JDC MotorSports guides Toppe to impressive weekend in Indianapolis
BROWNSBURG, IN – Racing is all about consistency and improvement…on the track and off the track, never staying in one place, never plateauing in one’s performance. JDC MotorSports driver Clark Toppe symbolized this philosophy this past weekend as he contested the seventh race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Racing at the Lucas Oil Raceway in the ‘Night Before The 500’ event, which was part of the festivities for the 98th Indianapolis 500, Toppe spring-boarded off a fourth place result at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis just two weeks ago to secure yet another top-five finish at the series’ only oval race of the year. Toppe was constantly climbing positions, and improved his lap times all weekend, starting with the test sessions on Friday through to the checkered flag on Saturday night.
“The weekend went really well,” Toppe offered. “We showed good pace in practice and made a lot of changes that kept bettering the car. We knew how important qualifying would be, so we prepared as much as possible. It paid off with a top-five starting spot and we kept the same position in the race. It was a huge improvement from last year, when I could only pull off a 19th-place finish. Thank you to JDC MotorSports for giving me a great car to earn us a great result."
Toppe’s weekend began with series test sessions on Friday afternoon. Toppe’s team unloaded his #97 entry off the JDC MotorSports hauler and went to work on preparing the car for the 5/8-mile banked oval. The first 30-minute session is where Toppe began his climb to the top. Toppe logged 68 laps, and finished the first on-track session to set the baseline. In the second session, Toppe dropped two-tenths of a second and climbed to 11th on the speed charts, after sitting 14th following the opening run. His mechanics made more calculated adjustments to the car, and Toppe cut an additional four-tenths of a second off his previous session to end the day as the fifth-fastest driver of the 21-car field.
Saturday was race day for the USF2000 pilots. After morning practice, Toppe turned his focus to qualifying. Track position would be at a premium on the oval, and single car qualifying carried significant weight as each driver ran two timed laps as the combined time to set the grid. Toppe’s JDC machine was hooked up, as he was one of only five drivers to break the 22-second barrier. Toppe ran a 22.066 on his first lap before laying down a 21.890 on his second qualifying lap. The combined time was good enough to start Saturday night’s race in the fifth position on the grid, the inside of row three.
When the green flag dropped on the race, Toppe was a threat from the start. The front five were all over each other for the opening laps, with Clark constantly engaging in battles to move up the leaderboard. As the 75-lapper rolled along, the Texan worked on the adjustments from within the cockpit and found a good balance in his JDC MotorSports entry, holding strong in the top-five. Toppe was impressive in that he lost very little pace from practice and qualifying, still managing to lay down fast laps late into the night. When the race ended, Toppe had maintained the fifth position throughout the evening and brought home a top-five finish.
Toppe’s strong month of May in Indiana ended with him sitting in the seventh position in the USF2000 championship standings. Toppe and JDC MotorSports will now turn their focus to a series test session, which is scheduled to take place on June 4-5 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington with the series competing at the venue in early August. JDC MotorSports will then field Toppe’s #97 entry at Round Eight and Nine of the 2014 season when the series heads north of the border to compete in the Honda Indy Toronto event on July 19-20.
JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from RedLineOil.com and HR-Sportswear.