went under full course yellow conditions. Nicolas Giaffone overtook Quinn Armstrong for eighth during the FCY period, which lasted until the end of lap six.

Taylor took third from Cox on the restart, and Christodoulou had the lead at turn seven after Cooley went too deep. He was 0.48 seconds clear by the end of the lap, and Cox dived down the inside of Taylor at turn one to reclaim third on lap eight.

Another FCY period was called after Thomas Schrage, who had been running sixth, ended up in the gravel and the next restart was on lap 10 of 15. Christodoulou resisted Cooley’s attack when they returned to racing speed, but two laps later Cox did successfully get back past him at turn one.

They battled again at that corner on the last lap, with Christodoulou trying to pull off a pass on the outside. Cooley locked up, his front-left hit Christodoulou’s rear-right and it sent the latter’s car airborne before the front of it then dug into the grass and flipped twice then landed upside down. Cooley continued, Christodoulou thankfully exited his car, and Garcia, Taylor and Cox drove past to fill the podium positions.

Taylor had passed Cox on the lap 10 restart, then Cox had moved back ahead at turn one on lap 11. At turn seven they went three-wide with Garcia, who passed both to take third place and then four laps later inherit the win.

Cooley finished fourth on-the-road, but a 30s post-race penalty dropped him to 15th place. Therefore Ayrton Houk and Giaffone were classified fourth and fifth, with Hudson Schwartz in sixth and Costello in seventh after he had run as low as 16th.

Armstrong was in seventh before ending his race in the pits, and Evagoras Papasavvas was 10th before puling over and retiring.

Race result (15 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Max Garcia Pabst Racing 26m18.4257s
2 Max Taylor JHDD +0.3779s
3 Elliot Cox SFHRD +0.6864s
4 Ayrton Houk DC Autosport +1.7636s
5 Nicolas Giaffone DEForce Racing +2.4163s
6 Hudson Schwartz Pabst Racing +3.1764s
7 Michael Costello JHDD +4.0620s
8 Maxwell Jamieson DEForce Racing +4.8568s
9 Sam Corry Pabst Racing +5.4540s
10 Carson Etter DC Autosport +6.3418s
11 Brady Golan DEForce Racing +7.5716s
12 G3 Argyros JHDD +8.2724s
13 Lucas Fecury DEForce Racing +9.1209s
14 Giovanni Cabrera Exclusive Autosport +10.9951s
15 Evan Cooley Exclusive Autosport +31.3391s
16 Nico Christodoulou VRD +1 lap
17 Thomas Schrage Exclusive Autosport +1 lap
Ret Xavier Kokai VRD
Ret Evagoras Papasavvas JHDD
Ret Quinn Armstrong DEForce Racing
Ret Tanner DeFabis JHDD
Ret Joey Brienza Exclusive Autosport
Fastest lap: Cooley, 1m26.7595s

Championship standings
Garcia 184   Papasavvas 144   3 Corry 140   4 Taylor 121   5 Cox 99   6 Brienza 95   7 Christodoulou 92   8 Houk 79   9 Schwartz 78   10 Armstrong 68