LEXINGTON, Ohio – There’s 12 races this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with 11 additional races between the Mazda Road to Indy and Pirelli World Challenge besides Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 (1:30 p.m. ET, CNBC) for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The first two of those 12 – race one for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class – occurred Friday late afternoon.
Points leader Nico Jamin of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing delivered a dominant, flag-to-flag drive en route to his sixth win of the season, and seventh straight top-two finish in Round 12 of the 16-race season. Never challenged, Jamin won by 5.9558 seconds.
Meanwhile Australian rookie Anthony Martin equaled his season-best result of second, courtesy of a flying start where he made it up from fourth to second by Turn 4, which serves as the opening turn on the course. Aaron Telitz was third ahead of Jake Eidson and Parker Thompson.
The lone incident in the race occurred when Luke Gabin collected his Team Pelfrey teammate Garth Rickards at Turn 12, the carousel. Rickards was out on the spot while Gabin held onto seventh place for the remainder of the race, behind Yufeng Luo.
Jamin entered the race with a 17-point lead over Eidson and will only extend that margin with Eidson ending fourth. Races two and three of the weekend, Rounds 13 and 14, both occur on Saturday.
Michael Cooper led flag-to-flag in the first of two GTS races of the weekend in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, but the win wasn’t as easy as he made it seem.
Jack Baldwin, who first raced at Mid-Ohio in 1973, started on pole in the newly adorned Umphrey’s McGee No. 73 GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S. But before he even had the chance to get going, his car seized up from the standing start, and his run of four consecutive podiums going into the weekend came to an end. The team got the car back running halfway into the 50-minute race.
Meanwhile the pair of Camaro Z/28.Rs emerged first and second, with Cooper leading Best IT Racing’s Andy Lee in a dogfight for nearly the rest of the race.
Mark Wilkins in a Kia Optima led Dean Martin’s Ford Mustang, Kris Wilson’s Aston Martin and Andrew Aquilante’s Ford in a four-way fight for third. A brief slip-up by Wilkins allowed Martin and Wilson through, and they easily pulled away.
Wilson made it past Martin for third and what would have been the final podium position, and immediately closed on Lee for second.
The reason for the “what would have been” line was contact between Wilson and Lee battling for second into Turn 4, which knocked them both back. Wilson spun out as Lee was on the inside.
With Lee and Wilson’s contact, up front, Cooper held on second win of the year (Round 2 at Circuit of the Americas).
Lee’s first podium and top-five finish of the year eluded him once again, as Martin leapt to second, with Andrew Aquilante third.