Home News Lochie Hughes sweeps to pole for USF Pro 2000 season opener

Lochie Hughes sweeps to pole for USF Pro 2000 season opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Turn 3 Motorsport’s Lochie Hughes swept to pole for the opening race of the USF Pro 2000 season on the streets of St. Petersburg.

Hughes sat on top of the times for most of qualifying, with his fifth lap of the session – a 1m10.5228s – putting him on top. Initially he had a big gap at the top, and going into the final 10 minutes he was 0.3209 seconds clear of team-mate Danny Dyszelski in second place and 0.3428s ahead of TJ Speed’s Liam Sceats in third.

Most drivers had gone several laps without improving, the exception being Jay Howard Driver Development’s Frankie Mossman who went eighth fastest with seven minutes to go.

He lost that position to Turn 3’s Adam Fitzgerald two minutes later, then with 200s left on the clock there was another change in the top 10 as Turn 3’s Tyke Durst jumped from 16th to seventh.

Drivers were racking up the laps but not improving, then with three minutes to go Velocity Racing Development’s Nikita Johnson climbed from 15th to second with a 1m10.7816s lap. He was shuffled down to third 10s later as Pabst Racing’s Jace Denmark went 0.0076s faster than him but still 0.2512s slower than Hughes’ long-standing benchmark.

Durst made another improvement to sixth with two minutes remaining, as Dyszelski returned to second place. Hughes still held provisional pole by 0.2228s as he too improved, setting a 1m10.4292s.

A lap later he went faster still with a 1m10.1675s laptimes, and Pabst’s Christian Brooks became his closest rival as he set a 1m10.6227s.

The fight for pole heated up even more in the last minute, as TJ Speed’s Liam Sceats went second fastest with a 1m10.5260s, Johnson set a 1m10.5687s in third and Denmark improved to 1m10.6229s in fifth. But Hughes had even more pace in hand, setting a 1m10.1613s that could not be beaten.

Two successive improvements at the very end brought Dyszelski back onto the front row alongside his team-mate, and Brooks also improved after the chequered flag to take fourth from Johnson.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lochie Hughes Turn 3 Motorsport 1m10.1613s 15
2 Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport 1m10.4792s +0.3179s 15
3 Liam Sceats TJ Speed 1m10.5260s +0.3647s 13
4 Christian Brooks Pabst Racing 1m10.5518s +0.3905s 15
5 Nikita Johnson VRD 1m10.5687s +0.4074s 14
6 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m10.6229s +0.4616s 15
7 Simon Sikes Pabst Racing 1m10.6468s +0.4855s 15
8 Ricardo Escotto BN Racing 1m10.6472s +0.4859s 14
9 Frankie Mossman JHDD 1m10.6944s +0.5331s 15
10 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1m10.7003s +0.5390s 14
11 Mac Clark DEForce Racing 1m10.7700s +0.6087s 14
12 Ethan Ho Turn 3 Motorsport 1m10.8084s +0.6471s 14
13 David Morales TJ Speed 1m10.8340s +0.6727s 13
14 Tyke Durst Turn 3 Motorsport 1m10.8823s +0.7210s 14
15 Hunter Yeany TJ Speed 1m10.8910s +0.7297s 14
16 Nicolas Baptiste BN Racing 1m10.9319s +0.7706s 14
17 Adam Fitzgerald Turn 3 Motorsport 1m11.1365s +0.9752s 14
18 Shawn Rashid VRD 1m11.3880s +1.2267s 14
19 Nicholas Monteiro DEForce Racing 1m11.5523s +1.3910s 14
20 Jorge Garciarce DEForce Racing 1m11.6644s +1.5031s 14
21 Logan Adams Comet/NCMP Racing 1m11.6743s +1.5130s 13
22 Avery Towns Exclusive Autosport 1m11.8499s +1.6886s 14