Myles Rowe was picture perfect Saturday afternoon as the Atlanta native romped to his fifth Cooper Tires USF2000 win of the year. Rowe extended his championship points lead with his seventh consecutive podium finish and brings his Pabst Racing team another step closer to its first driver’s title in the championship. Crossing the finish line with a comfortable lead of 5.7s, Rowe had little pressure in an all-green flag race on the 1.786-mile circuit.
Teammate Jace Denmark finished second to notch his seventh podium of the season with Jagger Jones of Cape Motorsports, a winner earlier in the season at Barber Motorsports Park, in third for race one of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto.
Rowe claimed his third Cooper Tires Pole Award of the year Friday, but was subsequently issued a post-qualifying penalty of two grid spots for missing the entrance to pit lane and completing an additional lap after the checkered flag fell. That handed the prime starting spot to Denmark with Jones also moving up to slot in second.
Both Denmark and Jones held pace until lap 3 when Rowe found his way to the front. He held off a brief challenge from Denmark but by lap 5 had managed a gap of over a second, which continued to grow as he settled in comfortably.
“The weekend is going really well right now,” Rowe said. “We’ve had good pace all weekend. We qualified first but unfortunately got a penalty for missing the pit lane but we made a good recovery. It’s awesome for the whole team to come back and recover to get the win. We qualified third for tomorrow’s race so the job is not done, but it’s a good start to this great weekend.”
Michael d’Orlando of Cape Motorsports, who entered the weekend fresh off his third win of the season two weeks ago, finished fourth after a move on Jacob Douglas of Exclusive Autosport on the opening tour. The biggest mover of the race, however, was his brother, Nicholas d’Orlando, with a gain of three positions to finish ninth and claim the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
With a full bonus points haul for pole, laps led and fastest race lap and another PFC Award for team owner Augie Pabst, Rowe now holds a 26-point lead over d’Orlando.
Following a second qualifying session this morning, Denmark will start on pole for race two of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto at 9:45 am EDT tomorrow, followed by Jones, Rowe, d’Orlando and Billy Frazer of Exclusive Autosport.