Mazda Road to Indy
Top 3 USF2000 Moments From the 2018 Season
Starting in Florida, and ending the year at Portland, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season featured several memorable moments. Going back through the events this past year, here are the three moments that stand out above the rest.
Alex Baron vs. Kyle Kirkwood – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Alex Baron would drive to the victory, and put on a great performance along the way, including a thrilling pass that saw him go from third to first in a single corner. If you had any doubts about his talent, let’s hope that those were erased on May 11. Though in reality, the same could be said about Kyle Kirkwood because combined with Baron, the pair put on a great battle for the lead that had the fan’s attention.
Overall, the Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indy Race 1 featured a bunch of battles through the field, too. The sixth through 10th competition could’ve used a close-up by the television coverage as those guys were getting at it, with changes in line and three-wide at times.
Kyle Kirkwood – Honda Indy Toronto
Kyle Kirkwood won plenty of races in 2018 by simply dominating over the competition. However, he also had his work cut-out for him other weekends, including the second race of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend.
Kirkwood had boldly overtaken (Igor) Fraga in the midst of the (opening lap) melee to emerge in the lead despite having started only fifth. Shortly after the restart, however, Fraga saw an opportunity to dive to the inside of Kirkwood at the end of Lake Shore Boulevard. He seized it beautifully to snatch the lead for the first time.
Kirkwood stalked his rival for lap after lap as the pair pulled away from Fraga’s teammate, Danial Frost, from Singapore, who had leapfrogged from 12th on the grid to third. Kirkwood edged alongside Fraga on numerous occasions, especially under braking for Turn Three, but each time Fraga defended doggedly, leaving no option for Kirkwood but to tuck back into line. Finally, on lap 17, Kirkwood glimpsed an opening at Turn One, diving deep to the inside and narrowly squeezing through into the lead.
Kirkwood edged away in the closing stages, then backed off on the final lap to take the checkered flag just over one second clear of the impressive Fraga.
Alex Baron Storms Through the Field – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Although Alex Baron didn’t win Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indy Race 2, it’s probably one of those that he looks back today saying what if. He was able to match eventual race winner Kyle Kirkwood on pace, bettering him on multiple occasions, set to challenge him for the top step on the podium. However, contact with Jamie Caroline for second sent Baron around and down the running order to the tail of the field. ‘
Baron kept things entertaining as he drove from 20th to ninth by the time the yellow flag waved at Lap 11, before using the next seven trips around the speedway to move his way up to third by the next caution. A solid pass on the shootout at the end, and boom – he got a runner-up.
EMAIL ASHLEY AT firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.