Canadian Parker Thompson has secured his first career USF2000 pole position, and leads a Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing sweep of the front row for Friday afternoon’s first race at Barber Motorsports Park.
In a session that was halted twice within the last ten minutes, Thompson set a fastest time of 1m24.669s, leading his teammate and rookie rival from last year, Anthony Martin, who qualified second, just 0.05 seconds slower than Thompson’s best time. This is Thompson’s third consecutive front-row start to open the season, after starting second in both races in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Jordan Lloyd, the championship leader who won the first race at St. Petersburg, qualified third for Pabst Racing, alongside Victor Franzoni, who remains fourth on the grid despite bringing out a red flag with nine minutes to go in the session when his ArmsUp Motorsports car stopped on the backstretch.
The second red flag was caused when Kiwi James Munro spun off at turn eight with three minutes remaining – Munro ended the session in eleventh place.
Luke Gabin was the beneficiary of the two red flag periods, staying fifth on the grid despite mechanical issues leaving him stranded in the pits for over half the session. But with the late red flags halting anyone from improving their lap times and knocking Gabin from inside the third row, the Australian will keep his starting position – and have one extra set of sticker tyres to use for the two races this weekend.
It was a sensational qualifying for Ayla Agren, as she qualified sixth, matching her career best result from last year at Mid-Ohio. 14-year-old Jordan Cane was the top rookie in qualifying, seventh-fastest, leading the third Cape Motorsports car of Nikita Lastochkin, American Garth Rickards, and fellow rookie Robert Megennis who qualified eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively.
Of the notable drivers who missed the top ten, Yufeng Luo, the winner of the second race at St. Petersburg and second place in the championship, could only qualify 19th fastest out of 23 cars for this afternoon’s race.