Andrews Shows More Promise at USF2000 Finale
 October 7, 2013| 
  • Team News

Scott Andrews has again showed front-running potential in the final two rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Reliant Park, Houston.

Despite non-finishes in both races – one caused by another driver, and the other by what he described as a “rookie error” on the rain-soaked 2.7km Texan venue – Andrews punched well above his weight in his street circuit debut.

Increasing the degree of difficulty was a temporary chicane around severe bumps in the high-speed kink at the end of the start/finish straight. But Andrews stormed to sixth fastest of the 23 starters in qualifying after an early puncture cost him much of the crash-shortened session.

Fifth-fastest time in the warm-up session for Saturday’s first 30-minute race was even more promising for the young Aussie racer. But his top-five chances in the race faded when different track conditions didn’t suit his car. They disappeared entirely after he was hit from behind by another competitor on Lap 6.

“I felt confident going into the race,” Andrews said. “My car didn't feel good in the warm-up after we changed the set-up, so even though I was fifth quickest I wasn't pushing hard. We reversed the set-up for the race, but by then the track had changed with more rubber down. There was too much understeer for me to be on the same pace as the front guys. I was sitting comfortably in sixth place when another driver caught me and tried to overtake at Turn 8, which isn’t normally a passing place. His rear wing hit my car when I was at the apex of the corner, and that sent both of us into the concrete wall.”

With the starting order for Sunday’s race set by drivers’ fastest qualifying or race laps, the young Aussie was relegated to 11th with his work cut out to climb through the field on the narrow serpentine circuit.

Steady rain made his task even harder, but by lap eight he was up to sixth and eyeing a top-five finish. Then a momentary brake lock-up into the right-angled Turn 3 sent him down the escape road – and into another car already parked there. The damage to Andrews’ car was minor, but enough to prevent him from continuing in the race.

“My car was pretty wrecked after the first race, but the JDC Motorsport boys did a great job to fix it for Sunday,” he said. “In the second race the visibility in the rain was pretty bad, but I found that I had the speed to catch the cars ahead. Just when I was lining up a pass for fifth place, I locked a front brake on a white line going into Turn 3 and that was that. It was a rookie driving error that I’ve learned from for the future.”

Although Andrews was disappointed that his qualifying form didn’t convert into race results, he was satisfied with his performance in only his second race meeting driving a ‘wings and slicks’ openwheeler in the highly competitive international series.

"I'm pleased with how I went first time out on a street circuit, even though it mightn’t look great on paper,” he said. “Nearly every time I went onto the track I was just a few laps away from matching the times of drivers with a lot more experience in these cars. I’d like to thank John Church and his team at JDC Motorsports for all their help since I arrived in the USA just over a month ago.I hope that I can come back next year and do a full series with JDC in USF2000 or even the next level Pro Mazda Championship."

RESULTS summary

Practice 1: 6th (-1.217sec.)

Qualifying: 6th (-1.008sec. despite early puncture.)

Round 13: DNF (Incident with another driver while running sixth.)

Practice 2: 5th (-1.051sec.)

Round 14: DNF (Started 11th, hit parked car after brake lock-up on wet road marking while running sixth.)
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