Afterburner Autosport Exits USF2000 Championship Ohio Races with Top-10s
 August 12, 2013| 
  • Team News
Gooden, Newey, and Slaghekke each showcased talents during up-and-down tripleheader

MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. – The lone tripleheader on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda calendar on August 3-4 proved to be an up-and-down affair for Afterburner Autosport. The Minnesota-based squad ultimately exited Rounds Eight, Nine, and Ten at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Wyatt Gooden, Brandon Newey, and Jeroen Slaghekke each securing a top-10 finish. The talented drivers and team are now focused on ending the season with trips to the post-race podium, commencing in September in California.

Given the technical nature of the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course, the plan right from the get go upon rolling on-course was to work on car balance/setup through event testing and practice. With the information and experience gained during the opening four sessions, Gooden, Newey, and Slaghekke were poised to enjoy a strong outing in the sole qualifying session, which set the grid for race one of the IZOD IndyCar Series event triple bill. While Slaghekke was able to secure a row four starting position in the No. 18 Carriere/W-H Sports Group/Afterburner Autosport, both Gooden and Newey never got the true flying lap they desired, posting the 21st and 19th quickest times respectively.

Focused on continually improving, the drivers worked with the skilled Afterburner Autosport crew into the night to better their racing steeds. That being said, the entire USF2000 Championship was presented with a new challenge when Round Eight got underway on Saturday morning, as overnight and early morning rain resulted in very slick conditions. As expected, the race proved to be an eventful affair. Initially it appeared all three Afterburner cars were poised to have solid runs, unfortunately both Slaghekke and Newey got caught out by the lack of grip, losing multiple positions en route to unrepresentative results. Gooden, however, kept the spirits up under the team awning up, piloting No. 17 Autosport racing steed impressively all the way up to ninth in just three green flag laps.

A few hours later, the cars were back on-track for race two, this time under sunny skies and on a dry track. With grip levels back to the norm, the undulating Ohio track reverted to back to being one that is difficult to pass on. As a result, the 20-lap affair featured lots of nose-to-tail action with racers looking to capitalize on any mistake. Slaghekke in the end led the three-car Afterburner Autosport contingent, crossing the line in eighth, while Gooden and Newey advanced from 17th and 20th respectively on the grid to finish 14th and 16th.

The USF2000 Championship tripleheader concluded one day later with a dramatic morning race. Mere moments after the green flag waved on the back straight, contact at the front of the field translated into a wild 11-car incident. For Slaghekke this proved to be the end of his race, as he was unable to escape the carnage. Thanks some quick hands, and a little luck, Gooden and Newey kept their noses clean. Following a stoppage to clear the track, Newey steered No. 98 Curb Records/Calcium Pro/USANA/Miller Oils/OMP/Bell Helmets/Afterburner Autosport/Bryan Herta Autosport to a strong sixth place finish, followed closely by Gooden, who earned the Tilton Hard Charger award via eighth place at the line.

"All in all it’s been one of those character testing weekends," said Slaghekke. "I’m sure we will bounce back from this as a team. We are making progress with the car setup, and I’m sure that we will be more and more competitive in the coming races."

"We definitely had an eventful weekend in Mid-Ohio," commented Newey. "We were able to finish sixth in the third race, which I was happy about. I have to say thanks to all my Afterburner guys. They are definitely some of the hardest working guys in the paddock, and I think we will continue to prove that in these last four races."

"For sure it wasn't the weekend we had hoped for, but we managed to score enough points on our competitors to remain in the chase for Rookie of the Year honors," added Gooden.

The chase for top honors in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda resumes for the Afterburner Autosport trio of Gooden, Newey, and Slaghekke on September 7-8, when Rounds 11 and 12 take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Afterburner Autosport makes the journey to northern California fifth in the team championship, while Gooden, Newey, and Slaghekke are sixth, 13th, and 18th in the point standings respectively.

Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website @ For direct contact, email or call 630-251-1709.

Keep up to date via Twitter @ ABautosport1 and Facebook page @ Afterburner Autosport.

Learn more about Brandon Newey at and keep up to date via Twitter @ BNEWEY and Facebook @ Brandon Newey.

Learn more about Wyatt Gooden at and keep up to date via Twitter @ WyattGooden and Facebook @ Wyatt Gooden Racing.

Learn more about Jeroen Slaghekke at and keep up to date via Twitter @ JeroenSlaghekke and Facebook Jeroen Slaghekke Racing.


About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi and fellow F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota, Min.-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season in 2011, made its USF2000 Championship debut in 2012, fielding multiple cars in the top Championship class. The squad returns to the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program with an expanded multi-car effort in 2013.

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