Brabham Controls USF2000 Title Chase
BALTIMORE — Matthew Brabham tightened his grip on this year’s Cooper Tires USF20000 Championship Powered by Mazda by virtue of a flag-to-flag victory in today’s 16-lap USF2000 Baltimore Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products.
The win was his fourth of the year for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and added to the team’s extremely successful season after already clinching the USF2000 Team Championship. Brabham’s title aspirations received a massive additional boost when teammate and title rival Spencer Pigot fell afoul of some slower traffic on lap 10.
For the second day running, Brabham started from pole on the challenging 2.04-mile Baltimore Inner Harbor street circuit. In stark contrast to yesterday, Brabham this time maintained his advantage through the tight Turn One to lead Pigot and the remainder of the 28-car field. The duo remained in close formation until lLap 10 when they encountered some slower traffic. Brabham was able to squeeze by the lapped car but its driver was unaware that Pigot also was in close proximity and moved back across the road collecting Pigot and sending him into the wall and out of the race.
Brabham was left with a commanding lead over the battle for third between Scott Anderson (Belardi Auto Racing) and Scott Hargrove (JDC MotorSports). Both drivers had been involved in an incident at the chicane on the final lap in yesterday’s race while jousting over fourth position, and the JDC crew in particular had worked late into the night to repair the damage.
The pair resumed their fight this morning, this time for second place after Pigot’s unfortunate demise, with Anderson narrowly holding the advantage. Hargrove delighted himself and his hard-working crew with his first-ever visit to the USF2000 podium.
Neil Alberico of JDC MotorSports drove his best race of the year thus far to finish a season-high fourth – his sixth top-six finish – ahead of Matthew Di Leo, who drove a brilliant race to rise from 26th on the grid.
Colin Thompson looked poised to capture his best result of the season of fourth after starting 10th, but the Belardi Auto Racing driver’s car failed post-race technical inspection relegating him to 28th position in the final standings.
Brabham now leads the Championship Class by a commanding 41-point margin over Pigot with Anderson a further 26 points in arrears.
“I am just happy how everything turned out at the end of the weekend,” Brabham said. “It was disappointing yesterday to make a few mistakes so today I was just concentrating on not making any mistakes, keeping it clean, staying out in front and out of trouble. It worked out for me in the end and the track was really, really fun to drive on. Cape Motorsports gave us awesome cars throughout the entire weekend which made it easy on us as drivers. I really was quick and I have to thank the team for that. I have to thank the city of Baltimore for a great event and USF2000, Cooper Tires and Mazda for doing all the work they do.”
Mark Eaton drove a fine race for the Robinson Motor Sports team to claim a well-deserved second win of the season in the National class.