Home News Porto keeps USF Pro 2000 title hopes alive with Portland win

Porto keeps USF Pro 2000 title hopes alive with Portland win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

DEForce Racing’s Kiko Porto kept his USF Pro 2000 title hopes alive by winning the first race of the weekend at Portland.

The field went from 19 down to 12 cars on lap one as multiple crashes took place at the first chicane. Poleman Michael d’Orlando cut turn one and avoided the chaos behind, as well as keeping his lead, while multiple drivers spun and one even went airborne.

A caution period was called, and on lap six the race was red flagged as the clear-up was still taking place.

The race restarted on the same lap, with d’Orlando leading Porto, points leader Myles Rowe and Bijoy Garg. Nikita Johnson, who had qualified second, was one of the retirees.

D’Orlando cut turn one again on the second start, as did Lirim Zendeli in fifth place, and both were handed penalties that required them to relinquish the advantage they had gained. Zendeli dropped to the back of the pack on the next lap before heading to the pitlane, while d’Orlando stayed at the front until the lap after when he slowed down and let rivals by until he was in 11th place.

He gained back a place when contact between Salvador de Alba and Jack William Miller sent the latter off the track and then into retirement, while up front Porto inherited the lead ahead of Rowe, Garg and Jace Denmark.

Just 0.387 seconds split the top two on lap 12, but four laps later the gap was up to 1.271s. Rowe reduced it to 0.749s by lap 10, and kept that kind of margin until lap 25 when Porto pulled 1.289s clear. In the final five laps Rowe was the faster of the two again, and he finihed 0.6889s behind after 30 laps.

Garg was a distant third, 6.8546s behind, Denmark finished fourth and Louka St.-Jean finished fifth despite pressure from de Alba and Francesco Pizzi.

Rowe takes a lead of 52 points over Porto into the final two races of the season.

Race result (30 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 41m07.7512s
2 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing +0.6889s
3 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing +6.8546s
4 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing +8.6684s
5 Louka St.-Jean Turn 3 Motorsport +12.8039s
6 Salvador de Alba DEForce Racing +13.0677s
7 Francesco Pizzi TJ Speed +13.8829s
8 Jordan Missig Pabst Racing +14.7190s
9 Michael d’Orlando Turn 3 Motorsport +16.1855s
10 Avery Towns Exclusive Autosport +34.6245s
11 Lirim Zendeli TJ Speed +7 laps
Ret Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Ret Jonathan Browne Turn 3 Motorsport
Ret Nikita Johnson Velocity Racing Development
Ret Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport
Ret Ricardo Escotto JHDD
Ret Frankie Mossman JHDD
Ret Lindsay Brewer Exclusive Autosport
Ret Nicholas Monteiro TJ Speed
Fastest lap: Zendeli, 1m05.4536s

Championship standings
Rowe 358   2 Porto 306   3 de Alba 260   4 d’Orlando 237   5 Zendeli 236   6 Pizzi 232   7 Denmark 218   8 Joel Granfors 208   9 Browne 196   10 Miller 192