Spencer Pigot was a dominant winner of Saturday afternoon's fourth round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest Championship at Palm Beach International Raceway. Pigot, 18, from Orlando, Fla., qualified Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 2 Team Pelfrey/E-merging Technologies/Parathyroid.com/California Scents/Mazda/Cooper Tires Van Diemen-Mazda comfortably on the pole and was never seriously challenged during the 21-lap race.
Pigot's eventual winning margin was a commanding 12.263 seconds.
“That was a good race. I had the pole and was pretty much unpressured throughout. I was able to hit my marks and the car was really good the entire race. I have to give it up to my guys at Cape for giving me a car that didn't fall off like we were expecting with tire wear, and I am excited about tomorrow. I like the track. It is really difficult for tire management because of the long, sweeping corners and the abrasive track surface. There are a lot of things you have to manage to make the car last the race, and this is a really good track to work on your feedback with the team.”
The main interest in the race centered on a thrilling battle for second place. Scott Hargrove, from Surrey, B.C., Canada, started his JDC Motorsports No. 38 Analytic Systems/Race Energy/Skip Barber Racing School/Red Line Oil car on the outside of the front row but lost out to Trent Hindman (No. 3 Premier Woodcraft/Zydro+/DFL Construction/RaceLite Protection/Skip Barber Racing School/Sparco/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), who had started fifth, on Lap 2. Hargrove also lost a place to JDC teammate Neil Alberico (No. 19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/Red Line Oil) on Lap 3.
The four leaders – Pigot, Hindman, Alberico and Hargrove – were each separated by a few seconds as the race approached its halfway stage, with Sebring winner Matthew Brabham (No. 83 DTE Group/Ace Kangan Institute/Repco/Aviation Components/Australia Wide) slowly beginning to close in after qualifying ninth in the third Cape Motorsports entry.
By lap 16, Pigot was long gone in the lead but the battle for second place was heating up dramatically. Hargrove drafted past Alberico to reclaim third place on lap 18, then increased the pressure on Hindman, who just held onto second at the finish. Alberico looked set for fourth until being caught out by a slower car on the final lap and losing out to the charging Brabham.
Thomas McGregor (No. 7 Dairy Queen/Exclusive Management) also drove a strong race, rising from 10th on the grid to finish sixth ahead of Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock in the No. 8 Starstruck entry.
James Dayson, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, took the National Class spoils after overcoming a series of mechanical dramas which plagued the No. 12 Dayson Racing Van Diemen in the opening rounds at Sebring earlier last week.
Pigot currently holds an 18-point margin over Brabham in the chase for the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship, with Hindman a further 10 points adrift. The six-race mini-series will conclude tomorrow with two more races. The green flag for Round Five will fly at 10:40 am ET and Round Six will start at 3:00 p.m.