Franzoni, Afterburner Victorious at Cooper Tires Winterfest
 February 25, 2015| 
  • Team News
Brazilian scores Round #2 triumph to show team’s pace and focus on race wins

New Orleans, La. – Afterburner Autosport continued its early-season strength by scoring a big victory in the second USF2000 race of the Cooper Tires Winterfest series at NOLA Motorsports Park last week, topping a field of 18 competitors. Team driver Victor Franzoni battled an electrical issue in qualifying for the first event on Friday, and despite starting deep in the field as a result, the Brazilian rocketed to the front to take the lead and the eventual win.  Team USA Scholarship driver Michai Stephens joined Afterburner for the event as well and used the first three races of Winterfest to get himself up to speed in his USF2000 debut.

“After the issues we had in qualifying, the second race was very special because I started in P7, I went to P4 in the first corner and after three laps I was leading, so I felt great winning this race,” Franzoni enthused. “It was very difficult, but in the end it was a great result. For Barber, I'm very confident. We have a good set-up and last year I had good results there. What is a doubt for everybody is the snow and the rain that looks to be on the way. If it rains, it'll change a little bit, but I'd love to race in the rain again. I'm confident and happy, and I'm sure we'll have good results here. I expect to fight for the victory.”

Franzoni is entering his sophomore season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, and is certainly a primary contender for the title in 2015.  He is enjoying considerable momentum thanks to impressive speed in pre-season testing, and he comes into the new year with confidence in himself and his team.  Stephens has been an exciting addition to the squad and will look to take what he learned in New Orleans to apply this week in Alabama.  The Illinois resident was so impressive last fall as part of the Team USA Scholarship program, finishing on the podium at the annual Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford event at the famed Silverstone facility.

“We’re all fired up thanks to our first USF2000 win of the year, and we’re focused on spring-boarding off this success to start a great season,” commented Tim Walsh, Afterburner Autosport Team Principal. “Adding Michai to the program has been such a big positive, and we can’t wait to see what he can do at Barber now that he’s had his first taste of our USF2000 car.”

The duo is ready to take to the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park circuit on Wednesday for practice, qualifying and Race #4 for this year’s Winterfest program, but pending weather could wreak havoc on the schedule.  A full schedule is planned for Thursday as well.

Afterburner still has two open race seats for the 2015 season, and these cars are prepped and ready to race in St. Petersburg to kick off the new year.

Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website at www.AfterburnerAutosport.com  For direct contact, please email afterburnerautosport@gmail.com or call Tim Walsh at 612-581-2499. Keep up-to-date via Twitter @ABautosport1 and the team’s Facebook page @Afterburner-Autosport

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, has continually developed and grown as it joined the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. In 2013, Afterburner Autosport scored its inaugural series wins with rookie Alex Baron. Last year, the highly regarded team won again with Victor Franzoni and finished fifth overall in the series championship.
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