Luke Ellery Wins Action-Packed USF2000 Sebring Race
What a race! You can’t get much better than that.
In a race filled with non-stop action and a constant battle for the lead, 22-year-old Luke Ellery emerged victorious at Sebring International Raceway this afternoon capturing his first win in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. The young Australian’s victory is also the first for the John Church-led JDC MotorSports team.
Continuous side-by-side racing led to anyone’s guess as to who would earn podium honors and, in the end, an international line-up ensued. Andretti Autosport’s Spencer Pigot mounted an impressive charge to the front to finish second. It was the second Sebring podium for the 17-year-old from Windermere, Fla. Third-place went to Petri Suvanto of Finland who also made a return visit to the podium. The 18-year-old driver for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing managed to pass polesitter Zach Veach at the start and lead the next six laps before being challenged by Ellery for top honors.
Ardie Greenamyer of AcceleRace Motorsports claimed victory in the National class, capturing his eighth career USF2000 win.
The only caution of the day occurred on Lap One with contact between Sick Tea Racing’s Timmy Megenbier and Vincent Beltoise of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing which sidelined both cars.
With his victory today and fourth-place finish in Round One at Sebring, Ellery holds a narrow three-point advantage in the Championship class point standings over a three-way tie for second between Suvanto, Pigot and Veach.
Several drivers and teams walked away with contingency awards during the season-opener. The Tilton Hard Charger Award for the driver who gains the most positions and the PFC Award for the winning car owner in the National class went to Stevenson Motorsports’ Luca Forgeois (Round One) and Ardie Greenamyer (Round Two). The PFC Award for the Championship Class went to winning car owner Andretti Autosport (Round One) and JDC Motorsports (Round Two). The Staubli Award, a random finisher award, was issued to Timmy Megenbier (Round One) and Wayne Boyd (Round Two) of Belardi Auto Racing.
The USF2000 National Championship will return to racing action next week, with two rounds of competition in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Luke Ellery, #85 Melbourne IT/Luke-Ellery.com/Red Line Oil (Started 3rd/Finished 1st) : “It was a good race for me. We were three abreast four laps from the finish. What a race! You can’t get much better than that. We have 27-car fields back in Australia and the racing wasn’t this good. [On leading the championship:] “This is not what I expected. I was looking for a solid round at Sebring, maybe top four, and look forward to St. Pete seeing as I have street circuit experience. All things are in the positive at the moment and I have to thank my sponsors, my team and my family.”
Spencer Pigot, Andretti Autosport #8 Team MAZDASPEED/Skip Barber (Started 4th/Finished 2nd): “It was a really good race today and a big improvement from yesterday. I have to thank everyone at Andretti Autosport and MAZDASPEED who helped me get back to the front. We didn’t have the pace today but we still have a bit more to gain and I am really looking forward to St. Petersburg. To come out of here with two podiums in my first two races is great.”
Petri Suvanto, #3 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Started 2nd/Finished 3rd): “Today I was looking for a win after our good result yesterday. This race was not quite what I expected, but P2 and P3 made this a good weekend. I couldn’t be happier and it was a good way to start the season and go to St. Pete next week. I have to thank USF2000 for this great series. There are a bunch of talented drivers here."
Ardie Greenamyer, #29 Bidazzled.com, Hi-Rise Equipment, Sabelt (Started 1st/Finished 1st – National class): “Today’s race is the epitome of what this series is about. Young guys trying to make something happen and not let things happen. That is a huge part of what our mantra at AcceleRace Motorsports is about – to provide an opportunity to make things happen and the guys at the front did a fantastic job at that today. The Cooper Tires are truly incredible. I have made marathons out of them and they always stand up and support what we are doing.”