Jay Howard Driver Development’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 teams suited-up north of the border this weekend for a battle on the streets of Toronto. There were tribulations, but also triumphs across the five cars and two series, with Braden Eves securing a fifth place finish on the challenging Canadian circuit.
Eves and teammate Salvador De Alba split the Indy Pro 2000 qualifying sessions with a sixth place finish each. Both qualified in the top 10 for Race 1, with Eves setting what would have been the fastest lap of the session had it not started two hundredths of a second after the checkered flag came out. Unfortunately, the race did not go to plan, with the drivers finishing 12th and 14th. Eves rebounded in the second race of the double header with fifth place, which De Alba was unfortunately not able to start.
It was another weekend full of growth and development opportunities for JHDD’s all-rookie USF2000 squad. The weekend’s best finishing result came with a solid top 10 drive from George Garciarce in Race 2. Teammate Evagoras Papasavas put in one of his best performances of the year and looked on for a podium before reliability issues with the gearbox hampered his chances. Frederik Lund improved by a pair of positions between Races 1 and 2. All the drivers came away from the street course weekend with lessons learned and moments to be proud of.
“From a pace perspective, it was actually a really, really good weekend,” said team owner Jay Howard. “I mean George and Evagoras were very fast in USF2000. I feel really bad for Evagoras because he should have finished P2 in Race 2. That was no fault of his, so I hate to see that happen. Even with Braden in Indy Pro, he was second fastest at times in both races. So the pace is good, but on paper it doesn’t look fantastic. Our goals from here are focusing on trying to win individual races, not looking at championships or anything like that. We’re looking at how we can improve and help guys keep getting better, especially for the guys who are looking to come back next year. It’s all about experience and building for the future. There’s a lot of positives, but when you look at it on paper, it’s not what we want to see.”
The Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship returns to action for the second oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 18-20. The USF200 Cooper Tires series returns for the Road to Indy finale in Portland on September 1-4. Catch live streams on RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App and the series’ respective websites, indypro2000.com and usf2000.com. Find @followJHDD on social for news, updates and highlights.