LEXINGTON, Ohio – Garett Grist finally found his way to victory lane this morning at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, overcoming points leader Scott Hargrove to win Round 10 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Grist, 18, from Grimsby, Ontario, started his Andretti Autosport Van Diemen-Mazda from the pole but lost out to Hargrove as the field sped toward the first turn. Behind, there was mayhem as front row starter Neil Alberico, who had won both races yesterday, made contact with another car and spun in front of the main pack of 28 starters.
After a lengthy red-flag interruption while the track was cleared, the field was repositioned to the original grid order, minus the cars that had been involved in the original accident, with Grist on point ahead of Hargrove (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), RC Enerson (ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing), Henrik Furuseth (PRL Motorsports) and Felipe Donato (ArmsUp Motorsports). Hargrove made a fine jump to displace Grist from the lead at Turn One but maintained that advantage for only two more laps before Grist squeezed past on the inside line under braking for the Keyhole (Turn Two).
The young Canadian, who had lost a potential win in Round Nine yesterday afternoon by running onto the grass at the Carousel while in the lead, made no mistakes this time around, posting a series of fastest race laps as he pulled clear to win by 3.391 seconds.
Hargrove, from Vancouver, B.C., was content with second, especially since his closest rival in the points, Alberico, was already on the sidelines. Hargrove, though, had his work cut out to maintain second from a charging Enerson who secured his second podium finish in as many days.
Norwegian teenager Furuseth matched his career best result with fourth ahead of Donato, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, whose previous best finish had been seventh in Toronto.
Brandon Newey (Afterburner Autosport), from Indianapolis, Ind., secured sixth ahead of a fast-closing Michael Epps (Belardi Auto Racing), from Hemel Hempstead, England, who had taken the restart in 13th place and drove impressively through the field to seventh.
Cleveland’s Wyatt Gooden (Afterburner Autosport) emerged in front of a frantic battle for eighth that also included Austin Cindric (Andretti Autosport), from Mooresville, N.C., and Matt McMurry (Belardi Auto Racing), from Phoenix, Ariz., both of whom claimed career-best finishes.
Gooden also earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting a lowly 19th on the grid.
Camden, Ohio’s Scott Rettich (Alliance Autosport) once again was untroubled en route to his ninth win in the USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises in as many races this season.