The Road to Indy’s newest series, USF Juniors, got underway at the undulating Ozarks International Raceway with several controlling performances by DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark.
The first-generation Formula 4 series is using the same Onroak cars as the United States’ national championship this year, and holding 16 races over six events.
Clark took pole for the inaugural race by over a second, with second to eighth covered by just over a further second, while at the back IGY6 Motorsports duo Jacob Bolen and Bianca Bustamante were 8s and 11s off the pace respectively.
In the race itself, 2021 US F4 runner-up Clark pulled away by 14s before the safety car appeared on the penultimate lap after Bolen hit trouble.
The neutralisation meant Clark won by 0.635s over YACademy Winter Series champion Nikita Johnson, who had qualified sixth. Johnson passed two on lap one, got by Andre Castro for third on lap four, and then hounded Velocity Racing Development team-mate and front row man Sam Corry until lap nine when the latter put a wheel in the dirt and gave the opportunity for Johnson to go around the outside a few corners later for second.
Castro finished fourth, leading a train of cars that had actually closed in on Corry before the safety car.
Formula Regional Americas race-winner Clark got to celebrate solo in race two, as he won by 8.599s.
He made a strong start but couldn’t make an early break as Jake Bonilla, Alan Isambard and Jeremy Fairbairn had an incident that ended in the barriers and led to red flags.
The race restarted behind the pace car, and there was pressure from Johnson on Clark for a few corners. After that, Clark was in control and it was reigning Road to Indy eSeries champion Alessandro de Tullio who finished second in his second car race as Johnson spun.
De Tullio was sixth for the restart, but made early progress and benefitted from Johnson’s spin. After lenghy hassling of team-mate Corry, he passed him for second on the last lap. Castro finished just behind in fourth.
Only 10 cars sat on the lead lap after the restart, and Bustamante finished 10th.
Worsening weather the next day meant Andersen Promotions cancelled race three. A replacement race will take place later in the season.
Race 1 (12 laps)
1 Mac Clark DEForce Racing 32m16.593s
2 Nikita Johnson VRD +0.635s
3 Sam Corry VRD +1.054s
4 Andre Castro International Motorsport +2.003s
5 Jeremy Fairbairn Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +2.492s
6 Alessandro de Tullio VRD +3.282s
7 Alan Isambard International Motorsport +3.892s
8 Jake Bonilla DEForce Racing +4.719s
9 Elliot Cox SFHR +5.849s
10 Noah Ping VRD +6.596s
Pole: Clark, 2m22.104s
Fastest lap: Clark, 2m22.580s
Race 2 (12 laps)
1 Clark 43m28.563s
2 de Tullio +8.599s
3 Corry +9.592s
4 Castro +10.278s
5 Titus Sherlock Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +14.099s
6 Johnson +16.845s
7 Ethan Ho DC Autosport w/ Cape +26.517s
8 Cox +27.963s
9 Earl Tucker DC Autosport w/ Cape +28.306s
10 Bianca Bustamante IGY6 Motorsports +1m32.965s
FL: Clark, 2m22.170s
1 Clark 66 2 Corry 44 3 Johnson 40 4 de Tullio 40 5 Castro 38 6 Sherlock 27 7 Fairbairn 25 8 Cox 25 9 Ho 23 10 Isambard 20