Weekend sweep moves Jamin into USF2000 points lead
Nico Jamin vaulted into the lead of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda following another convincing victory this morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix Circuit.
Jamin, from Rouen, France, started from the pole position, maintained his advantage at the start and then drove away from the field to secure a weekend sweep of the Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis for himself and the four-time defending champion team Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Teammate Aaron Telitz finished a lonely second, 4.866 seconds in arrears, while Australian Anthony Martin took third for Indianapolis-based John Cummiskey Racing as the best-placed rookie.
The key to Jamin's success was a potent combination of speed and consistency. He broke clear on the first lap after Telitz and erstwhile championship leader Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing) made slight contact with each other at Turn Two. Jamin, 19, then edged farther away with every circuit of the 2.439-mile road course, including a sequence of 13 laps all within a hair over one tenth of a second of each other, including the fastest lap of the race and a new USF2000 record at 1:26.4672 (101.546 mph).
Eidson's hopes evaporated when he slid a little wide at Turn One on the opening lap. A close-following Telitz immediately ducked to the inside and drove around the outside of his rival at Turn Two. Eidson's efforts to stay with Telitz resulted in slight nose-to-tail contact, but it was enough to dislodge the nosecone and send him to pit lane for repairs.
Eidson finally recovered to finish 12th, but his first non-podium finish allied to Jamin's third straight win - and fourth of the season - means that Jamin now holds an 18-point lead, 206-184, at the midway point of the 16-race season.
Martin took advantage of the incident between Eidson and Telitz to climb from sixth to third, where he remained for the duration of the 21-lap race. For the second day in succession, MAZDASPEED Scholarship winner Luke Gabin (Team Pelfrey) earned his career-best finish, this time in fourth after passing Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing) at Turn Seven on Lap 11.
Garth Rickards (Team Pelfrey) also ran among the top four before running into gearbox difficulties, while teammate Nikita Lastochkin took seventh behind Parker Thompson (JDC MotorSports), who claimed both the Tilton Hard Charger Award, advancing five positions to sixth from 11th on the starting grid, and the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award for his impressive progress on the opening lap. Other contingency awards included the PFC Award to the winning car owners, Dominic and Nicholas Cape, and the Staubli Award to Luo.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will return to action at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the Freedom 75, part of the #MRTI FreedomFest weekend during the lead-up to the 99th Indianapolis 500.