This weekend, the U.S.F2000 National Championship starts its new season. The season opener will take place together with the IndyCar Series on the Streets of St. Petersburg in Florida. In this preview you will get an overview of all the teams and their drivers, the season calendar, pre-season testing and more. At the end, as usual, you'll find my previews for the driver and team championships.
Jackson Lee, Jagger Jones, Michael d'Orlando, Nicky Hays
Cape Motorsports will be entering four cars again this year and will be looking to fight for the championship. Last year's runner-up Michael d'Orlando is entering his third season with the team and will be motivated to the hilt to finally win the title this year. Last season he won three races and finished on the podium eight times. Jackson Lee was still driving for JHDD last year and is entering his second USF2000 season. The 2020 Team USA Scholarship winner has a ninth-place finish at Indianapolis International Speedway as his best result so far. Jagger Jones makes his Road To Indy debut this year. The grandson of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West back in 2019 and finished as runner-up that year. Rounding out the Cape Motorsports lineup is Nicky Hays. He finished third in the 2019 French Formula 4 and fourth in the 2020 Formula Regional Americas.
Thomas Nepveu, Dylan Christie, Bijoy Garg
The defending champions from DEForce Racing are starting the season with three new drivers. Canadian Thomas Nepveu is contesting his second year in USF2000. In his rookie year with Cape Motorsports, he has already won a race at Road America and finished the season as the second best rookie in ninth place. This will also be Dylan Christie's second full year in USF2000. The 2022 F1600 Championship Series runner-up finished 15th last season with Turn 3 Motorsports. Their teammate for this season is California's Bijoy Garg. For him, it is already the third year in the racing series. So far, he is still waiting for his first podium finish.
Jacob Douglas, Billy Frazer
Exclusive Autosport lines up with a New Zealand driver duo for the 2022 season. Road To Indy Rookie Jacob Douglas is a four-time NZ karting champion and finished the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship in sixth place last year. His teammate Billy Frazer will race in the US for the second year in a row. The 2019-20 NZ Formula Ford champion finished the last year's USF2000 Championship with Exclusive in P12 and took eight Top 10 finishes during the season.
Jay Howard Driver Development
Yeoroo Lee, Danny Dyszelski, Evagoras Papasavvas, Jorge Garciarce, Frederik Lund
The team of former IndyCar driver Jay Howard will compete exclusively with Road To Indy Rookies this year. Yeoroo Lee joins JHDD for the 2022 USF2000 season, after an impressive run in the 2021 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series, where he finished sixth in the championship with six podium finishes to his name. He is joined by Danny Dyszelski, Evagoras Papasavvas and Jorge Garciarce for this year at Jay Howard Driver Development. Danny comes from national level karting and is no stranger to team owner Jay Howard, who began working with him in his early karting days already. Evagoras Papasavvas is another karter who will make his debut on the Road To Indy this year. He has won multiple karting championships on his way to USF2000. Unfortunately he won't be able to race at the first two rounds due to a karting injury and being underage. Jorge Garciarce will also make his debut on the Road To Indy this year. The Mexican driver started in Formula 4 NACAM back in 2019-20 and took his only single seaters victory in that series so far. Last year, he competed selected rounds in F4 Spain, ADAC F4 and Italian F4 with Jenzer Motorsport. Frederik Lund joins the team for at least the first two races of the season. The Danish-Nicaraguan driver raced karts in Europe and the United Staates. He made his car racing debut in a round of Danish F4 last year.
Joe Dooling Autosports
Trey Burke already competed with Joe Dooling Autosports in the U.S.F2000 National Championship last season. After a year of new experiences and newfound knowledge, the 2021 USF2000 Hard Charger Award winner wants to move to the front of the series and to take the fight to the rest of his competitors.
Simon Sikes is finally competing in his first full USF2000 season this year. The driver from Atlanta, Georgia competed in just 10 races with Legacy Autosport last year, but finished on the podium four times. Simon won the American F1600 Championship Series in 2020 with eight wins from 14 races.
Myles Rowe, Jace Denmark
Pabst Racing enters the 2022 season with two drivers. Jace Denmark will compete his second year with the team. He finished his debut year last season in 11th place in the championship and finished third in the oval race at Lucas Oil Raceway. Myles Rowe is only confirmed for the first two race weekends so far. He is still looking for sponsors for the remainder of the year. In his first USF2000 year, he was already able to take his first win. Myles won the second race at New Jersey Motorsports Park last year.
Turn 3 Motorsport
Christian Weir, Spike Kohlbecker
Turn 3 Motorsport is competing with two cars this year. Spike Kohlbecker will start again with Ignite Autosport, as he already did last year. He was the top rookie last season, finishing 7th in his USF2000 debut year and taking his first Road To Indy podium at the first Road America race. His teammate for this year is Christian Weir. The young driver from Illinois suffered an injury late last year in F4 US at Circuit of the Americas and will make his racing comeback this weekend. He took two podium finishes in just five F4 US races last year.
