The off-season is over for the Cooper Tires Presents the US F2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. They tested earlier in the week at Sebring International Raceway, but today was their first practice session before their race at Sebring later in the week. In testing earlier in the week, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver Petri Suvanto was a mild surprise, posting a session best time of 2:05.146 and besting the presumed front-runners Andretti Autosports drivers Sage Karam and Spencer Pigot who posted times of 2:05.174 and 2:05.951, respectively. In today’s practice session, the times weren’t quite as quick, but Zach and Spencer took the front two spots, with Petri a half second back.
“After having the opportunity to do the Winterfest earlier this year in Sebring, it definitely gave us an advantage for the event this week. We were either P1 or P2 for the test day yesterday and practice today, so I’m really excited to see how qualifying goes tomorrow. I have a lot of data to study tonight and more work to do, but I’m looking forward to the race. It would be great to start the season on a high note.” — Zach Veach, #7 Andretti Autosport
Sebring is a bumpy, tricky course, though, and although starting on the front row is nice, its not essential. Mistakes are easy to make at Sebring. You don’t need the flat out fastest car to win, you just need a competitive car and to make less mistakes than your competitors. Spencer doesn’t quite have the overall pace of Veach or at times Suvanto, but don’t rule him out as a contender tomorrow.
“Overall it was pretty good day. We had some problems with the gear box just before the session started, so I only got about three laps in and we didn’t get to try everything we wanted to try. I have to thank all the guys for working hard on the car so I could get some time on the track. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We have a competitive car, so it should be a good race and season.” — Spencer Pigot, #8 Andretti Autosport
Qualifying for the first round of the 2011 US F2000 National Championship at Sebring is tomorrow morning from 0845-0915 EDT, and Race #1 begins at 1415 EDT. Race #2 is on Friday at 1145. You can follow all of the action from Sebring on the USF2000 live timing and scoring site, http://www.usf2000timing.com/.