Max Garcia Maintains a Perfect Start to his USF2000 Season
 April 6, 2024| 
  • Series News
Garcia_Race 1 USF
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Max Garcia and Pabst Racing remain unbeaten after the opening three rounds of the new USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire season. Garcia, 15, from Coconut Grove, Fla., took advantage of some squabbling in front of him on the opening lap of this afternoon’s opening leg of the Continental Tire Grand Prix of Louisiana tripleheader at NOLA Motorsports Park, vaulting from fifth on the grid to a lead he never looked likely to relinquish.

Evagoras Papasavvas, from Loveland, Ohio, also continued his strong start to the season for the Jay Howard Driver Development team, finishing second ahead of first-time polesitter Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), from Golden, Colo. All 15 laps were run under green-flag conditions.

Brienza capitalized on the pace he had displayed during yesterday’s test sessions by securing the first Continental Tire Pole Award of his young career during qualifying this morning. He duly held the lead  for most of the opening lap, only for Garcia’s Pabst Racing teammate Sam Corry, from Cornelius, N.C., to attempt a bold, late move under braking for Turn 10, which cost both protagonists valuable momentum and opened the door for Garcia to sweep through into the lead.

Papasavvas executed a more conventional maneuver at Turn One at the beginning of the second lap to demote Brienza one more position, but by then Garcia was already making his escape.

Garcia quickly extended his lead to over two seconds, setting what was to remain as the fastest lap of the race and gradually easing away to a comfortable victory.

Papasavvas couldn’t hold a candle to Garcia but remained clear of Brienza, who instead soon came under attack from a recovering Corry. The pressure intensified in the closing stages, although Brienza was up to the task and able to secure his first USF2000 podium finish.

Max Taylor (VRD Racing), from Hoboken, N.J., capitalized on a good start from 10th on the grid to finish fifth ahead of Hudson Schwartz (Pabst Racing), from Arlington, Va. Schwartz benefited from a last-lap incident between the unfortunate Elliot Cox (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development), from Indianapolis, Ind., and last year’s USF Juniors Presented by Continental Tire champion Nicolas Giaffone (DEForce Racing), from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Giaffone was later assessed responsibility for the clash, relegating him to 14th in the final results.

Ayrton Houk, from McCordsville, Ind., and DC Autosport teammate Carson Etter, from Villa Park, Calif., claimed their best finishes to date in seventh and ninth, sandwiching DEForce Racing’s Australian Quinn Armstrong.

Houston, Texas, native Maxwell Jamieson (DEForce Racing) also claimed both his best result in 10th and the the Tilton Hard Charger Award after rising from 21st on the grid.

Augie Pabst, who pocketed another PFC Award as the winning team owner, will start tomorrow in perfect position for one more after Garcia posted the fastest time in a second qualifying session earlier this afternoon. Garcia will therefore lead the field to the green flag for the second race of the weekend which will start tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Race Three will start at 1:15 p.m. Live coverage of both races will be available on the USF Pro Championships app and on the series’ website, www.usf2000.com.

Provisional championship points after 3 of 18 races:
1. Max Garcia, 96
2. Evagoras Papasavvas, 73
3. Sam Corry, 66
4. Elliot Cox, 49
5. Joey Brienza, 47
6. Quinn Armstrong, 41
7. Nico Christodoulou, 37
8. Ayrton Houk, 31
9. Hudson Schwartz, 28
10. Maxwell Jamieson, 27

Max Garcia (#24 Advance Auto Parts-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22): “We started fifth and got up to third at the initial start. I think it was Corry and Brienza who washed up the track into [Turn] 10 and I just took advantage of that and never looked back. The car was mega. This car is so good. It is hard to mess up this car. Thanks to Pabst Racing as always. They are an amazing team – the best team here – Advanced Auto Parts, OMP and Bell.”

Evagoras Papasavvas (#6 Ares Elite Sports Vision/D1 Training-Jay Howard Driver Development Tatuus USF-22): “It was a pretty solid race overall. Second place is not bad. It’s good points because the championship is the goal in the end. Three races and three podiums and I just want to keep this up, keep getting on the podium and obviously keep going for the wins. I started third, got up into second and had one attack for P1 but didn’t manage to make it stick. I am happy to walk away with this one.”

Joey Brienza (#91 Huntsman Mental Health Foundation/UBS-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus USF-22): “I am really happy with how the race went. Obviously, starting on pole, you want the win so a little bit disappointing there. It’s a long championship and the days you can bring it home on the podium and get the points, I am really happy with that. I want to give a big thank you my entire team at Exclusive Autosport, Michael and Kim Duncalfe, Louis D’Agostino and everyone at the Huntsman Mental Health Foundation for their support as well. It won’t be as easy tomorrow. We are starting P7, so we will have to just keep digging and go back to the chalkboard tonight to try to find a little pace and get  at it tomorrow and passing cars.”
 
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