INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing continued to hold the upper hand in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, step one on the Mazda Road to Indy, as Australian Anthony Martin scored an overdue maiden victory during today’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis Powered by Mazda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course.
Martin’s Canadian teammate Parker Thompson finished a strong second – and set the fastest lap of the race to extend his championship lead – while Brazilian Victor Franzoni finished third for ArmsUp Motorsports.
Martin started from pole position after the faster lap times of fellow Australian Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports) were disallowed when he failed to acknowledge the checkered flag at the conclusion of this morning’s 30-minute qualifying session. Martin took full advantage of that good fortune by taking the lead at the start. Yet another Australian, Jordan Lloyd (Pabst Racing), who won the opening race of the season at St. Petersburg, Fla., also made a good start to nip past Thompson for second place at Turn One.
After a brief full-course caution, due to a spin by the National Class car of Dale VandenBush (ArmsUp Motorsports) at Turn Seven, Martin led at the restart from Lloyd, Thompson, Franzoni and another couple of Pabst Racing Van Diemen-Mazdas driven by China’s Yufeng Luo and Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa.
As Martin again made his escape at the front, Thompson took the opportunity to slingshot past Lloyd as the green flag flew. The Canadian briefly fell a second or so in arrears of his teammate before settling into a comfortable rhythm and establishing the fastest lap of the race.
He remained within a few car lengths of Martin in the closing stages but was never quite close enough to mount a challenge for the lead. Martin took the checkered flag 0.5143 seconds to the good to claim his first race win outside of his native Australia.
Franzoni also found a way past Lloyd on the sixth lap, then ran a comparatively lonely third for the remainder of the 20-lap, 30-minute race. Lloyd finished fourth ahead of teammate Luo, who lost Pabst tail-gunner Rickards following an incident with Nikita Lastochkin (Cape Motorsports) at Turn 12 on Lap Eight. Rickards recovered to an unrepresentative 15th at the finish, while Lastochkin received a drive-through penalty which resulted in a 23rd-place result.
Gabin played a starring role after starting 24th in the 26-car field, charging as high as sixth until a minor moment in Turn Four caused him to run wide onto the grass. “I was pushing maybe a bit too hard,” he admitted. Unfortunately, the off-course excursion caused an electrical ground wire to fail which in turn led to a chronic misfire, dropping him to the back of the pack.
Eric Filgueiras (Spencer Racing) was clearly the class of a five-car National Class field, finishing well clear of Robert Armington (Tomasi Motorsports) and Charles Finelli (Fat Boy Racing).
Race winner Martin added the Staubli Award to his day’s haul, while winning team owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape claimed the PFC Award. Californian TJ Fischer (Team Pelfrey) earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award following an impressive drive to ninth after starting 25th.