USF2000: Bold Re-Start Pass Propels Pigot to Sebring Win
Spencer Pigot made the most of a mid-race re-start pass to capture the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race two win on Friday morning (March 16) at Sebring International Raceway.
Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing made it a one-two finish with Matthew Brabham coming home second ahead of Belardi Auto Racing's Roman Lagudi, and added a National class win with rookie Henrik Furuseth taking home the honors.
Brabham, 18, who started from the pole by virtue of setting fastest lap en route to victory in the season-opener, took advantage of another fine start and some quick early laps to pull more than 3.5 seconds clear of Pigot in the opening stages. That lead evaporated in an instant, however, when the full-course caution flags waved after five laps due to two cars off-course on the 3.7-mile circuit.
On the ensuing restart, Pigot drafted to the outside of his rival on the approach to the dauntingly fast turn one, took a deep breath and used his superior momentum to edge past Brabham on the exit. Brabham remained glued to Pigot’s gearbox, but the 18 year-old from Orlando, Fla., remained out in front when the caution flags waved again shortly afterward following a major pile-up in turn seven that eliminated several cars, including the third Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing car of Trent Hindman who had driven from the back of the 35-car field to 13th in the opening stages.
“The race obviously ended up pretty well for me,” stated Pigot. “Matt [Matthew Brabham] was faster when we took the green [flag] so it was tough to keep up with him. I knew the restart was going to be my only chance to try for the win and I was able to get him on the outside of turn one. Overall, it was a good weekend from where we started off yesterday. It is great to get a win when you are not really the fastest guy out there so it’s pretty satisfying. A big thanks to Cape Motorsports, Team Pelfrey, Doug Mockett and all of my sponsors.”
“Overall, I feel absolutely fantastic about how the whole weekend went,” said Brabham. “To be leading the championship going into the next race is exactly what I wanted. It’s what every driver wants. The race was very tough at the end but it was looking pretty good at the start. I was out in front by quite a bit and was just pounding out the laps. I am disappointed how it finished, but Spencer was very, very good on the restart and managed to get me.”
Lagudi, 16, who was born in Sydney, Australia, but now lives in Las Vegas, Nev., maintained his form from Round One to run in third place throughout for Belardi Auto Racing, under pressure from the Res Precast/MDL Racing Van Diemen-Mazda of Matthew Di Leo, 17, from Innisfil, Ont.
“It was a great race. Unfortunately, the track started to go away with the setup we had and I couldn’t really battle for second or first,” commented Lagudi. “To finish second the first day and third today, I can’t complain. I am really happy.”
Neil Alberico, from Los Gatos, Calif., rose from seventh on the grid to claim fifth for JDC MotorSports after a good battle with Chicago, Ill.’s Timmy Megenbier (Afterburner Autosport) and second-row starter Thomas McGregor, from Saskatoon, Sask. (Andretti Autosport), who slipped to eighth on the opening lap, before clawing his way back to seventh ahead of Scott Anderson (Belardi Auto Racing).
One of the most impressive drives came from Luigi Biangardi (ArmsUp Motorsports). The 15 year-old from Chicago, Ill., who qualified on pole for race one, but was involved in a first-corner crash. Despite having to start race two at the back of the field, the youngster fought his way all the way through to ninth at the checkered flag.
The hotly contested National Class was won by 15 year-old Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) after a lengthy scrap with race one winner Mark Eaton (Robinson Motor Sports), from Melbourne, Fla. Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine winner Bobby Kelley led initially for ArmsUp Motorsports before spinning to the back, then recovering to fifth in class behind reigning SCCA Formula Enterprises Pro Series Champion Scott Rettich (Alliance Autosport), and recently turned 15 year-old RC Enerson (ZSports/Team E Racing), from New Port Ritchey, Fla.
“This win felt really good,” added Furuseth. “This is my first time racing in America and my second race. I had a good battle with Mark Eaton. He passed me twice and I was able to pass him back. It is a great feeling to win and I am very happy.”
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda drivers and teams now travel west to St. Petersburg, Fla., where Rounds Three and Four will be contested next weekend (March 24-25), in conjunction with IZOD IndyCar series season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The top-three will be posted following every session on the EFCN Facebook page, EFCN Twitter page, and EFCN Insider Twitter page.
Round 2 - Race Results
March 16, 2012
Sebring International Raceway - Sebring, Florida
Pos. Driver Team Diff. Fast Time
1. Spencer Pigot Cape Motorsports/Wayne Taylor Racing - 2:03.972
2. Matthew Brabham Cape Motorsports/Wayne Taylor Racing 0.640 2:03.555
3. Roman Lagudi Belardi Auto Racing 1.323 2:04.148
4. Matthew Di Leo MDL Racing 1.991 2:04.237
5. Neil Alberico JDC MotorSports 2.165 2:04.300
6. Timmy Megenbier Afterburner Autosport 2.432 2:04.690
7. Thomas McGregor Andretti Autosport 2.944 2:04.465
8. Scott Anderson Belardi Auto Racing 3.347 2:05.933
9. Luigi Biangardi ArmsUp Motorsports 3.982 2:04.640
10. Colin Thompson Belardi Auto Racing 4.852 2:05.945
11. Scott Hargrove JDC MotorSports 5.474 2:05.715
12. Zac Silver JDC MotorSports 7.111 2:05.778
13. Henrik Furuseth (N) Cape Motorsports/Wayne Taylor Racing 7.917 2:09.994
14. Mark Eaton (N) Robinson Motor Sports 8.681 2:10.409
15. Chris Miller JDC MotorSports 9.363 2:05.957
16. Scott Rettich (N) Alliance Autosport 10.652 2:11.208
17. RC Enerson (N) ZSports/Team E Racing 12.488 2:08.102
18. Heamin Choi Afterburner Autosport 13.737 2:07.827
19. Dalton Kellett Pabst Racing Services 14.415 2:07.129
20. Bobby Kelley (N) ArmsUp Motorsports 15.388 2:09.284
21. Paul Alspach (N) Robinson Motor Sports 16.111 2:11.358
22. Jim Libecco (N) JAY Motorsports 16.707 2:12.384
23. Shannon McIntosh Pabst Racing Services 17.045 2:11.729
24. Michael Geldart (N) JAY Motorsports 17.896 2:18.383
25. Eric Cruz (N) Cruzinc Racing 18.720 2:16.104
26. Luca Forgeois Belardi Auto Racing 1 Lap 2:07.182
27. Michael Johnson JDC MotorSports 1 Lap 2:11.194
28. Eric Filgueiras (N) Robinson Motor Sports 2 Laps 2:12.018
29. Collete Davis (N) One Formula Racing 2 Laps 2:16.096
30. Trent Hindman Cape Motorsports/Wayne Taylor Racing 3 Laps 2:04.443
31. Patrick Linn (N) PRL Motorsports 3 Laps 2:14.015
32. Shelby Blackstock Andretti Autosport 3 Laps 2:05.701
33. Patrick Gallagher (N) JAY Motorsports 6 Laps 2:10.494
34. Jason Wolfe JAY Motorsports 6 Laps 2:08.641
35. Isaac Lyons Genoa/Primus Racing 7 Laps 2:43.342