Pabst Racing’s Myles Rowe has now won three of the first four races of the 2023 USF Pro 2000 season after being victorious in Saturday’s race at Sebring.
Michael d’Orlando and Francesco Pizzi started ahead of Rowe on the grid, but he went down the inside of both at turn one on the opening lap to take a lead he would not give up.
He was over five seconds clear of the field on lap 10 when the pace car came out due to Lindsay Brewer spinning and getting beached on some kerbs, then escaped pressure at the restart before a second caution period began at the end of the lap due to Jordan Missig hitting trouble at turn three.
The pace car led the field until the 15th and final lap, and this time Rowe did make a mistake up front depite making a strong restart as he had a mid-corner wiggle at turn one and it enabled Lirim Zendeli to attack him into turn three. However he held on for a championship lead-extending victory.
D’Orlando lost his chance to be runner-up on lap two when he spun down the order, and Zendeli moved into second having alreay passed Pizzi for third on lap one.
Zendeli did not come under pressure for that position until the final two corners of the race, with the fight for third running race-long prior to that.
Kiko Porto went around the outside of Pizzi at the final corner on lap two to take the position, then Salvador de Alba passed both on the inside of turn one on the next lap.
Porto reclaimed third on lap five, and Pizzi tried following him past de Alba at the start of lap six but failed to do so and instead got warned for blocking Jace Denmark behind him.
Pizzi was then passed by Denmark and Reece Ushijima, and spent the rest of his time embroiled in battle with Jordan Missig while losing further places before the first caution period.
Porto and de Alba fought for third again at the restart, as Ushijima cleared Denmark for fifth before yellow flags were waved again. Denmark exited contention for third on the final lap restart after running slowly, with Pabst team-mate Missig going even slower and failing to make the finish, while Porto made a gap and almost nerfed Zendeli at the penultimate corner.
Ushijima finished fourth, and a four-wide battle on the back straight brought Jackson Lee into fifth place, sent Joel Granfors down a few spots to ninth and helped d’Orlando recover to 11th place.
Race result (15 laps)
|1||Myles Rowe||Pabst Racing||37m52.317s|
|2||Lirim Zendeli||TJ Speed||+1.007s|
|3||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||+1.045s|
|5||Jackson Lee||Turn 3 Motorsport||+4.414s|
|6||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsport||+4.663s|
|7||Francesco Pizzi||TJ Speed||+5.126s|
|8||Jonathan Browne||Turn 3 Motorsport||+5.363s|
|9||Joel Granfors||Exclusive Autosport||+5.706s|
|11||Michael d’Orlando||Turn 3 Motorsport||+6.051s|
|12||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||+6.236s|
|13||Christian Weir||TJ Speed||+6.431s|
|14||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Exclusive Autosport||+6.968s|
|15||Nicholas Monteiro||NeoTech Motorsport||+7.586s|
|16||Salvador de Alba||Exclusive Autosport||+9.874s|
|17||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||+1 lap|
|18||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||+1 lap|
|Ret||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing|
|Fastest lap: Rowe, 1m59.934s