Only two race weekends remain in the inaugural USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires season, beginning this weekend with a visit to the historic and scenic 4.014-mile Road America venue just outside Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The Fleet Farm Grand Prix of Road America will comprise one race on Saturday, July 30, and two more on Sunday, leaving only one more triple-header event at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, in mid-September to determine the outcome of a scholarship valued at over $220,000 to ensure graduation into the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship for 2023.
Mac Clark, 18, has been the man to beat this season. He set the ball rolling in imperious style in April by dominating the opening two races aboard his DEForce Racing Ligier at the daunting new Ozarks International Raceway and remained unbeaten through the following pair of races at Barber Motorsports Park.
Clark has encountered much stiffer opposition during subsequent events at Virginia International Raceway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but a victory in the most recent race, his fifth of the campaign, leaves him with a handy 47-point advantage heading into the final six races.
A trio of former karting stars from the VRD Racing camp have emerged as the closest challengers to Clark’s dominance. Alessandro De Tullio is the eldest of the three at 16 years of age. De Tullio was unable to start one of the races at Barber due to a mechanical issue but he bounced back impressively to sweep the weekend at VIR, despite being relegated to last position in one of the three races. He added a fourth win at Mid-Ohio earlier this month.
De Tullio’s two 14-year-old teammates Sam Corry and Nikita Johnson also have been impressive. After finishing six of his first seven races among the top four, Corry scored a breakthrough victory at Mid-Ohio. Johnson, with five podium finishes and a pair of fastest race laps to his name, looks to add his name to the victory roster this weekend.
Andre Castro has laid claim to the title of ‘best of the rest’ and currently lies fifth in the point standings with the brand-new Florida-based International Motorsport organization. Teammate Alan Isambard has made good progress this season, while Giorgio Carrara impressed on his debut at Mid-Ohio by earning a trio of top-five finishes. Fellow South American Maite Caceres will make her debut this weekend aboard a fourth International Motorsport entry.
Additional challengers will include the Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport pair of Jeremy Fairbairn and Titus Sherlock, along with Ethan Ho (DC Autosport w/Cape Motorsports) and Elliot Cox (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development).
Three 40-minute test sessions on Friday, July 29, will provide additional track time for the aspiring young professionals prior to 30 minutes of official practice at 8:45 a.m. CDT on Saturday. A crucial half-hour qualifying session at 10:55 a.m. will determine the starting positions for the opening race on Saturday afternoon at 3:25 p.m., then two more on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 2:05 p.m.