Learning Experience for JDC MotorSports USF2000 Racers in St. Petersburg
 March 28, 2012| 
  • Team News
Talented five car line-up showed good speed prior to incidents in Rounds Three and Four

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. – The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg this past weekend (March 24-25) proved to be a character building affair for the talented five-car line-up under JDC MotorSports tent. While Neil Alberico, Scott Hargrove, Michael Johnson, Chris Miller and Zac Silver all displayed good speed and racecraft in Rounds Three and Four, they ultimately leave Florida without the representative results.

Only days after commencing their pursuit for USF2000 Championship glory at Sebring, the highly regarded JDC MotorSports contingent was back on-course via the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The second event on the championship calendar, however, introduced a whole new set of challenges, with none of the five JDC drivers having previously raced an F2000 car on the 1.8-mile concrete-lined street circuit. Given this fact, it came as no surprise that the plan was to use the opening Thursday practice run and follow-up Friday morning practice session to come to terms with the low grip course.

Despite multiple red flag stoppages limiting the overall number of laps in the two sessions, things were going according to plan, with Alberico (third in the second session) and Hargrove (fifth in the first session) leading the charge.

Aware that starting positions could play a vital role in attaining good results come race time, given the sheer size of the field (30+ cars) and limited passing opportunities common to a street circuit, all five JDC MotorSports racers were focused on getting in a true flyer in the lone qualifying session on Friday afternoon. The timed run proved to a be a successful affair, with Alberico's No. 19 Kartel Motorsports/Bondurant School/RaceLite Protection/ Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports entry just missing out on a front-row starting position with the third best time. Hargrove likewise impressed in his No. 38 Analytic Systems/Race Energy/CWS Industries/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports car, going eighth quickest . Miller made it three JDC cars in top-10, with the 10th fastest tour, while Silver and Johnson were just a few places back on the timesheets in 15th and 16th respectively.

The big concern for many of the drivers entering Round Three on Saturday in front of a large crowd, was making it through the often treacherous turn one. While the field did manage to successfully negotiate the right hander, Silver's race didn't last much longer, as his No. 93 California Scents/SeaDrill/FlatOutNation.com/Red Line Oil/Movement Arts Motorsports Marketing/Midwest Capital Limited/JDC MotorSports car came to a stop before completing one lap. Unfortunately, this proved to be just the beginning of what would be a less desirable race for JDC. Next to encounter trouble was Hargrove, as while battling for sixth place, the Canadian impacted the turn 10 tire barriers on lap 12, ending his race.

On the ensuing restart, it appeared JDC was still in good position to not only gather valuable points, but also potentially take home a podium result, with Alberico in third, Miller dueling for places within the top-10, and Johnson - paralyzed from the chest down - impressing onlookers just outside of the top-10. The potential podium result vanished on the final lap, when Alberico and another racer had contact while battling for third place. Miller as a result was the first JDC car to the stripe, taking the checkered flag in eighth in his No. 85 Miller Milling Company/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports entry. Johnson was next to the line in 13th, ahead of Alberico, limping his damaged car to a 17th place finish.

Returning to the cockpits one day later for race two of the doubleheader, the JDC contingent had but the results of the opening affair on the back burner, focusing on making the most of every opportunity in Round Four. In a repeat of race one, the stage was initially set for a strong outing, with Hargrove taking the green flag in third, and Alberico in 10th. With all five JDC cars getting away cleanly when the green flag waved, everything appeared to be going according to plan, as Alberico joined his teammate in the top-five, Miller and Johnson were in the fight for a top-10 spot, and Silver was rapidly charging forward from the rear of the field. Chaos, however, ensued on lap seven, when Hargrove was involved in an incident that also eliminated Alberico. 

While a five-lap dash to the checkered flag after clearing the debris allowed for some further passes for positions, only Silver was able to truly capitalize, advancing to 19th at the line. Johnson's No. 54 Universal Coating/Alpinestars/Coloplast/FlatOutNation.com/ Red Line Oil/Movement Arts Motorsports Marketing/JDC MotorSports car, having gotten as high as 11th before a last lap bobble, was the next JDC entry to the see the flag in 25th, one place ahead of Miller.

"Overall it was not one of the best weekends for myself or the team," stated Silver. "Not being able to turn a lap in the first race, forced me to start at the back of the field in the second race. While I was able to make my way through the field, a long full-course yellow shortened the time I had to advance positions. Despite this, I gave it my best effort, gaining 15 positions. I had great learning experience during my first street race in St. Petersburg. Big thanks to everyone at JDC MotorSports!"

"We've had a rough start to the season," said Alberico. "Unfortunately things have not gone our way. Despite our results, we know the pace is there, and that is a good feeling. We just have to continue to work hard as a team, and put all the pieces together."

"The St. Pete weekend went very well as a whole," commented Johnson. "I think I learned a lot more racing during this doubleheader then I did racing at Sebring. My car control is getting better each time out [Johnson uses hand controls], and I'm getting more comfortable running close with other cars. St. Pete is such a fun track. I really like it a lot! I can't wait to come back next year and show everyone what I can do. Now I'm really looking forward to racing at Lucas Oil Raceway next month, and improving my race skills even more."

The quest for Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda wins and podiums continues for JDC MotorSports on May 26, with the lone oval race of the season taking place at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Prior the single-race event during the famed 'Night Before the 500', the JDC drivers will take part in official series testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 2-3, immediately followed by a test at Lucas Oil Raceway on May 5. 

JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from www.RedLineOil.com

Additional information on JDC MotorSports can be obtained from the team’s website @ www.jdcmotorsports.com. For direct contact, please contact John Church @ 952-233-3075.

Learn more about Neil Alberico at neilalberico.com and keep up to date via Twitter @ NeilAlberico and his Facebook page @ Neil-Alberico-Racing.

Learn more about Scott Hargrove at scotthargrove.com keep up to date via Twitter @ Scott_Hargrove and his Facebook page @ ScottHargroveMotorsports.

Learn more about Michael Johnson at michaeljohnsonracing.com keep up to date via Twitter @ Racer54isCool and his Facebook page @ Michael-Johnson-Racing.

Learn more about Zac Silver at zacsilver.com keep up to date via his Facebook page @ Zac Silver.


About JDC MotorSports:
Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC MotorSports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers. In 2005, JDC MotorSports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC MotorSports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition. The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. The following year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Phillippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. In 2011, the Minneapolis-based squad captured its third Star Mazda Championship title with Tristan Vautier, scored a win in the USF2000 National Championship, and made its Prototype Lites Championship debut, earning five podium finishes. JDC MotorSports will contest the Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 Championship and Prototype Lites Championship in 2012.

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