Andretti Autosport's Zach Veach dominated Round One of the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda Thursday afternoon at Sebring International Raceway. Veach placed the No. 7 Team Zakosi Data Backup Van Diemen on pole and never looked back. The 16-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, led flag to flag in the caution-free race on the challenging 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course.
Veach credited his pole run with kick-starting his effort.
“We were really pleased with qualifying P1 earlier today," Veach said. "We put in a lot of hard work and prep getting the car ready. The guys definitely put the car in the right position to give me the opportunity to get the pole. After qualifying, we looked at the data to see what we can improve on and put all of that momentum into the race. It paid off – I led every lap. It was a great way to start off 2011 season. Hopefully we can get another USF2000 championship for Andretti Autosport.
"There are a couple of things we need to do for tomorrow but it should be a good event.”
Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing's Petri Suvanto impressed in his U.S. racing debut to claim second place. Suvanto, 18, from Nurmo, Finland, was on pace from the start of opening practice and was able to pass second-place qualifier Spencer Pigot on lap 2 for the position. Pigot, 17, of Windermere, Fla., struggled from the start with a lack of grip on his No. 8 Team MAZDASPEED/Skip Barber Andretti Autosport entry.
Australian Luke Ellery, 22, with JDC MotorSports finished fourth after starting sixth in the No. 5 Melbourne IT/Luke-Ellery.com/Red Line Oil entry. Cole Morgan, 22, of Pompano Beach, Fla., rounded out the top five in Belardi Auto Racing's No. 9 Liberty Engineering/Sim-Sport Van Diemen gaining two positions in the 13-lap race.
While the battle remained heated at the front, another impressive drive occurred farther back with Stevenson Motorsports' Luca Forgeois taking the National class victory in the No. 97 Cafe Noir entry. This was the first-ever car race for 15-year-old Forgeois of New York City, a graduate of the karting ranks.
Round Two of the doubleheader in support of the 59th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will take place at 11:55 am ET tomorrow.