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Neil Alberico Gets Redemption in Sebring Race #2

Despite dominating the Cooper Tires Winterfest, Neil Alberico had the worst possible start to the full Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda: a last place finish in Race #1. With his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Scott Hargrove taking advantage of his misfortune and cruising to an easy win, Alberico was determined to make an impact in Race #2 at Sebring International Raceway. Making it past the first lap today, Alberico was able to mount a charge and take the victory, leading home a Cape Motorsports 1-2.

Hargrove started the race on pole, but found the competition fiercer in the second race of the weekend. Unlike yesterday, when he streaked out to an early lead, Hargrove was overtaken by Andretti Autosport’s Garrett Grist and Alberico during a crazy first lap. An incident on the first lap left Peter Portante and Florian Latorre off course and out of the race and neutralized the field under yellow for three laps.

When the race resumed on Lap 5, Alberico sprung to life, managing to squeeze past Grist and into the lead on Lap 6, bringing Hargrove with him. Unlike yesterday when Grist scythed through the field, today Grist was left to drop back from the lead to his eventual finishing position of fifth. Danilo Estrela put in another solid drive, working his way from seventh on the grid to third place, securing a double podium to start the season. Jesse Lazare of Pabst Racing Services was able to turn in a great performance, overtaking Grist and holding him off for fourth place.

Wyatt Gooden of Afterburner Autosport and Jason Wolfe, teammate to Lazare, both turned in inspired drives. After starting the race in 13th and 14th, respectively, they both worked their way through the field to finish the race in sixth and seventh.

Henrik Furuseth, who started on the outside of the front row due to very quick race pace in Race #1, didn’t have the same kind of pace today and finished in eighth. Canadian Stefan Rzadzinski, who finished fifth yesterday, finished just behind Furuseth in ninth. Brandon Newey rounded out the top ten.

After one weekend of racing, the points standings are as follows: Hargrove (58), Estrela (-14), Grist (-16), Alberico (-25), and Lazare, Rzadzinski, and Gooden in joint fifth (-29).

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda returns next weekend with another doubleheader weekend on the Streets of St. Petersburg in support of the opening round of the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.


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Written 03-15-2013, 09:01 pm
Updated 03-15-2013, 09:37 pm
Written by B. Ewer
Photography US F2000

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