Corry, Christodoulou Split NOLA USF2000 Honors
 April 7, 2024| 
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NEW ORLEANS, La. – Defending series champion team Pabst Racing continued its momentum by scoring a fourth USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire victory on the trot this morning at NOLA Motorsports Park. Sam Corry, from Cornelius, N.C., emerged as top dog in the first of two races today, although later in the afternoon the streak finally was broken when Canada’s Nico Christodoulou claimed his and VRD Racing’s first win of the season.

Evagoras Papasavvas (Jay Howard Driver Development), 16, from Loveland, Ohio, continued a fine streak of his own by completing a sweep of second-place finishes from this weekend’s Continental Tire Grand Prix of Louisiana tripleheader. Papasavvas thereby maintained some pressure on 15-year-old points leader Max Garcia (Pabst Racing), from Coconut Grove, Fla., who once again displayed his paces today by claiming two pole positions as well as a third and a fourth-place finish.

The final podium position, third in the final race this afternoon, was taken by another 16-year-old, Max Taylor (VRD Racing), from Hoboken, N.J.

Garcia led the field to green in the first race of the day after posting the fastest time in qualifying yesterday to claim his third Continental Tire Pole Award of the young season. But he immediately came under siege from outside front row starter Christodoulou, whose attempt to make a pass under braking for Turn 10 saw both cars make contact and run wide on the exit. Pabst Racing’s Hudson Schwartz, from Arlington, Va., grasped the opening with both hands and swept through into the lead.

Schwartz held his advantage for the first five laps before Taylor executed a nice pass for the lead, only to lose control and spin just a couple of laps later on the entry to Turn Four. Even more unfortunately, teammate Christodoulou, running directly behind, was forced to take evasive action. The Canadian rejoined at the back of the field, whereupon he mounted a tremendous charge which included posting the fastest lap of the race to rise all the way to seventh at the checkered flag. Christodoulou posted a new lap record for good measure.
 
Papasavvas profited most from the fracas, jumping from fourth to the lead, albeit chased menacingly by all three Pabst cars in the order Schwartz, Garcia and Corry.
 
However, following a brief caution period, Papasavvas was slow to pick up the pace at the restart and was immediately jumped by an on-the-ball Corry, who leapt from fourth to the lead and maintained his advantage to the finish for his first race win of the season. He also secured another PFC Award for team owner Augie Pabst.

Papasavvas, in second, stretched his sequence of podium finishes this season to four, while Garcia overcame the early incident to complete the podium in third ahead of Schwartz and Taylor.

DC Autosport’s Ayrton Houk, from McCordsville, Ind., moved from 17th on the grid to 11th to earn the Tilton Hard Charger Award.

Garcia took another Continental Tire Pole Award by virtue of the second fastest laps set by each driver in qualifying yesterday afternoon, but once again was unable to capitalize as Christodoulou pounced around the outside of Turn One to grasp an early advantage.

Teammate Taylor muscled his way past soon after a mid-race restart, although after another incident which was cleared in time for a three-lap dash to the checkers, Christodoulou returned the favor and swept on to take the victory spoils. He also earned a PFC Award for Dan Mitchell as the winning team owner.

Papasavvas took second place at Turn Three after Taylor lost a little momentum, while Garcia shadowed them home in fourth and Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), from Golden, Colo., completed the top five.

DEForce Racing’s Maxwell Jamieson, from Houston, Texas, claimed his second Tilton Hard Charger Award of the weekend after climbing from 19th on the grid to 11th.

Next on the docket for USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire will be a doubleheader event held in conjunction with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit on May 9-11.

Provisional championship points after 5 of 18 races:
1. Max Garcia, 139
2. Evagoras Papasavvas, 123
3. Sam Corry, 111
4. Nico Christodoulou, 85
5. Joey Brienza, 69
6. Quinn Armstrong, 66
7. Max Taylor, 65
8. Elliot Cox, 63
9. Hudson Schwartz, 62
10. Ayrton Houk, 49

Sam Corry (#23 Redline Oil/Stilo/Simpson Race Products-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22): “It was an interesting race. I started P6 on the grid, and I think we were P4 on the second to last restart. My (spotter) Nate came on the radio and said ‘green, green, green’ and they weren’t going so I went. I took advantage of that and passed everyone in front of me and got a good gap. Then the yellow came out again, but I made a good restart with a couple of guys behind us napping. It’s a good start to the season and good to rack up some points.”

Nico Christodoulou (#2 VRD Racing Tatuus USF-22): “The race was pretty good. We started in P2 and I was able to get around Garcia on Lap One. I started to gain a good lead and then we went to a full course yellow. I then got passed and was shuffled but was able to pass my teammate to get a double podium.”

Evagoras Papasavvas (#6 Ares Elite Sports Vision/D1 Training-Jay Howard Driver Development Tatuus USF-22): “Race Two was eventful. The goal really was to stay out of crashes and that’s what I did and that is a big part of my result. Overall, a good result and good for the points. I finished ahead of Max Garcia, which is always good for the championship. It was a pretty good result again in Race Three, second again. It is both frustrating and satisfying at the same time. All the races I have competed in so far, I have finished on the podium. It’s the kind of consistency that wins championships and that is what I am after.”

Max Garcia (#24 Advance Auto Parts-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22): “It was hard. I got run over at the start and really couldn’t do much on that. The car was amazing and we managed to get back up in P3. As always, thanks to Pabst Racing, Advanced Auto Parts, OMP and Bell.”

Max Taylor (#3 PINK ETF/Susan G Komen Foundation-VRD Racing Tatuus USF-22): “Starting off in P3, I knew the VRD car was going to be really fast. I tried to work together with my teammate Nico Christodoulou. We were able to run one-two throughout most of the race. I was able to take the lead but, unfortunately, on the restart I dropped back a bit but was able to keep P3 for a solid podium result.”
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