Those two words were repeated several times prior to Zach Veach strapping into his No. 7 Andretti Autosport USF2000 car for Thursday’s Round 5 WinterFest finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Heading into the final, Veach, who had won two prior races and earned three pole positions, held a slim five-point lead over fellow teammate Spencer Pigot. With the finale’s starting grid set by Round 3’s fast time – Pigot was on pole with Veach starting third behind Arms Up Motorsports’ Trent Hindman.
Pigot, who won Round 3, would go on to win the finale (Round 5) thanks to machine-like consistency behind-the-wheel, but Veach set the fastest lap of the event and was able to sneak by Hindman for second to maintain his grasp on the points’ lead and win the title — along with the $10,000 winner’s check — for the 2011 USF2000 WinterFest.
“It’s an honor to be the first champion in the USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest along with getting my first two wins in the series,” said Veach following the race. “I’m really excited to see what we can do with the Zakosi Data Backup car in the main season and go for that championship as well. We have some stuff to work on when we get home between now and the first in-season race at Sebring, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish. I can’t thank my team, Andretti Autosport, enough for giving me a good car, my crew for working so hard and to Mazda and Cooper Tires for putting on this winter series.”
Hindman and Vinicius Perdigão collided in the finale, on lap two, allowing Matthew DiLeo to score his second podium finish in the five-race Series.
The mishap between Hindman, who recently won the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship, and Round 1 winner Perdigão, of Bahia, Brazil, bumped DiLeo to third in the championship. Perdigao concluded the WinterFest fourth, while Hindman, who had three podium finishes, finished fifth in the final standings.
JR Smart claimed the National title as the lone entrant for the class throughout all five rounds.
Complete results after the jump…
- Zach Veach – Andretti Autosport
- Trent Hindman – Arms Up Motorsports
- Spencer Pigot – Andretti Autosport
- Matthew DiLeo – Brian Stewart Racing
- Vinicius Perdigao – JDC MotorSports (30-sec. blocking penalty)
- JR Smart – Pabst Racing Services – National Class
- Spencer Pigot
- Zach Veach
- Matt DiLeo
- Trent Hindman (DNF)
- Vinicius Perdigao (DNF)
- JR Smart – National Class