McCusker Holds Off Paul at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH - John McCusker won his second career F2000 Championship Series race, getting by Kaylen Frederick for the lead and then holding off Tim Paul and managing a small gap over the last few laps to the checkered flag. It's the first win for McCusker at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as he took the No. 01 DotWorks Racing entry to victory lane by less than a second over Paul while Frederick completed the podium.
"It was an exciting race. We had a good start and the car handled great. Tim was putting the pressure on at the end," said McCusker, who started fifth on the grid in round seven of the season after a wet qualifying session in the morning.
Tim Paul charged to second in the No. 6 R-Sport Van Diemen after starting in sixth position, improving on his third place run that came at Indianapolis in June.
"We were running John down at the end. He was flying through turn one and 13, he was willing to wreck the car to get it done. We made it up the rest of the lap and he'd pull away again, it was a good back and forth battle," Paul said.
With the green flag in the air, it was Team Pelfrey's Frederick that launched into the lead from pole, leading the first three laps in the all-green-flag 19-lap race. Frederick would settle for third place in the No. 80.
"We came here yesterday and had a small incident in practice one. I was back up to the pace and it was a fun race. I couldn't stay with the guys but we'll see what happens tomorrow," Frederick said.
Points leader Brandon Dixon had a solid run to fourth from ninth on the grid, also winning the Masters Class.
"I can't complain given the starting position we had and the troubles in qualifying," Dixon said. "I worked the early part of the race to stay out of trouble and be here in the end."
In his return to F2000 Series competition after a multiple-year hiatus, Aaron Pettipas drove from 14th to finish fifth.
Reece Everard also battled back from problems earlier in the weekend to a sixth place finish, while Dave Weitzenhof and Connor Gawry followed.
Other story lines included Robert Allaer, who got around Frederick in turn one on lap four and took the lead, eventually having a six second margin in the LTD Motorsports Van Diemen before problems ended his day.
John LaRue never quite made it through the field after a rough qualifying session, visiting the pits multiple times.
Championships contenders Steve Jenks and Bob Reid also tangled, ending their days in turn two early in the race.
Cape Motorsports driver Oliver Askew started the race from pit road, and finished tenth.
F2000 racers next take to the track with a similar Sunday schedule at Mid-Ohio, with a morning qualifying session followed by a 19-lap race in the early afternoon.