Pigot Wins at VIR to Take Points Battle Down to the Wire
Furuseth’s Win also Takes National Class Title Chase into Final Round
Alton, Va. – Spencer Pigot was in a class by himself during today’s 13th round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at the scenic and challenging Virginia International Raceway road course. Pigot, 18, from Orlando, Fla., was fastest in every practice session, qualified squarely on the pole and extended his lead throughout the 14-lap race – exactly what he needed to do in his chase of teammate and championship rival Matthew Brabham, who entered the weekend with a 41-point advantage. Pigot took the checkered flag a full 16.047 seconds clear of his closest challenger for his seventh victory and the largest winning margin this year.
With Pigot off in the distance, all eyes instead were on a tremendous battle for second place between Neil Alberico and Wayne Boyd during the caution-free race. Alberico, driving for JDC MotorSports, grasped the position after a magnificent getaway from fifth on the grid and the benefit of an incident at the first corner involving Scott Anderson (#14 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Neuropathy Testing Center, Laser Nail Centers/Belardi Auto Racing), who had qualified third. Boyd, who started sixth, followed suit and the duo waged a race-long battle as both drivers claimed their first podium finishes of 2012. Boyd’s podium comes in only his third USF2000 start this season. He finished third in last year’s standings.
Brabham, who found himself in fifth on Lap One after starting second, became embroiled in a tense battle with Matthew Di Leo (#56 Res Precast/MDL Racing) and Scott Hargrove (#38 Analytic Systems, Race Energy, Skip Barber Racing School, Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports). The trio exchanged places on numerous occasions before Brabham was able to climb up to fourth place on Lap 12.
Brabham’s championship lead has been trimmed from 41 points to 27 with just one race remaining, so the $350,000 scholarship prize from Mazda to move up to Star Mazda, the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy, in 2013 is still up for grabs. Pigot will start tomorrow’s season finale on the pole by virtue of setting fastest lap today, while Brabham will start seventh in the 26-car grid.
Hargrove, who scored his first career USF2000 podium finish in the last race at Baltimore, continued his strong form and crossed the line in fifth ahead of Shelby Blackstock (#8 Starstruck/Andretti Autosport), who moved up impressively from ninth on the opening lap, Di Leo, Trent Hindman (#3 Premier Woodcraft, Zydro+, DFL Construction, RaceLite Protection, Skip Barber Racing School, Sparco/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) and Thomas McGregor (#7 Dairy Queen, Exclusive Management/Andretti Autosport).
The National class seasonal honors also will not be settled until tomorrow following a sixth win of the season for Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (#32 Palfinger, Akrene Mek Verksted/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), who triumphed comfortably over title rival RC Enerson (#10 Patriot Bank/ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing). Furuseth’s win was made all the more impressive after he was relegated to use another FE car this weekend instead of his more familiar #32 entry.
Furuseth and Enerson are separated by a mere three points prior to the season finale, which will take the green flag tomorrow at 9:15 am ET.
Contingency awards included the Tilton Hard Charger Award, for the driver who gained the most positions during the race, which was claimed by Hargrove who went from 10th to fifth for a gain of five positions; the PFC Award for the winning car owner, which was issued to Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing; and the Staubli Award, a random finisher award, which was presented to Blackstock (#8 Starstruck).
Spencer Pigot, #2 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/E-merging Technologies/ Parathyroid.com (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – First: “It was a really good race today. We came into the weekend with only one thing to do which was try to get first place in everything and so far we have been able to do that. The car was fantastic throughout the whole race which was something we really worked on last night. I was able to start the race off right. I was able to get quite a big jump and had a good line for Turn One so I didn’t get hung up or anything. I was able to get a good first few laps as they were fighting behind me. I am really looking forward to tomorrow and, hopefully, we will be able to gain a few more points.”
Neil Alberico, #19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/Red Line Oil (JDC MotorSports) – Second: “The race was good. We had a good pace in qualifying and JDC MotorSports and all the guys on the team just did a really good job this weekend right from the get go, so right off the bat we started well and had a good qualifying spot for the race. I got a gap at the start, took it and was in second right out of Turn One. I maintained that pace. To come out with a solid finish at the end of the season is a really good feeling. Congrats to the team and everyone. We will keep the momentum going into tomorrow.”
Wayne Boyd, #9 DHL/Belardi Auto Racing/MoeryLAI (Belardi Auto Racing) – Third: “I am very happy after not racing for a year to be back and get a podium in our second race. I have to give a big thanks to Belardi Auto Racing, MoeryLAI and DHL for making it possible. The car was good but not as good as Spencer’s [Pigot], unfortunately. We had the pace for second and had the second fastest race lap so that helps us for Race Two. This track is definitely one of my favorites. It is so fast but it is also very hard to get a good lap out of it. It is quite technical and just a really good track.”
Henrik Furuseth, #32 Palfinger/Akrene Mek Verksted (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – First National Class: “My race was very good. I had a very good and clean start. I pulled away early in the race and was able to stay in front the whole race. The car was very good and I have to thank my team Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for that and to Dan Andersen [CEO and President of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter] for letting me use his car. I just have to keep focusing for tomorrow’s race and hopefully I can do the same and win the championship.”
Category: Series News