Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Matthew Brabham (83) leads the 35-car USF2000 National Championship field to green-flag racing at Sebring International Raceway for the start of Round 2 Friday morning. (photo: John R. Hendrick)

Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing carried its dominance of the USF2000 Winterfest over to the National Championship this week at Sebring International Raceway with team drivers Matthew Brabham and Spencer Pigot claiming the opening two rounds of the 2012 championship.

Mark Eaton won Round 1 in the national class and Henrik Furuseth topped the charts in Round 2. Luigi Biangardi set the pace during Thursday morning’s USF2000 qualifying session with a 2:03.917.

Roman Lagudi solidified an impressive week by finishing second in Round 1 and third in Round 2. Dating back to last season’s national championship, Lagudi, 17, has three-consecutive podium finishes.

Pigot was third in the opening race with Thomas McGregor and Scott Anderson rounding out the top-five, respectively.

Midway through Round 2, it appeared Brabham would cap off  a perfect weekend. He set the fastest lap of the season-opening race en route to the win, allowing him to start from pole position for Round 2. His speed was evident, again, after the drop of the green flag in Round 2 with the third-generation racer building a 3.5-second lead over teammate Pigot before a caution complicated things.

On the restart Pigot made a daring outside pass on Brabham through Turn 1 and claimed the lead.

“I knew the restart was going to be my only chance to try for the win,” Pigot said. “Matt [Matthew Brabham] was faster when we took the green [flag] so it was tough to keep up with him.”

After the pass was complete, Brabham remained close to Pigot and continued to look for a way past. Another crash — this time a multi-car incident in T7 — eliminated the chance for redemption. Pigot took the checkered flag under caution. Brabham was second with Lagudi third.

“Overall, I feel absolutely fantastic about how the whole weekend went,” said Brabham, who exited the opening doubleheader with an eight-point championship lead. “I am disappointed how [Round 2] finished, but Spencer was very, very good on the restart and managed to get me.”

Canadian Matthew DiLeo finished fourth and Neil Alberico completed the top-five after starting seventh. While Brabham and Pigot earned the race wins, the real story of the weekend was the performance of ArmsUp Motorsports’ Luigi Biangardi.

After qualifying on pole for Race 1, Biangardi retired early following contact with another competitor in the opening corner. Undeterred, he started at the back of the 36-car field on Friday and carefully carved his way up to ninth by the time the checkered flag waved. More impressive, perhaps, when you consider he accomplished the feat in only six laps of green-flag racing. Caution flags waved on Lap 6 and Laps 8-10 during the 10-lap race.

Complete USF2000 Sebring Results

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