NA-F2000: Asaro still on top after Mid-Ohio

Billy Asaro holds a commanding lead in the USF2000 National Championship following a doubleheader race event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He claimed fourth in a race held on Saturday, but was eliminated from another top finish with less...

Billy Asaro holds a commanding lead in the USF2000 National Championship following a doubleheader race event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He claimed fourth in a race held on Saturday, but was eliminated from another top finish with less than two laps to go on Sunday. Despite the uneven results, the nineteen-year-old Markham, Ontario, resident maintains a 31-point lead in the USF2000 National Championship.

Asaro pulled into Mid-Ohio knowing he faced an uphill battle. Many competitors in the 29-car field had participated in a regional event at the track the previous weekend and held a big advantage. Billy simply worked hard with his Key Motorsport team and the car was soon working nicely on the challenging Mid-Ohio track. Billy quickly found the fast line around the course and during qualifying sessions held on Saturday, he secured fifth-place starts for both races.

In first race of the weekend, Saturday afternoon, he quickly moved forward one position to fourth, but further progress was not in the cards. He was always close on the heels of the third-placed car, but did want to risk an aggressive pass.

"We were close on the set up, but the car was a bit unpredictable," Billy admitted after the race. "All I did was hold my position and stay ready in case someone ahead had a problem or made a mistake. The four of us at the front pulled away from the rest of the field so I didn't have to worry about defending my position and I could think a little about how to make the car better for tomorrow (Sunday)."

Along with nineteen points, Asaro was awarded the Truechoice Drive of The Day award for his fourth-place finish.

On Sunday, following a loss of several positions at the start of the race, Billy fought his way up the order and by lap nine of the 25-lap contest, he sat fourth. A caution bunched up the field toward the end of the race and Billy was presented with a golden opportunity not long after the restart. The third-placed car of Travis Irving ran wide at a corner known as the Keyhole and Billy moved in to make an easy pass. Unfortunately, as the cars exited the corner, Irving suddenly swerved and hit Asaro taking them both out of the race.

"I guess Irving's car hooked on the curb when he was trying to get back on the track and it flicked him sideways," said Billy. "Unfortunately, I was right there and once I got hit, that was it for me. I was very disappointed, but on the bright side, I still have a big lead in the championship."

With 159 points, Asaro holds a strong lead over second-placed Doug Bell who has 128.

The next two stops on the USF2000 schedule take Billy to Road America in Wisconsin, July 7 and 8, then back to Mid-Ohio, August 11. Billy is looking forward to both events.

"I was at Road America last year and think I should be very competitive there," Billy predicted. "Then we come back to Mid-Ohio. With two races at each track, I'm confident we can get a win or two. The crew always works hard, they're a good influence on me and they want the Key Motorsport / Bellville Rodair car to win just as much as I do. We can do it!"

-MJ

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