Road to Indy
February 28, 2019 | 9:30 AM
Drivers from an impressive 10 different nations are expected at Homestead-Miami Speedway as a typically strong USF2000 field continues preparations for the following week’s pair of opening races of the season in St. Petersburg.
Florida-based Cape Motorsports has high hopes of extending its remarkable streak of eight successive Driver Championships, but Augie Pabst III’s eponymous team from Wisconsin has a strong desire to end that domination and continue its own streak of two consecutive Team Championships. Both will have extremely strong lineups on hand this weekend.
The Cape brothers, Dominic and Nicholas, are pinning their hopes on Darren Keane, Braden Eves and Reece Gold as they concentrate their efforts solely on USF2000 after running a concurrent program in Indy Pro 2000 the past few years.
Keane, from Boca Raton, Fla., topped the times on one of the two days at the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy Test at Indianapolis last September, while Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, has turned many heads during sporadic outings in F4, F1600 and USF2000 (making a solid debut at Portland last fall) over the past 18 months.
Gold, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is one of two 14-year-olds among the field but has already made his mark by winning the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series – and a $100,000 scholarship to graduate into USF2000 – in 2018.
Pabst, meanwhile, has entered four Tatuus USF-17s for Colin Kaminsky, Hunter McElrea, Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Bruna Tomaselli. Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., has made strong progress over the past two years and is set to be the top returning driver after finishing 10th in the points table in 2018.
Brazil’s Tomaselli, the sole female driver in the field, and Sundaramoorthy, from Guilderland, N.Y., both also have previous experience in USF2000, while McElrea, from Gold Coast, Australia, laid down a marker by posting the fastest time during the Chris Griffis test at Indianapolis, then cemented his ride by winning the third annual Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout in December.
McElrea, who was born in California and raised in both New Zealand and Australia, was a clear winner of last year’s Australian Formula Ford Championship.
Several new teams will be making their USF2000 bows this weekend, including Jay Howard Driver Development and Miller-Vinatieri Motorsports.
Former USF2000 and Indy Lights champion Jay Howard will field a three-car team for Northern Ireland Formula Ford champion Matt Round-Garrido, who hails from Stourbridge in England, highly rated Danish talent Christian Rasmussen, who finished third in the 2018 F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, and fellow F4 grad Christian Bogle, from Covington, La.
Miller-Vinatieri, formed by three-time Indy 500 starter Jack Miller and four-time Super Bowl champion and Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, has entered a pair of Tatuus’ for Jack William Miller, 15, from Indianapolis, Ind., and Brazil’s Eduardo Barrichello, 17, whose father, Rubens, enjoyed a stellar career in Formula 1.
The stacked field also will include Venezuela’s Anthony Famularo (BN Racing), Mexicans Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing) and Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport), plus two cars from Newman Wachs Racing for 14-year-old Nolan Siegel, from Portola Valley, Calif., and Cameron Shields, who in addition to hailing from Toowoomba, the same town in Queensland, Australia, as defending Indy 500 champion Will Power, was fastest of all in the December test at Homestead-Miami.
Content and image provided by Road to Indy.