Exclusive Autosport Scores Solid Points at Indy
 May 16, 2018| 
  • Team News
Exclusive Indy USF 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Exclusive Autosport brought its two-pronged Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires attack to the Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which was held his past weekend on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was another strong outing for the team’s newest ladder series program, the Pro Mazda series, and coupled with the performances of the operation’s USF2000 drivers, Exclusive Autosport left Indianapolis with five top-10 finishes and two drivers in the top-five of their respective championships.

The team fielded cars in both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at the event, and Canadian Parker Thompson persevered through mechanical issues early in the weekend to score his second victory of the year in the second Pro Mazda race, backing up a respectable fifth from Race 1. Fellow Canadian Antonio Serravalle continued his rapid development in his Tatuus PM-18, recording his best finish of the young season with a ninth in Race 1.  Exclusive’s USF2000 team started deeper in the field after struggling in qualifying, but they pushed through all weekend to post solid results in the races, advancing to fight for results in the top-10.  Igor Fraga started 12th in the opening race and moved to eighth, while Manuel Cabrera finished ninth in Race 2 from 22nd, which was his best finish to date.

“I am incredibly proud of the entire team,” offered Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “We had a few hurdles to overcome this weekend, however, the crew and drivers worked incredibly hard all weekend and never stopped pushing.”

Exclusive Autosport’s USF2000 duo of Fraga and Cabrera got off to a strong start to the weekend, learning the track and picking up speed during the Thursday test and practice sessions.  The drivers participated in the two separate qualifying sessions on Friday morning, which saw Fraga time in 12th for the first race of the doubleheader and 15th for the second race, setting up a challenge to work back into the top-10.  Cabrera was 20th and 22nd in the qualifying runs, setting the stage for an impressive run forward in both races.

In the opening race on Friday afternoon, Fraga ran clean and consistent and was rewarded with an eighth-place finish after having battled for a spot in the top-five, although the result was still his third straight top-10 to start the year. In a challenging turn of events, Igor had trouble getting off the grid at the start of Sunday morning’s Race 2, and was subsequently forced to start at the tail of the 26-car field.  

The Japanese-born Brazilian resident showed his racecraft and poise as he advanced into the top-10 shortly after the first of three full course cautions. Fraga crossed the line in 10th, but was hit with a 30-second time penalty for not leaving enough racing room on the final restart.  Cabrera was on the move in both races, advancing a stellar nine positions in Race 1 to finish 11th.  In the longer Saturday race, Manuel once again turned in a tremendous performance as he avoided the chaos and posted his first top-10 of the year in ninth.

Fraga’s strong weekend has locked him into fourth in the USF2000 championship standings, 51 points behind leader Kyle Kirkwood, while Cabrera has advanced to 18th, just three points out of 13th. With the disappointment of St. Pete behind him, watch for Cabrera to challenge for the remainder of the season.

“Manuel had a great weekend in the #90 USF2000,” Duncalfe added. “Driving from 20th and 22nd starting spots up to 11th and 9th respectively is fantastic! He drove smart, he drove well and is only scratching the surface of his true potential.  We didn't see the finishing positions that we expected or hoped for with Igor, however, there are always learning opportunities in each race and will take the positive momentum into Lucas Oil Raceway.”

The next stop on the MRTI trail will bring the drivers back to Indianapolis as both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda championships will return to the 5/8-mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway after a one-year absence.  The Carb Night Classic will be held on the evening of Friday, May 25 and will provide Exclusive Autosport’s drivers with the crucial oval experience that they will use on their entire journey towards the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with great companies, such as AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com), which is used on all their race cars.

EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

ROYAL PURPLE GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – INDIANAPOLIS, IN

IGOR FRAGA – USF2000 #91

Qualifying 1: 12th – 1:25.5469

Qualifying 2: 16th – 1:26.0270

Race 1: Start – 12th / Finish – 8th

Race 2: Start – 16th / Finish – 17th

Driver Quote: “The race weekend on Indianapolis was hard. We started by leading the first practice until the lasts minutes, eventually finishing in P5. Somehow, we dropped off in our performance during the weekend, and I was not able to keep the pace. In the both races, I focused on recovery, finishing in P8 and P11. To complicate things more, I had an incident at the end of the second race, and the organization believe that I caused the incident. They gave me a 30-second penalty and I went to P17 in the final results. That said, the experience to run at IMS was a dream come true! I wish I had better results, but this experience made me feel that I want to come back stronger and better next time. We are going to keep working hard to come back to the front of the field in the next race.”

MANUEL CABRERA – USF2000 #91

Qualifying 1: 20th – 1:26.0349

Qualifying 2: 22nd – 1:26.7099

Race 1: Start – 20th / Finish – 11th

Race 2: Start – 22nd / Finish – 9th

Driver Quote:" It was a roller coaster weekend! We struggled a bit on the setting of the car during the qualifying and that forced us to start at the back. But for the race we had a strong pace, which helped us to show our real potential, finishing 11th in Race 1 after qualifying 20th and then ninth in Race 2 after qualifying 22nd. We know where we need to work more to come back stronger for our next race in two weeks! I’d like to say a big ‘thanks’ to my sponsors Gateway Telecomunicaciones Mexico, ONE NATURE ORGANIC, PMC, and TCR."

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