Petri Suvanto (LEFT) capped off his sensational North American racing debut season by capturing the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda title with a second place in the first of two races on the streets of Baltimore. The 18-year-old from Nurmo, Finland entered the weekend with a commanding 39-point advantage and was able to secure the crown with a second-place finish in Race 1 on the brand-new street circuit in Baltimore, Md. His efforts will be rewarded with a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Star Mazda Championship in 2012.
Suvanto's season to date has included five race wins, four second-place finishes and one third aboard Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 3 Viseko Van Diemen-Mazda. He has only failed to finish on the podium once in 11 races held to date.
“We were able to get what we came here for – the championship,” said Suvanto. “Maybe it wasn't the way we wanted, but the championship is the most important thing. Today, I was a bit conservative to try to play it safe for the championship and the points. So overall, I am really happy and this was an emotional day for me and my family as well. I would say this was one of the best event atmospheres of the year. It was pretty special to win [the championship] on these streets.
“Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing has been amazing, and they were the key for this to happen. We have another race tomorrow which I am really looking forward to because this track is amazing. USF2000 has done a fantastic job this year to put together this championship at such a professional level. I have to thank everyone with USF2000 and [series promoter] Dan Andersen, Mazda and Cooper Tires.”
Spencer Pigot, the only driver with a mathematical chance of beating Suvanto, finished 11th in the No. 8 Team MAZDASPEED/Skip Barber entry with Andretti Autosport. The 17-year-old from Windermere, Fla., who set the fastest race lap, finished two laps down after an opening-lap incident which collected several cars. A two-time race winner this year, he remains second in the championship.
Wayne Boyd, 20, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, claimed victory in the 15-lap race, his second of the season, aboard the No. 4 TheAppBuilder.com/Belardi Auto Racing machine. Boyd, who was fourth in the standings entering the weekend, has inched past Zach Veach of Andretti Autosport and now sits in third with a five-point advantage.
“It was a really good race between me and Petri,” said Boyd. “It was a tough race but a very good job by everyone who organized this event. I want to thank Belardi Auto Racing. They did an awesome job. We only did five laps yesterday and to have the car as good as it was in the race, I can't thank them enough. I also want to thank TheAppBuilder.com for their support.”
Canadian talent Matthew Di Leo with MDL Racing finished third to score his first podium of the year. The 16-year-old from Innisfil, Ontario, Canada has been ultra consistent this season in the Res Precast entry and picked up valuable points in a three-way battle for fifth in the championship. He now has a 28-point advantage over Juan Piedrahita of JDC MotorSports and 29 points over Timmy Megenbier of Sick Tea Racing.
Joe Colasacco of Auriana Racing continued his strong form to claim victory in the National Class. The Italian-born, Greenwich, Conn.-based driver has swept the three USF2000 events he has contested to date with wins at Mid-Ohio in August.