The list of leading Indy Pro 2000 contenders also includes Even Frost, who dominated the oval race in May at Lucas Oil Raceway for Michael Duncalfe’s Canadian-based Exclusive Autosport team; Lindh’s Juncos Racing teammate, Sting Ray Robb, with three podium finishes this year, anxiously seeking his first-ever victory; and Kirkwood’s Guatemalan teammate, Ian Rodriguez, who impressed by finishing second and fourth last month at Road America.
In addition to fielding a pair of cars for Phillippe Denes and Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing sponsor Surgere, an Ohio-based specialist in supply chain management, will donate $1 for every lap completed this weekend in all three Road to Indy series to the StopGap Foundation, a Toronto-based, accessibility-focused charity whose aim is to create a barrier-free world, one ramp at a time. More details at http://www.StopGap.ca.
The Indy Pro 2000 contenders will have a busy time on Friday with a 25-minute practice session at 8:45 a.m. followed by a pair of 20-minute qualifying sessions at 2:05 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Race One is set to start at 9:25 a.m. on Saturday, with the green flag for Race Two scheduled for 9:55 a.m. on Sunday.
USF2000: Eves back on the winning trail
Braden Eves has taken this year’s USF2000 championship by storm. The 20-year-old former karting star from New Albany, Ohio, dipped a toe in the water last year by contesting the season finale at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway, then hit the ground running on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in March after joining the multiple and defending championship-winning Cape Motorsports team. Eves also swept the two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road circuit in May.
His winning streak came to an end on the Lucas Oil Raceway oval, where Australian Cameron Shields scored an impressive victory for Newman Wachs Racing, and he had to give way to another first-time winner, New Zealand’s Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), in the first of two races at Road America, Wis., last month. But Eves bounced back to win the second race and now has a legitimate hope of trying to emulate – or even beat – Kirkwood’s record of 12 wins last year.
Eves holds a handy 51-point advantage over McElrea with seven of this year’s 15 races in the books.
Born in Southern California to New Zealand parents and raised in Australia, where he won a Formula Ford 1600 Championship last year – and then went on to claim the Mazda USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout – McElrea also has impressed this year with Pabst Racing. He began the year with four consecutive podium finishes and followed up a well-deserved maiden victory at Road America in Race One with his first pole in Race Two.
Pabst teammate Colin Kaminsky is still seeking his first win but his recent results, including pole positions at Lucas Oil Raceway and Road America, suggest it might be just around the corner.
Eves’ teammate, Floridian Darren Keane, has been seemingly a magnet for misfortune during the first half of the season. Nevertheless, he has confirmed his pace with a pole, three fastest race laps and a pair of second-place finishes.
After learning his craft in F4 the past two years both in England and Mexico, Manuel Sulaiman has shown good speed for DEForce Racing, finishing twice on the podium in the opening three races. The Mexican has been pushed hard since then by 14-year-old karting standout Jak Crawford, who, despite his tender years (he was too young to compete in the opening races at St. Petersburg, Fla.), also has been building his experience in the NACAM F4 series, winning four times and currently lying second in the points table to Sulaiman.
Other contenders will include Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen, who represents the driver development team run by former USF2000 and Indy Lights champion Jay Howard; Brazilian second-generation racer Eduardo Barrichello (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports); Englishman Matt Round-Garrido (BN Racing); Zach Holden, already a podium finisher this year who joins the Indianapolis-based Legacy Autosport team this weekend for the first time; and another pair of 14-year-olds, Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports) and Nolan Siegel (Newman Wachs Racing).
Friday, July 12, will include both an early morning 30-minute practice session at 8:00 a.m. and qualifying for the first of two USF2000 races later in the day at 2:40 p.m. A second qualifying session will commence at 8:05 a.m. on Saturday, followed by Race One at 11:20 a.m. The green flag for Race Two on Sunday is set for 9:00 a.m.
Both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 will feature global live streaming of all sessions on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, usf2000.com, indypro2000.com and indycar.com.