Rasmussen Sweeps Mid-Ohio USF2000 Triple-Header

Thursday, Aug 06 385

Can anyone beat Christian Rasmussen? The 20-year-old Dane swept all three races that comprised the USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders over the past two days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Jay Howard Driver Development. Added to his pair of wins at Road America earlier this month, Rasmussen now has won the opening five races of the season – a feat previously unmatched since the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship was reintroduced following a four-year hiatus in 2010.

Another piece of history was made this morning as, for the first time, a pair of 15-year-olds, Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), from Miami, Fla., and Nolan Siegel (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Palo Alto, Calif., shared the podium in the opening race of the day. Gold also finished third in this afternoon’s second race behind teammate Michael d’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y.

A busy day of action for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship teams and drivers began at 8:00 a.m. with a qualifying session to set the starting grid for the first of two 20-lap races. Once again Rasmussen was in control, snagging his third Cooper Tires Pole Award of the season. Gold and Siegel started second and third.

Rasmussen was untroubled throughout the first race, leading from start to finish and barely blinking an eye even when a hard-earned advantage of 2.5 seconds was nullified after 12 laps by a full-course caution due to a single-car incident at Turn Nine.

Gold was similarly untroubled in second, taking full advantage of the fact that Siegel was far more concerned about defending his third position than challenging for second.

Rookie Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), from Santa Clarita, Calif., kept the pressure on Siegel during the early stages until he, too, began to focus his attentions on keeping determined Englishman Matt Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing) at bay. At half distance, Brooks’ increasingly defensive tactics eventually caught the eye of the race stewards, who, during the caution period, instructed Brooks to cede the position.

Rasmussen again pulled away after the restart, finally taking the checkered flags 2.2147 seconds ahead of Gold. He in turn finished well clear of Siegel, who barely kept Round-Garrido in his mirrors. Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), from Guilderland, N.Y., also was in close contention.

Another intense battle immediately behind saw Kyle Dupell, from Portland, Ore., edge out Cape Motorsports teammate Josh Green, from Mount Kisco, N.Y. for seventh. Both were chased by Australian Cameron Shields (Legacy Autosport), d’Orlando, who claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting a lowly 16th, and yesterday’s second-place finisher Eduardo Barrichello, who struggled to an 11th-place finish for Pabst Racing.

After an early stoppage to retrieve two cars that had encountered problems before the start of Race 3, Rasmussen maintained his unbeaten streak with another flag-to-flag win this afternoon to continue his perfect season and earn car owner Jay Howard his fifth straight PFC Award.

Behind, all eyes were centered on the scrap for second between teammates Gold and d’Orlando, who muscled past soon after the restart and narrowly held onto his position throughout the 20-lap race. They were separated by less than a half-second at the finish line.

Brooks displayed his increasing confidence by holding onto the two Cape cars and once again finishing as the top rookie in fourth.

A little farther back in fifth, Jack William Miller, 17, from Carmel, Ind., finally translated his occasional strong pace into by far his best finish, fifth, for the Miller Vinatieri Motorsports team. Miller drove beautifully to fend off the attentions of Barrichello and Green, who worked his way purposefully from 11th on the grid.

Dupell finished eighth ahead of Sundaramoorthy, Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Atherton, Calif., and Brazilian Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), who claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting 18th.

The USF2000 contingent will return to Mid-Ohio for another three races to be held in conjunction with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the weekend of August 8/9.

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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