Sam Corry after winning at NOLA Motorsports Park. (Gavin Baker Photography)

Corry, Christodoulou Split NOLA USF2000 Honors

NEW ORLEANS — Defending series champion team Pabst Racing continued its momentum by scoring a fourth USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire victory on Sunday at NOLA Motorsports Park.

Sam Corry emerged as top dog in the first of two races, although later in the afternoon the streak finally was broken when Canada’s Nico Christodoulou claimed his and VRD Racing’s first win of the season.

Evagoras Papasavvas continued a fine streak of his own by completing a sweep of second-place finishes from this weekend’s Continental Tire Grand Prix of Louisiana tripleheader. Papasavvas thereby maintained some pressure on 15-year-old points leader Max Garcia, who once again displayed his paces today by claiming two pole positions as well as a third and a fourth-place finish.

The final podium position, third in the final race this afternoon, was taken by another 16-year-old, Max Taylor.

Race One

Garcia led the field to green flag in the first race of the day after posting the fastest time in qualifying Saturday to claim his third Continental Tire Pole Award of the young season. But he immediately came under siege from outside front row starter Christodoulou, whose attempt to make a pass under braking for turn 10 saw both cars make contact and run wide on the exit. Pabst Racing’s Hudson Schwartz grasped the opening with both hands and swept through into the lead.

Schwartz held his advantage for the first five laps before Taylor executed a nice pass for the lead, only to lose control and spin just a couple of laps later on the entry to turn four. Even more unfortunately, teammate Christodoulou, running directly behind, was forced to take evasive action. The Canadian rejoined at the back of the field, whereupon he mounted a tremendous charge which included posting the fastest lap of the race to rise all the way to seventh at the checkered flag. Christodoulou posted a new lap record for good measure.

Papasavvas profited most from the fracas, jumping from fourth to the lead, albeit chased menacingly by all three Pabst cars in the order Schwartz, Garcia and Corry.

However, following a brief caution period, Papasavvas was slow to pick up the pace at the restart and was immediately jumped by an on-the-ball Corry, who leapt from fourth to the lead and maintained his advantage to the finish for his first race win of the season. He also secured another PFC Award for team owner Augie Pabst.

Papasavvas, in second, stretched his sequence of podium finishes this season to four, while Garcia overcame the early incident to complete the podium in third ahead of Schwartz and Taylor.

Race Two

Garcia took another Continental Tire Pole Award by virtue of the second fastest laps set by each driver in qualifying yesterday afternoon, but once again was unable to capitalize as Christodoulou pounced around the outside of turn one to grasp an early advantage.

Teammate Taylor muscled his way past soon after a mid-race restart, although after another incident which was cleared in time for a three-lap dash to the checkers, Christodoulou returned the favor and swept on to take the victory spoils. He also earned a PFC Award for Dan Mitchell as the winning team owner.

Papasavvas took second place at turn three after Taylor lost a little momentum, while Garcia shadowed them home in fourth and Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), from San Antonio, Texas, completed the top five.

DEForce Racing’s Maxwell Jamieson claimed his second Tilton Hard Charger Award of the weekend after climbing from 19th on the grid to 11th.

Nikita Johnson Dominates In USF PRO 2000

Nikita Johnson was virtually in a class of his own at NOLA. The 15-year-old romped to a pair of USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire victories for VRD Racing and now holds a commanding 39-point advantage in the quest for a champion’s scholarship valued at $681,500 to propel him into Indy NXT in 2025.

Yesterday’s winner Hunter Yeany has emerged as Johnson’s closest challenger following second and third-place finishes. Two Pabst Racing drivers shared the podium honors with 2023 USF2000 champion Simon Sikes finishing third this morning and Jace Denmark going one better in the weekend finale.