Trio of Alberico, Johnson, and Miller left with nowhere to go in Lap Two incident at Lucas Oil Raceway
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. – For multiple junior formula car champion JDC MotorSports, the lone oval race on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda calendar proved to be a short affair on Saturday night (May 26). While the talented three-car line-up of Neil Alberico, Michael Johnson, and Chris Miller showed the potential to fight for positions at the front of the field during the prestigious Night Before the 500 event, an early race multi-car incident ended their chances prematurely at Lucas Oil Raceway.
For JDC MotorSports, Memorial Day weekend means a traditional trip to Indianapolis for oval racing. In 2012, that meant a three-car USF2000 effort during the Night Before the 500 event as part of the Indianapolis 500 festivities. While two of the racers - Alberico and Johnson - under the team awning had never raced on an oval, confidence was high entering the lone circle track on the series calendar.
Well aware that car setup is key to succeeding on the 0.686-mile banked oval, the opening test run - which was shortened by rain - and two race day practice sessions were spent working on fine tuning car balance for all three talented racers. The end result was Alberico's No. 19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/ Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports entry cracking the top-10 in all three outings. Miller also learned a great deal in his the No. 85 Stockholm Karting/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports car, and Johnson, who is paralyzed from the chest down, found more and more speed.
Using the information and data gained in the three sessions, the JDC cars were poised to be among those to watch in single-car qualifying. Alberico and Johnson promptly did just that. The reigning Team USA scholarship winner posted the fifth fastest two-lap combined time, while Johnson impressed everyone by placing his No. 54 Universal Coating/Alpinestars/Coloplast/ FlatOutNation.com/Red Line Oil/Movement Arts Motorsports Marketing/JDC MotorSports car ninth on the scoring charts. Miller, unfortunately, gambled on a qualifying setup and struggled to match the speed of teammates, posting an unrepresentative 18th fastest two-lap time.
After a short break, it was time to go racing in front of a large crowd at the Indiana oval. When the green flag waved for the planned 75-lap affair, all three racers got away cleanly, immediately battling for positions. The race changed dramatically one lap later however. Entering Turn One for the second time, a car just behind the leaders spun, commencing a multi-car incident. Alberico, who was right behind, was immediately collected, becoming airborne. Johnson and Miller likewise had nowhere to go, ending up sidelined for the duration of the event. Fortunately, all three JDC racers exited their cars unharmed. Definitely a disappointing end to what was poised to be a strong effort by JDC MotorSports.
"Unfortunately there is a large percentage of motorsport that is out of your control, and as a team we have to move on and continue to work hard together to fight for wins at the next event," commented Alberico. "We will turn our luck around and leave this race behind us. I cannot thank all the JDC boys enough for all their effort, and I am now focused on bouncing back at Mid-Ohio."
"I was really happy with a great qualifying run, but that just didn't seem to matter in the race," stated Johnson. "I spun and missed the wreck in front of me, and thought I was going to be able to continue the race, but then I was hit from behind. It was unfortunate, but I chalk it up as an additional experience, and I'm looking forward using what I learned at the next race in Mid-Ohio."
"With the speed we showed at the test, I expected to have a really strong weekend," added Miller. "Unfortunately we made a mistake for qualifying that caused us to start in the back. I was still positive heading into the race, and felt like we could move forward quickly and achieve a good result. We gained a few positions at the start, but unfortunately were then hit from behind when slowing up to avoid an incident. We haven't had the results we had hoped for yet, but I am confident they will come soon."
The JDC MotorSports drivers and crew now have another lengthy hiatus before resuming their pursuit of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda top honors. Next up is Rounds Six and Seven at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 4-5. The Minnesota-based squad enters the doubleheader sixth in the team standings.
JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from www.RedLineOil.com
Additional information on JDC MotorSports can be obtained from the team’s website @ www.jdcmotorsports.com For direct contact, please contact John Church @ 952-233-3075.
Learn more about Neil Alberico at neilalberico.com and keep up to date via Twitter @ NeilAlberico and his Facebook page @ Neil-Alberico-Racing.
Learn more about Scott Hargrove at scotthargrove.com keep up to date via Twitter @ Scott_Hargrove and his Facebook page @ ScottHargroveMotorsports.
Learn more about Michael Johnson at michaeljohnsonracing.com keep up to date via Twitter @ Racer54isCool and his Facebook page @ Michael-Johnson-Racing.
Learn more about Zac Silver at zacsilver.com keep up to date via his Facebook page @ Zac Silver.
### About JDC MotorSports:
Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC MotorSports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers. In 2005, JDC MotorSports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC MotorSports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition. The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. The following year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Phillippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. In 2011, the Minneapolis-based squad captured its third Star Mazda Championship title with Tristan Vautier, scored a win in the USF2000 National Championship, and made its Prototype Lites Championship debut, earning five podium finishes. JDC MotorSports will contest the Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 Championship and Prototype Lites Championship in 2012.