McElrea Maximizes Tough Weekend at Laguna Seca
 September 26, 2019| 
  • Team News
McElrea Laguna Wrap 2019

Character building is the best way to summarize what young rising open wheel star, Hunter McElrea experienced during the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship finale at Laguna Seca. After dominating the second half of the season, with 4 straight Pole Positions along with 3 race wins in a row, McElrea entered the weekend with a 6 point championship lead.

Hunter started the weekend off by qualifying on the front row in 2nd position in Qualifying 1. This was after sitting on the provisional pole the whole session until his title rival, used 2 of his 3 sets of tires to out qualify the young Kiwi.

Race 1 was a thrilling performance from Hunter, which saw him pull off an incredible pass around the outside, that lasted for 4 corners on his way to grab his 12th Podium finish of the year out of 14 races. More importantly than this, Hunter was able to more importantly double his championship lead heading into the final race of the year.

Unfortunately, Qualifying 2 is where disaster struck for Hunter. A throttle position sensor failure meant that he would not even get to set a single lap in the session, and he would be forced to have to start rear of field in 18th Position for Race 2.

Refusing to give up, Hunter was able to put in a stellar drive, on one of the most notoriously tough tracks to pass on — coming up an impressive 11 positions from 18th to 7th. Despite this, and through no lack of effort, Hunter came up painfully short to winning the USF2000 Championship in his debut year in America.

“To say that I am devastated would be a massive understatement, I put everything into this and it is my life. To lose the championship in the last race, due to something out of my control & my teams control really hurts. They (Pabst Racing) deserve this as much as I do. “I’m not just racing for the bragging rights, or the trophy, I literally am racing for my career.”

“Apart from all the obvious disappointment right now, I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had this year. To be racing in the Soul Red Mazda Scholarship car, because of Mazda Motorsports USA & John Doonan, at this level in this awesome country is a dream come true in itself. I really have to thank all of my loyal supporters and backers back home, as well as all my friends and family. I love it here (United States), and I really hope that I can find some funding to come back over and race in Indy Pro 2000 next year."

McElrea now switches his focus to finding the financial support to compete in the next step on his way to IndyCar, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, after missing out on the $300,000 USD Scholarship.

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