Kiko Porto finished first and second in the season-ending USF2000 races on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The opening began with a scary crash, with Yuven Sundaramoorthy being caught out under braking on the run to Turn 1 and mounting the rear of Christian Brooks and then new champion Christian Rasmussen.
Most of the field were caught up in the crash, with Rasmussen’s Jay Howard Driver Development team-mate Wyatt Brichacek being spun around too.
The pace car was out for three laps, with poleman Cameron Shields leading DEForce Racing team-mate Porto on the restart.
Sheilds slowly edged away in the race’s first half, but as he crossed the line to start lap 11 of 20 his car slowed with a mechanical problem.
He dropped several spots straight away, and fell further down the order before retiring in the pits.
Porto, who missed the previous round at New Jersey Motorsports Park, inherited the lead ahead of close friend Eduardo Barrichello and spent the rest of the race soaking up a lot of pressure from his fellow Brazilian to take his first series win.
In the last few laps Cape Motorsports’ Reece Gold made it a three-way lead fight, but with Porto defending the final corner and the first he could ensure there was no overtaking at the front.
Josh Green beat Michael d’Orlando in an all-Cape battle for fifth, with Jack William Miller taking sixth and Barrichello’s Pabst team-mate Matt Round-Garrido in seventh after pressuring Legacy Autosport’s Simon Sikes for much of the race.
Brooks claimed pole for race two with a new track record, and made his way to Turn 1 in the lead. Porto lost second place to Barrichello, but reclaimed the position at Turn 4.
For the first half of the race there wasn’t too much pressure from Porto on the leader, but another mechanical issue for Shields required a full course yellow and brought Porto closer to Brooks.
Porto was faster at the final corner, but Brooks took the inside line for Turn 1 each time and held off Porto for the duration. Barrichello was third, with d’Orlando claiming fourth after some agressive first lap moves.
Gold faded from fifth to ninth, finishing behind Rasmussen, Round-Garrido, Miller and Exclusive Autosport’s Prescott Campbell and denying himself the chance to beat Barrichello to second in the points.
Race 1 (20 laps)
1 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 27m32.7899s
2 Eduardo Barrichello Pabst Racing +0.4933s
3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports +0.9149s
4 Josh Green Cape Motorsports +4.9596s
5 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports +5.4106s
6 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports +6.3099s
7 Matt Round-Garrido Pabst Racing +12.6815s
8 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport +15.8646s
9 Kyle Dupell Cape Motorsports +19.9508s
10 Christian Bogle JHDD +24.0468s
Pole: Cameron Sheilds, 1m12.6317s
Fastest lap: Gold, 1m12.3715s
Race 2 (20 laps)
1 Christian Brooks Exclusive Autosport 28m23.2646s
2 Porto +3.3055s
3 Barrichello +4.3753s
4 d’Orlando +5.4972s
5 Christian Rasmussen JHDD +5.7010s
6 Round-Garrido +6.8908s
7 Miller +8.9005s
8 Prescott Campbell Exclusive Autosport +9.9167s
9 Gold +10.2072s
10 Wyatt Brichacek JHDD +10.5462s
P: Brooks, 1m11.9662s
FL: Porto, 1m12.2279s
1 Rasmussen 394 2 Barrichello 353 3 Gold 341 4 d’Orlando 295 5 Brooks 284 6 Green 245 7 Round-Garrido 228 8 Miller 215 9 Shields 214 10 Porto 198