Home News Nepveu gets last-gasp maiden USF2000 pole in St. Petersburg

Nepveu gets last-gasp maiden USF2000 pole in St. Petersburg

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

DEForce Racing’s Thomas Nepveu will start the USF2000 season opener in St. Petersburg from pole after posting a rapid last-second lap in qualifying.

Last year’s title runner-up Michael d’Orlando looked set for pole through much of qualifying, with the Cape Motorsports driver sitting at the top of the times by a few tenths of a second at the halfway point of the session.

Pabst Racing’s free practice pacesetter Jace Denmark was closest to his pace at that point, and closed in to just over a tenth of a second behind as qualifying went into its final 10 minutes.

Nobody improved immediately after, and it wasn’t until the drivers returned to track in the final minutes on fresher tyres did d’Orlando finally get dethrowned.

Denmark posted a 1m12.7399s lap with two minutes remaining on the clock, and his team-mate Myles Rowe tucked in behind with a lap just 0.0370s slower.

The pair remained on the front row as drivers completed their next laps, but DEForce mastered its strategy for its drivers’ final efforts and Nepveu moved into pole position in the final seconds by a tiny 0.0084s as Denmark improved on his penultimate lap.

Nepveu’s team-mate Bijoy Garg slotted into third, just 0.0281s off pole, and Rowe was shuffled down to fourth but still within half a tenth of taking pole.

Jagger Jones ended up as the fastest Cape driver in fifth, and Exclusive Autosport’s Billy Frazer improved at the end to complete a top six spread by an incredible 0.0977s.

D’Orlando was demoted to seventh, ahead of Simon Sikes, Trey Burke and Spike Kohlbecker.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Thomas Nepveu DEForce Racing 1m12.7274s 14
2 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m12.7358s +0.0084s 15
3 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing 1m12.7555s +0.0281s 14
4 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing 1m12.7769s +0.0495s 14
5 Jagger Jones Cape Motorsports 1m12.7800s +0.0526s 14
6 Billy Frazer Exclusive Autosport 1m12.8251s +0.0977s 14
7 Michael d’Orlando Cape Motorsports 1m12.8280s +0.1006s 7
8 Simon Sikes Legacy Autosport 1m12.8398s +0.1124s 14
9 Trey Burke Joe Dooling Autosports 1m13.0199s +0.2925s 16
10 Spike Kohlbecker Turn 3 w/ Ignite Autosport 1m13.0689s +0.3415s 14
11 Dylan Christie DEForce Racing 1m13.0941s +0.3667s 14
12 Christian Weir Turn 3 Motorsport 1m13.1541s +0.4267s 5
13 Jacob Douglas Exclusive Autosport 1m13.3963s +0.6689s 15
14 Jackson Lee Cape Motorsports 1m13.3989s +0.6715s 13
15 Frederik Lund JHDD 1m13.5767s +0.8493s 15
16 Nicky Hays Cape Motorsports 1m13.6986s +0.9712s 6
17 Jorge Garciarce JHDD 1m13.8006s +1.0732s 15
18 Yeoroo Lee JHDD 1m13.8818s +1.1544s 14
19 Viktor Andersson Velocity Racing Development 1m13.9023s +1.1749s 15