Thompson Win Strengthens USF2000 Points Lead
The status quo was restored during this morning’s Allied Building Products USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto as Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing returned to prominence.
This time it was Canadian rising star Parker Thompson who had the edge, scoring a narrow victory over Australian teammate Anthony Martin.
Yesterday’s winner, Victor Franzoni, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, maintained his recent strong run of success for ArmsUp Motorsports by claiming his six podium finish from the last seven races.
Martin started from the pole for the second successive day on the demanding Exhibition Place street circuit and managed to retain his position at the start despite intense pain from a wrist injury which stemmed from an incident on Friday and was aggravated when he crashed out of yesterday’s race while running in second place. This morning’s race, run in perfect weather conditions, was neutralized almost immediately due to an incident in Turn One, but not before Franzoni had found himself shuffled back to fourth at the first corner behind Thompson and Jordan Lloyd (Pabst Racing).
Buoyed by the enthusiasm of a large band of supporters, including many fellow Canadians, Thompson was on a mission at the restart. He took advantage of a slightly slower exit from Turn One by race leader Martin, then drafted to the outside prior to the braking area for Turn Three before cutting across to take the lead. It was a perfectly clean maneuver and exactly what he wanted if he was to extend his championship lead.
Martin kept the pressure on throughout the 30-minute race, never much more than a few car lengths behind. The pair traded fastest laps numerous times before Martin elected to hang back just a little in the closing stages in order to ensure himself a clear opportunity to gain what could be a crucial bonus point. The Australian seemed to have achieved his aim, setting a new benchmark in three of the final six laps, only to be eclipsed by countryman Lloyd just one lap from the finish.
Franzoni kept in touch with the leaders for most of the race until slipping away in the closing stages. Instead he came under increasing pressure from Afterburner Autosport’s Dakota Dickerson, from San Diego, Calif., who continued his recent progress with a season-best fourth-place finish.
Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., enjoyed another impressive drive for Team Pelfrey, rising from 12th on the grid to fifth to secure the Tilton Hard Charger Award for the second successive day.
Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin finished sixth for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, followed by Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing), Lloyd, who recovered to eighth after spinning out of third place on Lap 9, and Michai Stephens, from Evanston, Ill., who produced his best run of the season to date for RJB Motorsports to finish ninth and take home the Staubli Award.
The PFC Award, for the winning car owner, was claimed by brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape for the eighth time this season, while Eric Filgueiras (Spencer Racing) took the National Class win.
The championship battle now sees Thompson holding a 20-point advantage with five races remaining in this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, which moves next to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for what promises to be a critical triple-header in two weeks’ time, July 29-31.
Parker Thompson (Weyburn Energy-Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing): “Every race that I’ve won this year, I had enough of a lead that I could enjoy coming to the checkered flag and winning the race. This race, I had Anthony all over me plus lapped traffic so I was pushing as hard as I could. I had a few big moments on the final lap, so crossing the line was such a relief. And I have to say, the grandstands were pretty full and everyone was cheering – that felt great. I really enjoyed the cool down lap, being able to take in the fact that I’d won in Toronto. I have a lead again in the championship but I know how quickly that can change. I went into the last race weekend with a 26-point lead and came out tied, so I know how fast points can come and go. We have five races left so there’s a long way to go. I have to push hard and go for wins and that helps the championship.”