28-Car USF2000 Field Heads to Baltimore
 August 29, 2012| 
  • Series News
Closely Contested Championship Primes for Key Doubleheader Round

PALMETTO, Fla. – The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda could not have written a better script. As the series prepares for a pair of USF2000 Baltimore Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products races this weekend in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series, battles wage throughout the championship point standings with not one driver secure in his or her current position.

The series’ last temporary street circuit event was in March and, after a string of five permanent road course competitions, drivers will have to dust off the cobwebs as they prepare to contest the challenging confines of the 2.02-mile, 12-turn course situated alongside the Inner Harbor area of downtown Baltimore. The action-packed weekend of racing will feature all levels of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system – a clearly defined path and scholarship program for drivers to advance from USF2000 to Star Mazda followed by Firestone Indy Lights with the ultimate goal of reaching the IZOD IndyCar Series.

For the third time this season, USF2000 welcomes Allied Building Products as a presenting sponsor. Allied is a wholesale distributor of exterior and interior building materials which services professional contractors. Headquartered in East Rutherford, N.J., the company operates in over 180 locations coast to coast. Allied will be entertaining guests this weekend from a half dozen states. 

“We are honored that Allied has expanded its role from one venue last year to three in 2012,” said Dan Andersen, President and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter. “They are a great partner and really know how to take advantage of this platform to provide a first-class experience for their guests and clients. If 2011 is any indication, we are in store for a great weekend of racing with tremendous fan support creating just a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone in our paddock looks forward to this event.”

Allied’s guests will serve as USF2000 trophy presenters and honorary starters in addition to enjoying private paddock tours, meet-and-greet sessions and evening events featuring series’ drivers. The Allied Building Products logo also will be displayed on all USF2000 entries.

“Allied Building Products is proud to sponsor the USF2000 Series at the Baltimore Grand Prix,” said Bob Feury Jr., CEO of Allied Building Products Corp. “The series features some of the sports best up-and-coming drivers and provides an exciting venue to entertain our key customers and business partners. Allied’s partnership and commitment to Andersen Promotions is strong and we are proud to be associated with such a professional organization.”

“This will be Allied’s fourth USF2000 series race title sponsorship and what better venue than in downtown Baltimore,” added Eric Grubbs, Great South Atlantic Regional Manager. “Our Allied branches here in the Mid-Atlantic along with our customers enjoy supporting young drivers as they progress toward the IZOD IndyCar Series through USF2000.”

On Point
After notching two wins in the last rounds of USF2000 competition at Road America on August 17/18, 18-year-old Matthew Brabham has vaulted into the lead of the standings dethroning championship rival Spencer Pigot. The Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates have been frontrunners throughout the season. Brabham (#83 DTE Group) now holds a 14-point advantage over Pigot (#2 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/E-merging Technologies/Parathyroid.com/California Scents) with four races remaining.

Not too far behind and mounting an impressive charge in the second half of the season is Scott Anderson (#14 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Neuropathy Testing Center/Laser Nail Centers featuring the OtterCares® Foundation).

The Belardi Auto Racing driver has finished on the podium in the last five events with two wins, two seconds and one third, claimed two poles and has finished in the top five in seven of 10 events. The 2011 Skip Barber National champion will be looking to give Brabham and Pigot a run for their money – literally, as the series’ champion receives a scholarship package from Mazda to contest the 2013 Star Mazda championship.

A maximum of 33 points are on offer per race to the driver that manages a perfect performance – 30 points for a race win with one bonus point each for pole, most laps led and fastest race lap.

Young Guns Battle for Lead in National Class
Rising talents RC Enerson, 15, and Henrik Furuseth, 16, continue to spar for top honors in National Class competition with a mere nine points separating the two. Each has claimed four wins with Enerson of ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing (#10 Patriot Bank/Team E) earning seven podium results and Furuseth of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (#32 Palfinger/Akrene Mek Verksted) six. As the duo prepare to face off this weekend, Enerson – who currently leads the standings – will be hoping for a case of déjà vu as the Florida native claimed a pair of wins at the last street circuit event in St. Petersburg.

Robinson Motor Sports’ Mark Eaton sits third in the standings after a series of consistent runs. The driver of the #92 Deathtolionfish.org/Valvoline entry has posted seven top-five results including one win, four seconds and one third, and trails Enerson by 28 points.

Ones to Watch
Several drivers are coming off their best performances to date in USF2000 to up the stakes. Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock, currently seventh in the championship in a tight mid-pack battle, claimed a career-high finish of fourth at Road America in the #8 Starstruck entry; Matthew Di Leo of MDL Racing claimed his third podium of the year with a second-place drive in the #56 Res Precast entry and is chasing Scott Anderson for third in the points; Scott Hargrove, who missed three races mid-season, was quickly up to speed posting a pair of top-10 drives with JDC MotorSports in the #38 Analytic Systems/ Race Energy/Skip Barber Racing School/Red Line Oil machine; and teammate Michael Johnson, the first paralyzed racer on the Mazda Road to Indy, earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after rising from 28th to 10th – his career best finish – in an all green-flag race aboard the  #54 SpeediCath/Coloplast/ Universal Coating/Alpinestars/ FlatOutNation.com/Red Line Oil/ Movement Arts Motorsports Marketing entry.

