Leeds, Ala. - RC Enerson augmented his lead in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda by claiming two accomplished victories today at Barber Motorsports Park. The 17-year-old from New Port Richey, Fla., grasped the lead at the start of Race One this morning from polesitting Frenchman Florian Latorre, and went on to win handsomely for his family-run Team E Racing.
A few hours later, having earned the pole position for Race 2, Enerson once again led the entire way, although he did come under pressure from a fired-up Aaron Telitz (ArmsUp Motorsports) in the closing stages. Two wins, leading all the laps and one fastest race lap ensured Enerson a 64-point haul from the day to extend his championship lead to 42 points, 121-79, over Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing's Jake Eidson, who finished third and eighth today.
The sun was shining brightly when the 20-car field assembled for Round 3 of the USF2000 title-chase at a little after 9:00 this morning. Enerson joked beforehand that he would usually still be asleep at that time of day, but he was perfectly awake at the start, ousting Latorre from the premier position at Turn One. Enerson never looked back.
After an early caution period while 14-year-old debutant Colton Herta's JAY Motorsports Van Diemen-Mazda was retrieved from the gravel trap in Turn 16 (following an impressive fifth-place qualifying effort), Enerson extended his advantage over Latorre to win with relative ease. He also posted a best lap of the race even faster than qualifying on Friday to ensure the pole position for Race Two.
Eidson chased his new teammate, Latorre, before settling for third ahead of Daniel Burkett (Belardi Auto Racing) and Telitz, who remained locked in combat throughout, then Nico Jamin in a second Belardi car.
The weather remained perfect for Race 2, which began a little after 1:00 p.m., and so, once again, did Enerson. His progress was halted briefly at half-distance when the caution flags waved following a trip into the gravel by young Brazilian Gustavo Myasava (Afterburner Autosport), but Enerson took the delay in his stride, made another perfect restart and controlled the remainder of the 18-lap race.
Telitz, meanwhile, was a man on a mission. After displacing Brazilian Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) in the early stages, Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., muscled his way past Burkett at Turn Five on Lap 14 and proceeded to post the fastest lap of the race as he whittled the gap to Enerson from over two seconds to just 0.7803 at the checkered flag.
Burkett's lost momentum also cost him a place to Franzoni, so the Canadian had to settle for a still-impressive fourth ahead of a fast-closing Latorre, who spent most of the race trying to find a way past Peter Portante in a second ArmsUp Motorsports entry. He finally did so on Lap 16, then closed rapidly on Burkett in the closing laps.
Herta recovered strongly from his first race dramas, climbing from ninth on the grid to seventh ahead of Eidson, Henrik Furuseth (JAY Motorsports), Jamin and Clark Toppe (JDC MotorSports).
Contingency awards in Race 1 included the Tilton Hard Charger Award to Adrian Starrantino for advancing from 14th to seventh. Starrantino also captured the RePlay XD Move of the Race for a gain of three positions at the start. The PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger - the official battery of the ladder series - went to the winning team of Team E Racing. The Staubli Award was presented to Latorre.
Race 2 awards included the Tilton Hard Charger to Jeroen Slaghekke of Afterburner Autosport for advancing from 17th to 12th; the PFC and Race Energy Awards to Team E Racing; and the Staubli Award to Telitz, who also earned the RePlay XD Move of the Race for a Lap 3 pass on Franzoni.