LEXINGTON, Ohio – The final round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in wet conditions at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday ended with Josh Green out in front to claim his first series victory and a first win for Turn 3 Motorsport.
Sixteen-year-old Nolan Siegel, from Palo Alto, Calif., finished second ahead of DEForce teammate Kiko Porto, from Recife, Brazil, who secured his 10th podium finish to cap a stellar season after clinching the championship yesterday.
A dramatic change in the weather conditions overnight led to qualifying this morning being held on a wet track, and unfortunately it set the tone for the day. Several incidents caused the session to be halted after all drivers had completed only two laps, which led officials to set the grid according to the second fastest laps turned by each driver during the first qualifying period yesterday.
Thus did Michael d’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y., claim his fifth Cooper Tires Pole Award of the year with a time of 1:20.3453. Necessarily, it wasn’t quite as fast as his time on Saturday which finally eclipsed the USF2000 qualifying record set in 2012 by Matthew Brabham, but it did extend d’Orlando’s remarkable streak of consecutive poles to four – a fine way to round out a strong season for the lead Cape Motorsports driver.
D’Orlando led the field into Turn One on a treacherously slippery surface, running a rim-shot around the outside line, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Green from scything past on the exit after starting in sixth. In fact, Green only arrived on the grid a few minutes before the start because his team had been repairing extensive damage that been inflicted when he was inadvertently taken out by another driver during the abbreviated qualifying session.
Moments later, the full-course caution flags waved due to a series of incidents around the 2.258-mile track.
Another caution followed immediately after the restart, but when the race finally restarted again with nine laps completed, Green quickly put some distance between himself and his pursuers, extending his lead to almost two seconds over Siegel, who had started fourth, before the caution flags waved again on Lap 12.
After one more aborted attempt to resume, during which Porto managed to scrabble past d’Orlando for third place, the 40-minute time limit expired for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by VP Stay Frosty and Green was declared the winner.
Green became the ninth different winner on the season, picking up a first-ever PFC Award for Peter Dempsey as the winning car owner.
Billy Frazer (Exclusive Autosport), from Auckland, New Zealand, picked up his second Tilton Hard Charger Award in as many days, and his fourth of the season, after climbing from 18th on the grid to ninth at the checkered flag, one position ahead of Andre Castro (Legacy Autosport), from New York, N.Y., who started 19th.