By Road to Indy
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Dutch teenager Rinus VeeKay had been knocking on the door of Victory Lane during the opening six races of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. Now, in the space of 24 hours, just over 70 miles from his Pabst Racing team’s home base in Oconomowoc, Wis., VeeKay has broken through comprehensively, adding another accomplished win this afternoon to his maiden triumph yesterday.
VeeKay’s teammate, Calvin Ming, from Guyana, South America, doubled team owner Augie Pabst III’s delight by finishing second after Chicago youngster David Malukas spun off on the final corner. Championship leader Oliver Askew (Cape Motorsports) bounced back from a mechanical problem yesterday to complete the podium.
A hectic opening lap saw Malukas jump from third on the grid to first ahead of VeeKay, Askew and Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport), only to lose out again next time around in Turn Three to VeeKay, who, in common with his Pabst teammates, had held back a fresh set of Cooper Tires for this race from their weekend allotment. The Dutchman remained out in front when the caution flags waved halfway around the second lap after USF2000 debutant Jacob Loomis (Team Pelfrey) and Darren Keane, making his first appearance with Newman Wachs Racing, collided in Turn Six.
The restart on Lap Five was typically fraught, but this time VeeKay maintained his advantage, leaving Malukas to fend off Askew. Behind, Thompson found himself freight-trained at Turn One, with the Team Pelfrey pair of Kaylen Frederick and Robert Megennis both sneaking past, along with Ming, who had started fifth but lost a couple of positions on the opening lap. Frederick then attempted to pass Askew at Turn Eight, only to run off the road which allowed Ming to vault up to fourth place.
VeeKay remained under pressure from Malukas for the majority of the 30-minute race, even though Malukas was struggling with an inconsistent brake pedal. VeeKay posted a series of fast laps to keep himself out of reach, and instead all eyes were on Ming, who posted the fastest lap of the race with one lap to go. Ming then drafted past Askew for third place on the final lap, and was gifted second when the unfortunate Malukas lost control of his car under braking for the final corner.
Frederick, who was struggling with a flat-spotted left-front tire, finished a strong fourth ahead of Thompson and the third Pabst Tatuus USF-17 of Brazilian Lucas Kohl, who earned the Staubli Award. Kory Enders, from Warwick, N.Y., enjoyed another solid result, seventh, for the new DEForce Racing team, while Colin Kaminsky (John Cummiskey Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill., Devin Wojcik (ArmsUp Motorsports), from Syracuse, N.Y., and Ricky Donison (Cape Motorsports), from Bangalore, India, completed the top 10. Wojcik claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award after climbing from 17th on the grid to ninth.
Pabst secured his second successive PFC Award as the winning car owner and saw his team eke out a solid 30-point margin over Cape Motorsports in the battle for the Team Championship.
Askew, meanwhile, maintained a 24-point edge in the drivers’ standings after eight of 14 races. The USF2000 contingent will head next to Iowa Speedway on July 9 for their only oval event of the season.
Rinus VeeKay #21 Jumbo Supermarkets The Netherlands/Total-Pabst Racing): “We’re so happy – it’s great to do this here, the home track for the team. I was screaming on the radio again! I’m so happy that we have the speed and we can really show what we can do. I’m really happy to win here, on such an amazing track, but now we get ready to head to the oval at Iowa. I’ve learned a lot of patience here that I can use there.”