Spencer Pigot pulled off a magnificent around-the-outside pass of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Matthew Brabham immediately after a full-course caution to ensure victory in today's second round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Sebring International Raceway.
Brabham, 18, who started from the pole by virtue of setting fastest lap en route to victory in yesterday's season opener, took advantage of another fine start and some quick early laps to pull more than 3.5sec clear of Pigot in the opening stages. That lead evaporated in an instant, however, when the full-course caution flags waved after five laps due to two cars off-course on the 3.7-mile circuit.
At the restart, Pigot drafted to the outside of his rival on the approach to the dauntingly fast Turn 1, took a deep breath and used his superior momentum to edge past Brabham on the exit. Brabham remained glued to Pigot's gearbox, but the 18-year-old from Orlando, Fla., remained out in front when the caution flags waved again shortly afterward following a major pile-up in Turn 7 that eliminated several cars, including the third Cape Motorsports car of Trent Hindman who had driven from the back of the 35-car field to 13th in the opening stages.
“Matt [Brabham] was faster when we took the green [flag] so it was tough to keep up with him. I knew the restart was going to be my only chance to try for the win and I was able to get him on the outside of Turn 1," related Pigot. "It is great to get a win when you are not really the fastest guy out there, so it's pretty satisfying.
Roman Lagudi, 16, who was born in Sydney, Australia, but now lives in Las Vegas, Nev., maintained his form from yesterday to run in third place throughout for Belardi Auto Racing, under pressure from the Res Precast/MDL Racing Van Diemen-Mazda of Matthew Di Leo, 17, from Innisfil, Ont., Canada.
Neil Alberico, from Los Gatos, Calif., rose from seventh on the grid to claim fifth for JDC MotorSports after a good battle with Chicago, Ill.'s Timmy Megenbier (Afterburner Autosport) and second row starter Thomas McGregor, from Saskatoon, Canada (Andretti Autosport) who slipped to eighth on the opening lap before clawing his way back to seventh ahead of Scott Anderson (Belardi Auto Racing).
One of the most impressive drives came from Luigi Biangardi (ArmsUp Motorsports). The 15-year-old from Chicago, Ill., qualified on pole yesterday but made a tardy start and then was involved in a first-corner crash. Despite having to start today's race at the back of the field, the youngster fought his way all the way through to ninth at the checkered flag.
The hotly contested National Class was won by 15-year-old Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) after a lengthy scrap with yesterday's winner Mark Eaton (Robinson Motor Sports), from Melbourne, Fla.
“This win felt really good. This is my first time racing in America and my second race. I had a good battle with Mark Eaton. He passed me twice and I was able to pass him back. It is a great feeling to win and I am very happy.”
Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine winner Bobby Kelley led initially for ArmsUp Motorsports before spinning to the back, then recovering to fifth behind reigning SCCA Formula Enterprises Pro Series Champion Scott Rettich (Alliance Autosport) and recently turned 15-year-old RC Enerson (ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing), from New Port Ritchey, Fla.