Home News Taylor and McNeilly take USF Juniors wins at Mid-Ohio

Taylor and McNeilly take USF Juniors wins at Mid-Ohio

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Velocity Racing Development’s Max Taylor and Jay Howard Driver Development’s Liam McNeilly shared the USF Juniors wins at Mid-Ohio.

Sebastian Wheldon was fastest in practice, setting a 1m26.3308s to lead McNeilly by 0.256 seconds and Timothy Carel by 0.3033s.

McNeilly lowered the pace to 1m25.9012s in qualifying, and International Motorsport duo Ariel Elkin and Augusto Soto-Schirripa were his closest rivals. They were 0.1447s and 0.149s off pole respectively, with Wheldon only 0.1542s slower than McNeilly in fourth. DEForce Racing’s Bruno Ribeiro was also within 0.2s of pole, and Wheldon’s team-mate Taylor qualified sixth.

Race one started on a wet but drying track with a lap behind the pace car, and on lap two G3 Argyros pitted to switch to slick tyres. It was wet enough for several drivers to go off at turn three next time by, and Soto-Schirripa slid off on lap four, but after VRD’s Christian Cameron crashed into the turn seven tyre barriers on lap five and a caution period was called, everyone decided to pit.

Not all of them managed to do it at the end of that lap, and Elkin led by staying out. After he had pitted and racing resumed on lap nine it was Wheldon and Argyros at the front, with the latter making an overtake and leading until the next caution period began on lap 11 after Ribeiro had hit out Wheldon at turn nine the lap before.

Racing resumed on lap 14 with Argyros leading Soto-Shirripa, who went side-by-side with him through turn one and then had the inside line at turn two to take first place. Jack Jeffers passed Rodrigo Gonzalez for third, and Evan Cooley overtook Gonzalez later in the lap.

On the next lap Jeffers took the lead before turn two, and Taylor jumped up to third before passing Argyros at turn six for second. He took the lead at turn four on lap 16, and Cooley dropped to sixth behind Soto-Schirripa and McNeilly before another caution period that ran to the end and was caused by several drivers going off at the penultimate corner.

It secured the victory for Taylor, who had also won in USF2000 that day, and McNeilly passed Soto-Schirripa and Argyros to get third before racing was neutralised. A 30s penalty for the Wheldon clash dropped Ribeiro from sixth to 17th.

McNeilly’s second-best qualifying lap put him on race two pole, ahead of Wheldon, Ribeiro and Soto-Schirripa.

Ribeiro got into second at turn two on lap one, then several cars going off at turn five led to a caution period. All were able to rejoin bar Leandro Juncos, but racing did not resume until lap five.

The lead group battled but did not trade positions before lap nine, when three-wide moments through turns one and two shook up the order. Wheldon reclaimed second, and Soto-Schirripa dropped to eighth behind Taylor, Argyros and Ayden Ingratta.

McNeilly and Wheldon fought for the lead until a caution period began on lap 17, and on the final lap restart Wheldon attempted to go around McNeilly’s outside at turn two but instead lost out to Ribeiro and then Elkin at turn four, freeing McNeilly to pull away for victory. Soto-Schirripa gained back two spots.

Results round-up
Race 1 (20 laps)
1 Max Taylor Velocity Racing Development 38m36.2955s
2 Jack Jeffers Exclusive Autosport +1.7473s
3 Liam McNeilly JHDD +2.2293s
4 G3 Argyros JHDD +3.5526s
5 Augusto Soto-Schirripa International Motorsport +4.8155s
6 Evan Cooley Exclusive Autosport +6.3867s
7 Ariel Elkin International Motorsport +6.6497s
8 Ayden Ingratta JHDD +7.3413s
9 Timothy Carel JHDD +8.1919s
10 Diego Guiot Zanella Racing +9.7070s
Pole: McNeilly, 1m25.9012s
Fastest lap: McNeilly, 1m27.6942s

Race 2 (20 laps)
1 McNeilly 33m36.5203s
2 Bruno Ribeiro DEForce Racing +0.8110s
3 Elkin +1.8201s
4 Sebastian Wheldon Velocity Racing Development +2.0289s
5 Taylor +2.2333s
6 Soto-Schirripa +2.5028s
7 Ingratta +2.7421s
8 Brady Golan DEForce Racing +4.0123s
9 Argyros +4.0672s
10 Leonardo Escorpioni Zanella Racing +4.9168s
P: McNeilly, 1m26.0331s
FL: Wheldon, 1m26.1589s

Championship standings
1 Taylor 210   2 McNeilly 200   3 Elkin 185   4 Wheldon 184   5 Soto-Schirripa 167   6 Jeffers 157   7 Ribeiro 108   8 Argyros 106   9 Ingratta 101   10 Vergara 93