In the National Class, Cruzinc Racing’s Eric Cruz logged his best performance with a fourth-place finish aboard the #86 Cruz Associates entry; Patrick Gallagher of JAY Motorsports matched his career best with a third-place drive in the #91 CTL Engineering/ProMotion Driver Development/ Howard Concrete Pumping car; Patrick Linn posted a fifth-place drive in PRL Motorsports’ #48 entry; and J.R. Smart brought his #6 Smart Motors, Inc. Pabst Racing Services car home to fourth.

USF2000 Drivers Earn Scholarship Nods
Six USF2000 drivers are currently embroiled for top honors in two scholarship programs for fully funded rides in England later this year. Neil Alberico, 19, from Redlands, Calif. (#19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/Red Line Oil with JDC MotorSports) and Matthew Brabham, of Manalapan, Fla., are two of eight finalists for Team USA Scholarships. 

A Team Canada Scholarship is also on offer for nominees Dalton Kellett, 19, of Stouffville (#5 K-Line Insulators with Pabst Racing Services), Thomas McGregor, 20, of Saskatoon (#7 Dairy Queen/Exclusive Management with Andretti Autosport), Scott Hargrove, 17, of Vancouver, and Matthew Di Leo, 17, of Innisfil.

Both scholarships offer rides in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on October 27-28, with the Team USA program also offering the opportunity to contest the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on November 3-4 and the final two rounds of the Formula Renault BARC Championship at Silverstone on October 6-7.

USF2000 Driver JR Smart Embraces No Texting Campaign
JR Smart, a veteran USF2000 driver and owner of Madison, Wis., Smart Motors, Inc., is helping to spread the word about the dangers of texting while driving with the “I’m a Smart Driver” campaign in partnership with local high schools and law enforcement agencies.

“We visit schools, give out no-texting thumb bands and static cling stickers and meet with students to discuss the perils involved with that poor choice,” said Smart. “We have been doing this for over a year and have received a lot of positive feedback.”

Local Students to Learn How Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Transfer to Racing
USF2000 drivers and cars will be featured in an INDYCAR initiative which will bring 150 local Baltimore students to the track to learn how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) applies to racing. The Mazda Road to Indy location, one of five learning stations around the paddock, will be held at the USF2000 hospitality unit this Thursday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and will feature a full display of race cars from the three ladder series as well as a complement of representative drivers to discuss their racing equipment, jobs and various team member roles.

British Invasion
Interest in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda was at an all-time in 2012 with record-high 35-car grids and the addition of seven new teams. The series is poised to continue that growth next year as the Mazda Road to Indy continues to attract interest from around the globe.

This weekend, five British Formula Ford drivers will attend the Baltimore race to learn more about the ladder system. In addition to meetings with key constituents including INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard and Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport, who is represented on every level of the Mazda Road to Indy, drivers will be paired with USF2000 teams for a full behind-the-scenes experience short of actually driving the cars.

“I have to take my hat off to Jason Penix [Director, Grassroots Initiatives at INDYCAR],” said Andersen. “Jason is passionate about the Mazda Road to Indy and continues to move the goal posts to educate and provide up-and-coming drivers with opportunities in this program. INDYCAR’s recent partnerships with British Formula Ford, Canadian F1600 (Quebec and Ontario), La Tam Challenge Series in Mexico and Skip Barber Winter and Summer Series presented by Mazda will expose six new drivers to the ladder series in rides at our upcoming Open Test with Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 10/11. This is an exciting time at the entry levels and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

USF2000 Baltimore Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products Schedule
USF2000 track activity kicks off on Friday morning with a practice session at 8:00 am local time followed by qualifying at 1:15 pm. In addition, Mazda will be hosting a press conference at 11:00 am featuring all drivers from USF2000 and Star Mazda. The pair of races will take place on Saturday at 1:45 pm, just after IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying, and on Sunday at 10:35 am following IZOD IndyCar Series warm-up. Live Timing & Scoring is available at www.usf2000.com. The series is featured during the Mazda Motorsports Hour on the Velocity network.

Off track, USF2000 drivers will join Star Mazda drivers in an autograph session at 11:00 am on Saturday in the INDYCAR Fan Village and numerous Q&A sessions will be held over the course of the race weekend with USF2000 drivers on the INDYCAR Fan Village stage. 


About Allied Building Products: Allied Building Products has been a partner of Andersen Racing since 2008, entertaining hundreds of Allied employees, customers and guests over the years. After serving as presenting sponsor for one double-header round of USF2000 competition (operated by Andersen Promotions) in 2011, Allied will expand its role to three events this season – the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 24-25), the Mid-Ohio Grand Prix (August 4-5) and the Baltimore Grand Prix (September 1-2). Allied’s guests will serve as trophy presenters and honorary starters for all six races and will host dinners with select USF2000 drivers.

Allied Building Products Corp. is a wholesale distributor of exterior and interior building materials with $1.7 billion in annual revenues. Allied services professional contractors in 30 states with residential and commercial roofing, waterproofing, siding, windows, drywall, acoustical, metal framing and solar products along with all related accessories. Allied is a division of Oldcastle, Inc., the North American holding company for CRH plc (NYSE: CRH). For more information about Allied Building Products, visit http://www.alliedbuilding.com/.

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