Home News Johnson grows USF Pro 2000 lead with fourth victory of 2024

Johnson grows USF Pro 2000 lead with fourth victory of 2024

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Nikita Johnson grew his USF Pro 2000 points lead at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his fourth win from the first six races of the season.

The USFP2000 field took to the iconic venue’s road course layout, and Johnson qualified on pole for the 25-lap race ahead of Liam Sceats, Braden Eves, Mac Clark, Lochie Hughes and Hunter Yeany on the first three rows.

Sceats challenged Johnson at the start, with Eves trying to make it three-wide. There was not enough room at turn one and he went off, as Sceats took the lead despite then getting loose exiting turn two.

The opening lap finished with Sceats leading Johnson and Yeany, and the top two went side-by-side all the way down the pit straight. A lock-up for Sceats helped Johnson sweep around the outside of him at turn one to reclaim first place, then at turn eight Clark and Yeany made contact in the battle for third and it eliminated the former and sent the latter to the back.

Johnson held a lead of around 0.7s over Sceats until lap seven, when a caution period began due to Frankie Mossman stopping on track after previously running in fourth place. The restart did not take place until lap 12 of 25, with Nicolas Baptiste ahead of Logan Adams and Ricardo Escotto. Hounding the leader was Hughes, who had passed Sceats before racing was neutralised, while race control sent Jace Denmark down from seventh to 17th for having been at fault for a collision that ended Eves’ race.

It took two laps for Johnson to pull 2.49 seconds clear, and thereon he managed his pace to win by 4.0668s. Sceats went side-by-side with Hughes on lap 12 and 14, and the latter attempt led to a successful pass and Escotto also getting past Hughes a few corners later.

Hughes fought back on lap 16, but by the time he got back ahead of Escotto there was already a big gap to Sceats so he had to settle for third.

Yeany was already up to 12th by the time of the caution period, and climbed to seventh on the restart lap. He passed Logan Adams for sixth on lap 14, and late in the race cleared Baptiste to recover to an impressive fifth.

Despite having a lap five off that dropped him to 12th, Simon Sikes was able to finish just behind Baptiste in seventh. Christian Brooks made his own recovery to eighth, gapping Adam Fitzgerald and Jorge Garciarce late on. Adams had been in eighth before going off with two laps to go.

Race result (25 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Nikita Johnson VRD 38m21.4546s
2 Liam Sceats TJ Speed +4.0668s
3 Lochie Hughes Turn 3 Motorsport +7.9214s
4 Ricardo Escotto BN Racing +11.4461s
5 Hunter Yeany TJ Speed +13.4478s
6 Nicolas Baptiste BN Racing +14.3210s
7 Simon Sikes Pabst Racing +14.6413s
8 Christian Brooks Pabst Racing +21.6504s
9 Adam Fitzgerald Turn 3 Motorsport +27.3741s
10 Jorge Garciarce DEForce Racing +27.5106s
11 Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport +28.8730s
12 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing +35.3399s
13 Nicholas Monteiro DEForce Racing +37.0424s
14 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing! +1m05.1843s
15 Arturo Flores BN Racing +1m05.2519s
Ret Logan Adams Comet/NCMP Racing
Ret Tyke Durst Turn 3 Motorsport
Ret Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport
Ret Frankie Mossman JHDD
Ret Ethan Ho Turn 3 Motorsport
Ret Mac Clark DEForce Racing
Fastest lap: Johnson, 1m23.1428s

Championship standings
1 Johnson 175   2 Yeany 119   3 Hughes 97   4 Brooks 93   5 Sceats 88   6 Denmark 86   7 Clark 81   8 Sikes 77   9 Escotto 72   10 Baptiste 71