JW Urlin of London, Ontario, fought his way to twelfth place in the opening round of the US Formula 2000 National Championship (USF2000) yesterday. The race was held on a 3.5km (2.2 mile) road course at Homestead, Florida, just south of...
JW Urlin of London, Ontario, fought his way to twelfth place in the opening round of the US Formula 2000 National Championship (USF2000) yesterday. The race was held on a 3.5km (2.2 mile) road course at Homestead, Florida, just south of Miami.
The event, which began with practice sessions on Thursday, marked JW's first time in a race car since last fall and the eighteen-year-old admitted to feeling a little rusty. Two practice sessions should have provided time to blow off the cobwebs, but track time was limited by gearbox trouble, so no serious running could be done until Friday's qualifying session.
Urlin's predicament was further exaggerated by the fact that many USF2000 teams and drivers participated in two days of testing at the circuit a few weeks ago while he was unable to attend. Nonetheless, taking a conservative approach in the qualifying session, he managed to secure the nineteenth spot on the starting grid in a talent-laden 31-car line up.
For the race, JW hoped to step up the pace, but found the car did not handle well when pushed to its limits.
"It was the first time all weekend that I was able to really get up to speed and that's when the handling problems showed up," he said after the race. "Normally, I would have run some fast laps in practice and the handling would have been sorted out by race time."
Soldiering on, JW moved up during the first half of the 25-lap race and held eleventh place for much of the second half. With one lap to go, he managed to pull his Budget Car Rental / OTM Motorsports car up to tenth, but a last-lap maneuver by another competitor caused JW to fall back to twelfth while trying to avoid a collision.
Despite the last lap set back, the weekend was considered a success.
"Most of the teams spent time learning this track and getting their cars set up during the test days, so we were playing catch up all weekend," JW reported. "When you look at that, I think we did well. The Budget / OTM crew - Evan, Ryan and my dad - worked really hard and I appreciate everything they did this weekend."
All things considered, JW is happy with the weekend's result and is pleased to finally have some laps under his belt this year. He's optimistic that he'll be able to do even better when the USF2000 series returns to Homestead for rounds two and three on April 7-8.