Hunter McElrea Dominates Mid-Ohio to Boost Title Hopes
 July 31, 2019| 
  • Team News
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Rounds 10 & 11 of the USF2000 Championship proved to be a stunning weekend for the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Champion and 2018 MRTI Scholarship Shootout Winner Hunter McElrea.
In the last round, Hunter trailed the championship lead by a seemingly daunting 41 points in the quest for a scholarship valued at over $300,000 USD to move up to Indy Pro 2000 competition, the next rung on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. However, after this weekends spectacular performance from the young kiwi, he now sits only nine points behind heading into the final two race weekends of the year.
McElrea started the weekend off with a bang, setting quick lap in the first and only practice session of the weekend with a 1:21.4242, a full tenth of a second clear of the next car behind. Hunter was able to carry this impressive momentum with him into qualifying, as he stormed to not one but two dominant pole positions for races one and two, sweeping the weekends pole positions.
Race 1 saw Hunter drop to third in the opening laps, and the young gun had his work cut out after being stuck fighting in an aggressive battle over the second place spot. Eventually overcoming this, Hunter swiftly moved into the second-place spot and brought home his eighth podium finish for the year out of 10 races.
Race 2 was time for redemption. Clearly having learned from his mistake the day before, McElrea made an exemplary start off pole position in the 20-lap race, and maintained his advantage on the opening lap. From there Hunter set the pace, and brought his #22 Pabst Racing/Mazda Motorsports USF2000 to an exceptional lights to flag victory with the fastest lap.
Ecstatic with his weekend, McElrea praised his teams efforts, and thanked his loyal sponsors.
“We really dominated this weekend, quickest in practice and double pole, but I had a bad first lap yesterday and lost the win there, because the rest of the race I was just battling with slower cars. But today was our day. It wasn’t easy – it’s never easy – but that was as close to a perfect race as I’ve come.
"I knew Christian would be quick early on because he had new tires, so I had to have a clean start and just keep hitting my marks. Once we had a good gap, it was just about maintaining that. I pushed a bit toward the end to get fast lap, because every point is important, but then we backed it off to bring it home. Pabst Racing deserves this, they’ve put a lot of belief in me and given me an amazing opportunity as has Mazda Motorsports, so I’m so happy. It was an amazing weekend and we have momentum now. My focus is just to keep doing this, worrying about my own performance and getting as many points as I can. If I keep working hard, I’ll keep getting up here.”
After a five week break, Hunter heads to Portland, Oregon, for Round 12 and 13 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship,where he will continue to fight for the championship honours.
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