MONTEREY, Calif. – A caution-free, 30-minute race for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Monterey Powered by Mazda, saw Victor Franzoni and ArmsUp Motorsports continue their weekend domination.
The Brazilian led flag-to-flag from pole in the 21-lap race for his second win of the season, fourth in USF2000, and won by 12.9597 seconds.
Franzoni said he was “really calm” throughout the race – hoping not to get too lackadaisical and lose concentration. He thanked ArmsUp engineer John Walko, who said that thanks to a great setup off the truck and an “old school” mentality has paid dividends. Franzoni has finished in the top-five every race since the first of two races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course back in May, so that’s a run of 11 consecutive races.
Behind him, Parker Thompson took second place in the first Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing car and gained three points on Anthony Martin, who finished third after holding off a race-long charge from a pair of his Australian countrymen, Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports) and Jordan Lloyd (Pabst Racing).
Thompson made a move on Martin for second place at Turn 6 on Lap 11, which narrowed a 24-point gap at the time to 18, but he’ll still need a bit of help to overcome the deficit on Sunday.
Martin’s lead over Thompson is 18 points (369-351) headed to tomorrow’s season finale. Franzoni, who had a remote mathematical chance only at winning the title, was eliminated, but has clinched third in the championship behind the Cape twins.
Yufeng Luo finished sixth ahead of series debutante Phillippe Denes, the young American who staged an impressive drive for Team Pelfrey to come from 15th to seventh. Full-season rookie Robert Megennis was eighth in another Pelfrey entry with Lucas Kohl and Dakota Dickerson completing the top-10.
An off for Nikita Lastochkin at Turn 6 derailed a potential top-10 for him, while the other series debutantes Kaylen Frederick (13th) and Michael Scott (17th) – failed to figure in the day. Scott incurred a rare mechanical issue for John Cummiskey Racing.