By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Parker Thompson’s 2017 foray in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda has been a roller coaster but the Red Deer, Alberta native managed to hit a peak in front of his compatriots by winning the first of two USF2000 races of the weekend on the streets of Toronto.
Thompson started from pole in his No. 90 Exclusive Autosport car and led from flag-to-flag over Cape Motorsports’s Oliver Askew and Pabst Racing’s Rinus VeeKay. Askew grew his points lead over VeeKay by two points to 34 points with four races to go in the championship.
The title fight did get a little bit easier for Askew as one of his main competitors fell by the wayside. Team Pelfrey’s Kaylen Frederick hit the wall early and finished 17th, dropping to 110 points behind Askew.
Thompson’s been on a roll in Canada. He was victorious last year in the second USF2000 race at Toronto and has won four out of five races in the Canadian F1600 Super Series, leading that championship with almost double the points of the second place driver.
“When the checkered flag came out, the emotions were just so high – I was screaming, so I apologize to anybody on my radio channel. This win tops anything I’ve done this year,” Thompson said.
“It’s extremely hard to win in this series and I think I took a few wins for granted last year, but to have the team behind me here is so emotional. They are so invested in winning so to get the job done for them and get our first win together feels so good. It’s been a testing season – Exclusive Autosport is new to the Mazda Road to Indy so we knew we had a tough challenge against some very dominant teams.
“But coming into our home race, we were very confident. I know I’m fast here and I knew we had a great street course setup from St. Pete and the team did what they do best: they gave me a great race car and I drove it well to take the win. I can’t thank them enough,” Thompson added.