ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Third-generation racer Matthew Brabham vaulted himself into the lead of the Cooper Tires USF20000 Championship powered by Mazda by virtue of a pair of wins today at the fast and challenging Road America circuit.
Matthew Di Leo, Scott Anderson and Spencer Pigot also visited the podium and will have another opportunity to make it onto the top step tomorrow morning when the USF2000 Series completes its first tripleheader race meeting in advance of the headlining American Le Mans Series Road Race Showcase.
Fresh off his maiden victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course two weeks ago, Anderson carried his form into qualifying by posting the fastest time in Belardi Auto Racing’s No. 14 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Neuropathy Testing Center/Laser Nail Centers Van Diemen-Mazda featuring the OtterCares® Foundation. He was joined on the front row for Round 8 this morning by series points leader Pigot (No. 2 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/E-merging Technologies/Parathyroid.com/California Scents), while Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Brabham (No. 83 DTE Group) shared Row 2 with Di Leo (#56 Res Precast/MDL Racing).
The race fell under caution soon after the start following a variety of incidents around the opening 4.048-mile lap, but not before Pigot had made a bold move around the outside in Turn One to grasp the lead from Anderson, with Brabham also following past the polesitter.
After a lengthy cleanup, Brabham mirrored Pigot’s earlier move by snatching the advantage in Turn One immediately after the restart. The grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and son of Le Mans winner Geoff Brabham never looked back, romping clear of his rivals to secure his second win of the season.
Pigot was given a penalty for blocking, which he served as the checkered flag was shown, but his misery was compounded when he exceeded the speed limit in pit lane, thus earning another 30-second penalty which dropped him from fifth to 16th in the final results.
Di Leo inherited second, narrowly ahead of Anderson following a race-long battle. Trent Hindman was fourth in the third Cape Motorsports entry, followed by Neil Alberico (JDC MotorSports) and Luigi Biangardi (ArmsUp Motorsports), who snuck past Roman Lagudi (Belardi Auto Racing) on the final lap.
An intense battle for National Class honors saw 15-year-old RC Enerson (ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing) snatch the honors with a final-lap pass of race-long leader Mark Eaton (Robinson Motor Sports).
Round nine this afternoon saw the grid decided according to each competitor’s fastest race lap from the earlier outing, with Brabham on pole ahead of Anderson, Pigot and Di Leo.
Once again, Brabham displayed a clear rear wing to his pursuers as he took off into the lead and was never seriously challenged during the 12-lap race which was unencumbered by cautions.
The top four positions remained unchanged, with Anderson claiming his fourth straight podium finish in second – and earning an additional bonus point for setting fastest lap – ahead of Pigot and Di Leo. Alberico secured fifth after a protracted battle with Hindman.
“It was great, just fantastic to get another win,” said Brabham. “I am very happy with how things have gone this weekend. It was good to get those race wins under my belt. I’ve been struggling a little bit to get to that next step on the podium, but the car was really, really good through the race. It was good enough to keep me out in front so I was really happy with the team. “
In the National class, Henrik Furuseth bounced back impressively from an accident in the opening race which meant he had to start way back in 25th this afternoon. No matter, as the talented young Norwegian soon fought his way to the front and held off Enerson to win by less than a second. Furuseth established a new National Class lap record for good measure.