In a race filled with non-stop action and a constant battle for the lead, 22-year-old Luke Ellery emerged victorious at Sebring International Raceway Friday afternoon, capturing his first win in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. The young Australian's victory is also the first for the John Church-led JDC MotorSports team.
"We were three abreast four laps from the finish. What a race!" declared Ellery. "You can't get much better than that. We have 27-car fields back in Australia and the racing wasn't this good."
Continuous side-by-side racing led to anyone's guess as to who would earn podium honors and, in the end, an international lineup ensued. Andretti Autosport's Spencer Pigot mounted an impressive charge to the front to finish second. It was the second Sebring podium for the 17-year-old Floridian.
“It was a really good race today and a big improvement from yesterday. I have to thank everyone at Andretti Autosport and MAZDASPEED who helped me get back to the front," said Pigot. We didn't have the pace today but we still have a bit more to gain and I am really looking forward to St. Petersburg. To come out of here with two podiums in my first two races is great.”
Third place went to Petri Suvanto of Finland who also made a return visit to the podium. The 18-year-old driver for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing managed to pass polesitter Zach Veach at the start and lead the next six laps before being challenged by Ellery for top honors. Veach dropped back to eighth at the finish after bending his front win in a pass attempt.
Ardie Greenamyer of AcceleRace Motorsports claimed victory in the National class, capturing his eighth career USF2000 win.
The only caution of the day occurred on Lap One with contact between Sick Tea Racing's Timmy Megenbier and Vincent Beltoise of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing which sidelined both cars.
With his victory today and fourth-place finish in Round One at Sebring, Ellery holds a narrow three-point advantage in the Championship class point standings over a three-way tie for second between Suvanto, Pigot and Veach.
The USF2000 National Championship will return to racing action next week, with two rounds of competition in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series at St. Petersburg, Fla.