TORONTO, Ontario, Canada – For the second straight race Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda sophomore Jake Eidson of Pabst Racing used a first lap pass to get around polesitter Nico Jamin, and claim his fourth win of the season and the sixth of his career on the Mazda Road to Indy.
Jamin, a 19-year-old native of Rouen, France driving for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing may not have won the race, but his second-place finish in the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto allowed him to maintain his edge in the point standings by a now slim nine-point advantage over Eidson.
Impressive John Cummiskey Racing rookie Anthony Martin joined the championship contenders on the podium for the third time this season. It was the sixth straight race, and ninth of eleven races, that the 20-year-old from Kalgoorlie, Australia was the top freshman finisher.
MAZDASPEED scholarship driver Luke Gabin and Team Pelfrey teammate Garth Rickards rounded out the top five, with Rickards claiming his best finish to date and the Staubli Award in the process.
After making it through the first seven turns on the 1.755 mile, 11-Turn Exhibition Place street circuit, Aaron Telitz, Nikita Lastochkin and Parker Thompson were all involved in a Turn 8 incident. Thompson, one of two Canadians in the race, came out of the fracas worse for wear when he was forced to pit road. His JDC Motorsports crew assessed and repaired the damage quickly, but Thompson finished the race one lap down in eleventh place.
James Dayson of ArmsUp Motorsports – the second Canadian – scored his first career top 10 in his home race.
Telitz, who had fallen back to fifth place after the earlier Turn 8 incident, made contact with Keyvan Andres Soori in Turn 3 on Lap 2. Soori, a 15-year-old native of Germany who qualified fifth, was forced to retire his No. 5 ArmsUp Motorsports machine. Telitz was subsequently penalized for avoidable contact and fell to eleventh place, but was able to fight his way back to claim a sixth-place finish for Cape Motorsports.
For the first ten laps of the 26-lap event, the gap between Eidson and Jamin was consistently under half of a second, and it was only over the last 16 laps that Eidson was able to pull away to an eventual 4.1-second victory.
While Eidson was cruising to his second career victory at Exhibition Place, the battle between Telitz, Yufeng Luo of Pabst Racing and Team Pelfrey teammates Lastochkin and Ayla Agren for sixth through ninth place was just heating up. It waged back and forth until lap 17, when a Turn 3 spin took Lastochkin out of the equation. His eighth-place finish – a gain of three positions – secured the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Additional awards including the RePlay XD Move of the Race to Eidson for his pass at the start and the PFC Award went to Augie Pabst III as the winning car owner.
Race 2 of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto will be underway at 9:00 am ET tomorrow with live streaming on racecontrol.indycar.com and coverage on the Mazda Road to Indy App.
Jake Eidson (#22 OMP/Bell Helmets/1st Bank/SAFEisFAST.com/Team USA Scholarship-Pabst Racing): “It was a tough race. I was pretty stressed the whole time. I had a good opening lap and took the lead going into Turn Three, which I knew was going to be very important. Then it was a matter of making good, clean laps with no mistakes. The Pabst team gave me a great car. I was able to make a gap to Nico as the race progressed. The car stayed good the whole way through and we were still quick at the end. Toronto is a great circuit, but I was a little dizzy getting out of the car because of all the bouncing on the bumps!”