Spencer Pigot continued where he left off yesterday afternoon by dominating Saturday morning's 14th and final round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. The 18-year-old from Orlando, Fla., took an instant affinity to the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway road course, posting the fastest lap in every session aboard his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Van Diemen-Mazda, qualifying on the pole for both the weekend's rounds and never being headed for a single inch in the pair of 14-lap races.
Even that wasn't enough to prevent teammate and rival Matthew Brabham from clinching the championship after a steady drive to eighth place. Brabham saw his points advantage dwindle from 41 at the beginning of the weekend to just seven in the final tally, but that was all he required to tie up the Mazda scholarship prize, worth $375,000, which will enable him to move up to the Star Mazda Championship, the next rung on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, in 2013.
“I am over the moon at how the whole year went," declared Brabham. "I didn't expect to come into the year and, within the first couple of races, to be up to the front straightaway. So, my goals changed pretty quickly and I was going for the championship for the rest of the year. Spencer [Pigot] was really quick all year. We pushed each other so much and I think we were in a class of our own the whole season and I am sure that he and I will be racing together the whole way up.
"It was definitely a good rivalry. I learned a lot and we pushed each other and learned more probably with pushing each other. The team has been great all year. We were fast everywhere. Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing was just awesome and I have to really, really thank them and my parents and everyone that I have been staying with in the U.S. as I have been gypsying around. It's been a fantastic year and I am just really, really happy.”
“It was another really good race today, nice and uneventful which is how I like it. In the end, we came up a little bit short in the championship and it's a little disappointing but overall on the year, we won over half the races so I can't be too disappointed with that," said Pigot. "The Cape Motorsports' guys were awesome all year. I have to thank everyone in the series especially Mazda for all the support they give young drivers, Cooper Tires and all the USF2000 staff.”
Pigot took off into the lead for the second day running and barely looked back, but in his wake was a fine tussle for second between Wayne Boyd (Belardi Auto Racing), Trent Hindman (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) and the pair of JDC MotorSports entries driven by Scott Hargrove and Neil Alberico.
Boyd, who finished third yesterday, looked secure in second for much of the race until his car begin to experience a worsening oversteer, causing him to ease his pace and fall into the clutches of the chasing pack. Hargrove (#38 Analytic Systems, Race Energy, Skip Barber Racing School, Red Line Oil) held third for much of the race before Hindman, who had started on the outside of the front row of the grid, found a way past with just a few laps remaining to secure his second podium finish of the season. Hargrove held on for fourth ahead of Alberico (#19 Kartel Motorsports, Bondurant School, RaceLite Protection, Red Line Oil).
Also especially noteworthy was the performance of Scott Anderson (#14 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Neuropathy Testing Center, Laser Nail Centers/Belardi Auto Racing), who started dead last due to being involved in an incident of the opening lap of yesterday's race. Anderson slipped past Shelby Blackstock (#8 Starstruck/Andretti Autosport) for sixth on the final lap. Brabham (#83 DTE Group) and Thomas McGregor (#7 Dairy Queen, Exclusive Management/Andretti Autosport) also were close behind at the finish line.
The National Class Championship also was settled in the final race of the season. RC Enerson (#10 Patriot Bank/ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing), from New Port Richie, Fla., overtook his season-ling rival, Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (#32 Palfinger, Akrene Mek Verksted/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) at the start, only to tangle with a Championship Class car later on the opening lap. Enerson was eliminated immediately, leaving Furuseth clear to take a weekend sweep, his sixth and seventh wins of the season, to claim the title by a 14-point margin over Mark Eaton (#92 Deathtolionfish.org, Valvoline/Robinson Motor Sports) who finished second today ahead of Jim Libecco (JAY Motorsports).