One day after celebrating his 18th birthday with an emphatic victory at Portland International Raceway, Reece Gold emerged victorious once again in this afternoon’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season finale. Gold led throughout the 30-lap Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Portland for Juncos Hollinger Racing to secure second place in the championship standings.
Last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship winner Kiko Porto improved one position from yesterday with a strong runner-up finish at the wheel of his DEForce Racing Tatuus PM-22. Teammate Nolan Siegel rounded out the podium in third.
Gold once again started from the inside of the front row of the grid and never looked back. Newly crowned champion Louis Foster (Exclusive Autosport) made a bid to round out his remarkably successful rookie season in North America with a bold pass into the Festival Curves chicane on the opening lap but was unable to make it stick. Instead, he was obliged to take to the escape road and dropped almost to the back of the field.
Gold completed the opening lap with a margin of 1.1s over Porto, who in turn was chased by Siegel, Enaam Ahmed (Juncos Hollinger Racing) and Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports).
The leading positions remained unchanged as Gold inched gradually away from his pursuers. The gap grew to as much as 3.7s before Gold eased his pace just a little once he knew the victory, his fourth of the season, was assured.
“Turn One is always a little chaotic but we were able to make it out clean,” Gold said after his triumphant weekend. “Thank you to everyone at Juncos for giving me a great car and The Ticket Clinic. It was a great way to end the season and I am really looking forward to next year.”
Siegel took up chase in third place, though was never able to shake off the attentions of Ahmed.
Miller finished a lonely fifth, well clear of the recovering Foster, who posted the fastest lap of the race during a startling recovery drive which culminated in overcoming defense from Mexico’s Salvador De Alba (Jay Howard Driver Development) on the final lap.
Jordan Missig (Pabst Racing) earned his second Tilton Hard Charger Award in as many days – and third of the season – after rising from 13th on the grid to ninth.
After wrapping up the Team Championship yesterday, Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger secured their fourth PFC Award of the season as the winning car owners.
Today’s race wound up the on-track activities for this season’s Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. Tomorrow, however, more than $1.2 million in scholarships and awards will be distributed at the traditional championship celebration, while preparations for the 2023 season will get under way with the Road to Indy Fall Combine open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 22-23.