ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Locally based Cape Motorsports maintained its stranglehold on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship this afternoon by completing a sweep of the opening two rounds on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Following an accomplished victory yesterday by Braden Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, the team which has won the last eight Driver Championships in succession seemed to be moments away from celebrating another first USF2000 victory – this time for Florida racer Darren Keane – when the pole-sitter and race-long leader lost control under braking for Turn 13 on the final lap while under intense pressure from Jay Howard Driver Development’s Christian Rasmussen.
Eves, who had been running third, took baadvantage of the gifted victory to take the checkered flag ahead of New Zealand’s Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) and Zach Holden, from Greenfield, Ind., who completed the podium for BN Racing.
After proving to be one of the stars in yesterday’s season-opener by carving his way from the back of the field (due to a faulty transponder in qualifying) to seventh, Keane, from Boca Raton, Fla., looked set to take full advantage of his space during this afternoon’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting Race Two. Keane, who qualified on pole position, was briefly passed by Rasmussen, from Copenhagen, Denmark, on the first green-flag lap, but Keane soon regained the advantage and seemed to be in complete control, despite the distraction caused by a pair of brief full-course cautions.
On each of the restarts Keane was able to maintain his position ahead of Rasmussen – that is until Turn 13 on the final lap when he left his braking just a fraction too late while trying to make sure there was no way for the Dane to make a last-ditch lunge for the lead. Instead, Keane’s car spun broadside across the track, leaving Rasmussen with no chance of taking avoiding action. The erstwhile leaders were eventually classified in 14th and 15th.
With the two cars spinning to a halt, Eves was just far enough behind to be able to pick a clear line and emerge with his second win of the weekend.