Velocity Racing Development
Velocity Racing Development enters USF2000 this year with Sweden's Viktor Andersson. Viktor won the Formula Nordic series in 2019 and made the jump to the F4 US championship in 2020, where he was only able to compete in the season finale at Circuit of the Americas due to the global pandemic. Last year he raced the entire season with Kiwi Motorsports in F4 US, scoring his best result with a 6th place finish in the first race at Virgina International Raceway.
This year, 18 races will again be held, spread over eight tracks. The only oval race of the season will take place on May 27 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The other 17 races are again road races. In addition, after a two-year break due to the worldwide pandemic, the event in Toronto, Canada at Exhibition Place is finally back.
Round 1/2: Streets of St. Petersburg (26-27 February)
Round 3/4: Barber Motorsports Park (30 April - 1 May)
Round 5/6/7: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Road Course (13-14 May)
Round 8: Lucas Oil Raceway (27 May)
Round 9/10: Road America (11-12 June)
Round 11/12/13: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2-3 July)
Round 14/15: Exhibition Place - Toronto (16-17 July)
Round 16/17/18: Portland International Raceway (2-4 September)
Each race weekend includes a different number of races. Only one race will be held at Lucas Oil Raceway. In most cases, however, two races will be held each weekend, with the exception of the events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the season finale at Portland International Raceway, where three races will be held.
There are also more points to be won for the only oval race than for the road races. The following points are awarded in the oval: P1 = 45, P2 = 38, P3 = 33, P4 = 29, P5 = 26, P6 = 23, P7 = 21, P8 = 20, P9 = 18, P10 = 17, P11 = 15, P12 = 14, P13 = 12, P14 = 11, P15 = 9, P16 = 8, P17 = 6, P18 = 5, P19 = 3, P20 = 2.
For a road race, the following points are awarded:
P1 = 30, P2 = 25, P3 = 22, P4 = 19, P5 = 17, P6 = 15, P7 = 14, P8 = 13, P9 = 12, P10 = 11, P11 = 10, P12 = 9, P13 = 8, P14 = 7, P15 = 6, P16 = 5, P17 = 4, P18 = 3, P19 = 2, P20 = 1.
In addition, there are extra points to be won in each race. One point is awarded to the driver who lead the most laps, one point is awarded to the driver with the fastest race lap and one point is also awarded for pole position.
During the preseason tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway, there were four test sessions, each lasting 45 minutes. The fastest lap in the so-called "Spring Training" was achieved by Michael d'Orlando with Cape Motorsports already in the first test session, closely followed by his teammate Jagger Jones.
Test Session 1
P1: Michael d'Orlando (Cape) / 1:23.893
P2: Jagger Jones (Cape) / 1:23.927
P3: Thomas Nepveu (DEForce) / 1:24.224
P4: Jacob Douglas (Exclusive) / 1:24.364
P5: Billy Frazer (Exclusive) / 1:24.375
Test Session 2
P1: Nicky Hays (Cape) / 1:24.640
P2: Spike Kohlbecker (Turn 3) / 1:24.765
P3: Christian Weir (Turn 3) / 1:24.844
P4: Bijoy Garg (DEForce) / 1:24.973
P5: Jacob Douglas (Exclusive) / 1:25.002
Test Session 3
P1: Jace Denmark (Pabst) / 1:24.439
P2: Spike Kohlbecker (Turn 3) / 1:24.586
P3: Jorge Garciarce (JHDD) / 1:24.653
P4: Billy Frazer (Exclusive) / 1:24.754
P5: Myles Rowe (Pabst) / 1:24.757
Test Session 4
P1: Yeoroo Lee (JHDD) / 1:24.341
P2: Jorge Garciarce (JHDD) / 1:24.618
P3: Viktor Andersson (Velocity RD) / 1:24.642
P4: Billy Frazer (Exclusive) / 1:24.916
P5: Thomas Nepveu (DEForce) / 1:25.029
As I already did with some racing series last year, I dare to make a little prediction for this year's USF2000 driver and team championships.
Drivers Championship Prediction
P1: Michael d'Orlando
P2: Thomas Nepveu
P3: Simon Sikes
P4: Jagger Jones
P5: Spike Kohlbecker
After finishing runner-up last year and setting the fastest lap time at the Spring Training Test, Michael d'Orlando is my main favorite for the title. However, there are many interesting names who want to challenge him for the title. For me, this includes Thomas Nepveu and Simon Sikes, but Jagger Jones, Spike Kohlbecker, Christian Weir or Jace Denmark could also end up on top. We can definitely look forward to an exciting season.
Teams Championship Prediction
P1: Cape Motorsports
P2: DEForce Racing
P3: Turn 3 Motorsport
In the Team Championship, I expect Cape Motorsports to win, closely followed by DEForce Racing. Behind them, Turn 3 Motorsport and Exclusive Autosport will probably duel for third place, with the better end for Turn 3.
written by Claudio Graf / 22th February, 2022