Round seven, eight and nine wrapped up at the USF2000 Indy Grand Prix over the weekend with three fantastic races.
It was a great weekend for the Brazilian racer Eduardo Barrichello who took two wins home on the weekend. He was one of the fastest guys on the track all weekend. Although Kiko Porto secured his second Cooper Tires Pole Award, edging fellow Barrichello by just 0.0390 of a second.
But in the end, Barrichello was the one with two first place finishes. He put together a couple of really great laps that also included him securing the pole position in the final race of the weekend. He extended a gap between him and Jack William Miller to over 1.7 seconds by the halfway point of the 15-race lap.
“I’m really happy about this week, it was almost perfect – two wins out of three races and top-five in the third race,” he said. ”The Pabst crew did an amazing job with the car, and thanks to my dad and Tony Kanaan for supporting me. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. We’re closer in the championship but I’m here to win races, and if we keep doing that, we’ll keep getting closer.”
Barrichello has been on quite the hot streak, he has gained 112 points over his last five races. The standings still have him in third place, staying 57 points behind Christian Rasmussen.
“I feel as though there’s a connection between me and the track. I really love this track, so when Rasmussen started winning all those races, I thought this might be my last hope. My dad won here in F1 and raced here in INDYCAR and it suits me, though I don’t know why – but we’ve done pretty well here.”
The other big winner of the weekend was the Florida teenager Reece Gold who earned his maiden victory through Cape Motorsports. Gold was able to secure the win after Miller made a major blunder when he slid off the road in Turn One while holding a tenuous lead.
“It means a lot to be on the podium here, but it’s a bit of salt on the wound not to get the win, given how strong we were today and yesterday,” Miller said.
Gold’s first win helps him immensely in the standings leaving him just 50 points short of Rasmussen and seven points better than Barrichello. He has 131 points in his last five races which is more than any other racer in the USF2000.
“This is awesome,” Gold said. “It feels so good to get the win after so many seconds and thirds! I was happy to make it through the first lap: this is the kind of track where you have to gain spots and get away from the mess, because with the draft, things happen. Thankfully, we got a great start and just focused forward. Halfway through the race, I didn’t think we could get there, but something happened mid-race and we started to reel Jack in. From there, I was able to take advantage of the chance to grab the lead. I’m really happy to finally get the win.”
Although he didn’t pick up a win on the weekend, Christian Brooks had a brilliant weekend for himself on the weekend. He claimed his best result of the season thus far following a race-long scrap with Rasmussen and, later, Porto, who repassed Gold on the fifth lap and moved up to fourth on Lap 13 following a textbook pass on Rasmussen at Turn 12.
Brooks finished off an excellent weekend by inheriting second place. It was Miller who crossed the finish line in third, he was relegated to fourth, behind Porto, by the stewards for an unsafe return to the race track in Turn Two following his excursion through the gravel trap.
“I got hit from behind on the start of the first race and that put me back, so I knew I had to go immediately,” Brooks said. “I worked my way back up on the first few laps, getting Rasmussen on the outside going into Turn One. That was definitely a confidence booster! In the second race, I was chasing down Gold and Miller until that late incident. We started P7 and to get up to second, we’re steadily getting there. We have a race car that can contend up front, so first and foremost, thanks to Exclusive Autosport – the progress we’ve made over the past weeks and even over the past day.”
Racers are back in action next weekend for another triple-header event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio in conjunction with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – an event which was postponed from earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.