In six races comprising the 2013 USF2000 Winterfest, Neil Alberico stood atop the podium in all but one.
He finished runner-up in the only exception.
His teammate at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, Scott Hargrove, was the only driver to steal a victory (Round 4) from the talented California pilot.
“To win five of six races feels pretty darn good,” Alberico said. “My goal was to run my own race [in Round Six], stay out front and, hopefully, keep it there. Scott [Hargrove] did a tremendous job all weekend.”
When the final checkered flag waved, Alberico claimed the title with 186 points, leading Hargrove (who finished on the podium in all six events) by 29. James Fletcher, another Cape/WTR driver, was third with 107 points. Garett Grist (102), Stefan Rzadzinski (87) and Jesse Lazare (84) rounded out the top six.
“I hope this championship represents how the rest of the year is going to go,” Hargrove said. “Finishing on the podium in every race is just a fantastic result and I can’t thank the Cape team enough. They gave me an awesome car. Neil [Alberico] just handles the pressure; it doesn’t even bother him so I’ll have to find a way past him.”
The final three races, which took place on the 2.034-mile Palm Beach International Raceway, were more dramatic and, perhaps, chaotic than the opening three races in Sebring. Behind the lead duo, that is.
In Round 4 (click link for full results), Hargrove topped Alberico and Fletcher after a turn one incident shuffled the field. Grist was fourth after starting seventh with Felipe Donato rounding out the top five.
The fifth race saw the same pilots claim the top four spots. Canadian Stefan Rzadzinski completed the top five after starting seventh. Lazare made a good charge from 13th to finish sixth.
The sixth and final round of the 2013 Winterfest saw Lazare land on the podium behind Alberico and Hargrove after starting eighth. Fletcher and Grist rounded out the top five, respectively.
The regular season for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will commence at Sebring International Raceway on March 14-15.