Alton, VA - John McCusker prevailed for his first F2000 Championship Series victory in the No. 01 Dotworks Racing Van Diemen in an action-packed Saturday morning race at VIR. McCusker led early, fell back to second and then came through to take the checkered flag first ahead of Nick Palacio and Bob Reid.
For the top three, it was a day of career-best finishes in round 13 of the F2000 season.
"It was a great race, we fell off a bit in the middle but it worked out in favor toward the end," said McCusker, who trailed Kaylen Frederick on the white flag lap before emerging first to take the checkered flag.
Another strong run from McCusker on Sunday will give him second place in the Championship standings.
Frederick started last after running in the F1600 race directly before the F2000 race. Frederick had stormed through the field, taking the lead from McCusker mid-way through the race in the No. 81 Team Pelfrey entry, but couldn't pull off the win.
It was also a strong day for Nick Palacio with a second place finish.
"It's my second race of the year and first podium," said Palacio. "It's been a good, smooth weekend so far. Everything's going well. We get to do it again tomorrow, I'm hoping for a better start tomorrow. I let a few people get between me and John and I couldn't make up the ground."
Driving for R-Sport, Reid led the first two laps over a tight pack of dicing F2000 cars in the No. 12 Metrik. Reid's two laps in the lead were his first in F2000 competition, as he held off a swarm of cars battling among themselves directly behind him.
"It was a little chaotic on the last lap. There were cars off and I was trying to pass Dave (Weitzenhof)," said Reid, who betters his best-ever result of fourth with a third-place run at VIR. "He's a tough guy to get by and I managed to get a run on him through the esses and I was able to pull the pass off and get third. We keep making progress on this car, it's fun working with the R-Sport group."
Dave Weitzenhof followed in fourth after running as high as third, and was followed by Chris Gumprecht, in fifth, and Jenna Grillo, from K-Hill Motorsports, in sixth.
Tom Fatur also featured among the mid pack of battling cars for most of the race, as did Peter Gonzalez, with both drivers failing to finish.
Qualifying for the final F2000 race of 2016 takes place on Saturday afternoon, followed by round 14, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.