Challenging Conditions for JHDD at NJMP
 August 30, 2021| 
  • Team News

Millville, N.J. –  Jay Howard Driver Development faced tricky wet conditions throughout the Thunder Grand Prix triple-header weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. In the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Christian Rasmussen scored his tenth podium of the campaign, but encountered bad luck in the final two races, while teammate Wyatt Brichacek was fast and consistent all weekend long. 

After Rasmussen took home a third place trophy in relatively dry conditions on Saturday, a challenging second qualifying session in the wet meant that both drivers started near the back on Sunday. Wyatt Brichacek showed his tenacity by pushing through the pack and finishing the weekend with a pair of P6 results. Trying his best to move towards the front, Rasmussen was unfortunate to have contact on the opening lap of both races. The team worked quickly to repair his damaged right rear suspension and send him back out on track in Race 3 to secure the fastest lap and valuable points. Christian enters the upcoming season finale with an 18-point lead in the championship.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship side of the Jay Howard Driver Development stable had an interesting weekend from a strategic perspective. In each of the Sunday races, they gambled by putting slick tires on the cars in changing conditions. The time spent in the pits saw both cars drop back, but Peter Vodanovich and Bijoy Garg both began lapping seconds faster than the rest of the field. Unfortunately, a number of issues hampered potential top 10 runs for both drivers. 

“The USF boys had challenging conditions all weekend,” said team owner Jay Howard. “Especially come race time, wet-dry, wet-dry. Pitstops. Different strategies going on. It was definitely a challenge for them, but the boys did a good job and we’ll move on to Mid-Ohio. On the Indy Pro 2000 side of things, the pace was really good all weekend and not a lot to show for it, to be honest. A podium which was good and was managing that championship battle, and then it just didn’t go good today, [on Sunday]. We had contact with multiple cars, losing front wings, and a number of things that just didn’t go our way. We will push forward and roll on to Mid-Ohio.”

The Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 championships return for the season finale double-header at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 1-3.


#6 Bijoy Garg

Round 14 – P20; Round 15 – P22; Round 16 – P19
“Tough weekend overall. We didn’t have the speed early, however we made some setup changes on the car that we thought would make it better. Qualifying I thought could’ve gone better. Overall I thought we had some decent pace in the races. Took a gamble, for today’s two races on slicks, that almost worked, but we had two issues that really cost us a good finish.”

#9 Peter Vodanovich
Round 14 – P17; Round 15 – P19; Round 16 – P22
“Tough weekend, unfortunately. We had a really good strategy today in the last two races. We were hoping for top 10s. Unfortunately, in the first one we had a pit stop error so we had to come back in, and in the second one we were really getting up there, but contact from another driver put us back and we couldn’t finish the race. The Jay Howard team did a great job this weekend and we’ll press on. We took a gamble and went on slicks and it was pretty cool passing the other drivers on wets. Definitely got a lot of overtaking experience and it was a ton of fun.”


#1 Christian Rasmussen

Round 14 – P3; Round 15 – P9; Round 16 – P9
“We’ve shown great pace this weekend. What was really unlucky was the second qualifying where we struggled a little bit. We had great pace, but haven’t been able to show it in the races, which is unfortunate… We started from the back row in Race 2. I got together with another driver, which kind of ruined my race. I had to come into the pits for a new front wing. The pace was really good. Same story in Race 3... I got out, pace was great, and I had the fastest lap of the race, which is another point in the championship, which is the most important thing right now, but a very unlucky weekend to be honest.”

#5 Wyatt Brichacek
Round 14 – P8; Round 15 – P6; Round 16 – P6
“We started the weekend pretty strong. Top five in the test sessions, P3 in practice. We unfortunately missed it in Quali 1 and started in the back in the first race. We made up two positions in that race… We bounced back in Race 2 and 3 with two P6 finishes. Hopefully we can go into Mid-Ohio feeling good, I’m feeling good right now… Hopefully we can break into that top five, maybe even a podium.”

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