Home News Johnson takes USFP2000 pole at Mid-Ohio as Eves’ season ends

Johnson takes USFP2000 pole at Mid-Ohio as Eves’ season ends

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Velocity Racing Development’s Nikita Johnson took his fifth USF Pro 2000 pole of the season in qualifying at Mid-Ohio.

Johnson began Friday by topping practice, setting a 1m18.8218s to go fastest by 0.2013 seconds over Pabst Racing’s Christian Brooks who is also racing in Indy Nxt this weekend. His team-mate Jace Denmark was 0.078s behind him in third place, then just 0.0568s split TJ Speed’s Liam Sceats in fourth and Exclusive Autosport’s Braden Eves in seventh.

Eves, who is currently seventh in the standings and won the season’s only oval race at Indianapolis Raceway Park, is set to be making his final outing of the year this weekend due to budget constraints. He plans to return to the grid in 2025.

The 25-year-old debuted in 2020, winning from pole in just his third race but only lasting half the season and coming 11th in the standings. He got to do a full-time campaign in 2021, and won two of the first three races. One win and six other podiums followed in the remaining 15 races, and he was championship runner-up.

A team switch from Exclusive to Jay Howard Driver Development in 2022 did not take him to the title, instead resulting in him coming fifth in the standings. Eves then spent 2023 on the sidelines before a fourth crack at USFP2000 this year.

Qualifying was more closely contested than practice, and laptimes were only slightly faster. Johnson set a 1m18.5055s to take pole by 0.1236s, with Denmark his closest rival. Brooks was also within 0.2s of pole, and Simon Sikes made it three Pabst drivers in the top four.

Eves was fifth, 0.4851s off pole, and Turn 3 Motorsport’s Lochie Hughes was sixth. Only three other drivers were within a second of Johnson, including BN Racing’s Alessandro de Tullio who qualified ninth for his debut race.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nikita Johnson Velocity Racing Development 1m18.5055s 15
2 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m18.6291s +0.1236s 15
3 Christian Brooks Pabst Racing 1m18.6741s +0.1686s 13
4 Simon Sikes Pabst Racing 1m18.8766s +0.3711s 15
5 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1m18.9906s +0.4851s 14
6 Lochie Hughes Turn 3 Motorsport 1m19.0620s +0.5565s 15
7 Frankie Mossman JHDD 1m19.3491s +0.8436s 15
8 Mac Clark DEForce Racing 1m19.4101s +0.9046s 14
9 Alessandro de Tullio BN Racing 1m19.4596s +0.9541s 15
10 Ricardo Escotto BN Racing 1m19.5367s +1.0312s 14
11 Nicholas Monteiro DEForce Racing 1m19.6028s +1.0973s 14
12 Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport 1m19.6109s +1.1054s 14
13 Liam Sceats TJ Speed 1m19.6194s +1.1139s 13
14 Jorge Garciarce DEForce Racing 1m19.6382s +1.1327s 14
15 Tyke Durst Turn 3 Motorsport 1m19.7265s +1.2210s 14
16 Ethan Ho Turn 3 Motorsport 1m19.7932s +1.2877s 14
17 Nicolas Baptiste BN Racing 1m20.0753s +1.5698s 14
18 Nico Christodoulou Velocity Racing Development 1m20.3889s +1.8834s 14
19 Logan Adams Comet/NCMP Racing 1m20.4675s +1.9620s 14
20 Cooper Becklin TJ Speed 1m21.1252s +2.6197s 14