By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
In the 2016 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing had one of the more powerful driver duos of the season with Parker Thompson and Anthony Martin. Let’s take a look at Thompson’s season as he managed to earn the runner-up spot in the championship.
Thompson’s 2016 campaign did not get off to a fantastic start.
A crash during practice at St. Petersburg set the 18-year-old Canadian back a bit but he managed to start up front for the season opening race. However, an incident at the first corner with Team Pelfrey’s James Munro put Thompson’s No. 2 car at the back of the field. Limited green flag running time meant that 15th would be Thompson’s first finish in 2016 but the second race that day would give the Canadian a fourth place finish.
Barber Motorsports Park put Thompson on the map as a serious championship contender as he swept the race weekend with two wins as well as two fastest laps and leading the most laps in both races while no other driver finished on the podium in both races.
In the month of May, Thompson had about as good of a month as any driver in USF2000 as he scored two seconds and a win out of three races in Indianapolis, and his results were all the sweeter as the Red Deer, Alberta native was able to raise awareness of the wildfires taking place at Fort McMurray about 375 miles away from his hometown.
However, the race at Lucas Oil Raceway was pivotal in the championship against his teammate Martin.
Thompson led the vast majority of the race but lapped traffic became a problem late in the race. Martin was able to get around Thompson late and managed to trap the No. 2 car behind traffic as Martin went on to victory.
The Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver scored a pair of top five finishes at the next race weekend at Road America before the series moved north of the border where he scored a third and a first in front of his home crowd as Martin had an incident in the first race.
However, Mid-Ohio threw a wildcard into the entire championship picture. The triple header weekend was swept by Martin as Thompson finished second in the second and third races. However, the first race of that weekend was pivotal as Thompson had a flat tire that sent him to the pits and a 17th place finish.
After finishing second and third at the final race weekend of the year, Thompson couldn’t claw back the advantage Martin gained at Mid Ohio and finished second in the title chase 394 to 374.
Thompson’s next move is heading to England for the Formula Ford Festival as he represents Canada.