Top-10 Finish for Keane at Lucas Oil Raceway
 May 27, 2018| 
  • Team News
JGS_2018-Indianapolis-500-113414 (1200x476)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Young Darren Keane added to his growing racing resume with a solid oval debut this weekend as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda staged Round Five of the 2018 season at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. Keane posted competitive times in practice and brought home a seventh-place finish in the race on Friday night. 

With the highly anticipated Mazda Road to Indy events staged on “Freedom Friday” Keane and his No. 36 Newman Wachs machine were eager for the first and only oval race on the 2018 USF2000 calendar.

After watching Keane take on the 0.686-mile oval at Lucas Oil Raceway, fans would never guess that it was his first time competing on an oval. Posting the third quickest time in Thursday’s practice session, Keane was looking forward to seeing what the Freedom 75 had in store. 

After a solid qualifying run that placed him sixth in the order for the start of the 75-lap race, Keane used the fast moving outside line at the drop of the green flag to move up the order. With a quick 23-second lap, tire management would play an important role for success at the close of the race.

Keane drove heads up race through the first quarter of the 75-lap sprint and cleanly maneuvered through slower traffic as he was able to comfortably hold seventh.

Two back-to-back caution periods took nearly 20 consecutive laps under yellow which forced an all out sprint to the finish once the track went back to green on lap 48. Keane had his forward progress blocked by lapped traffic, which was frustrating on what became a one-groove track. As the laps clicked off, the 30-minute time limit for the race came in to play as the checkered flag flew after 58 laps and Keane came home in seventh. 

“I am a little disappointed with how the race turned out,” said Keane. “During practice I had such a strong car and we were one of the fastest cars over the long run. Today we picked up a push and it was hard to get the lap times we needed to move forward. But this was my first oval, we were able to get good points and the car is in one piece and we will come back stronger at the next one. Overall, I really enjoyed by first go at an oval. I love being close to the wall and I think that really helped me to quickly adapt to it.”

Despite facing adversity during Friday’s event, Keane was pleased with the amount of track time and practice that he was able to clock in prior to the Friday event race.

“This weekend was really awesome because we were able to have more on track sessions than we have had so far this year,” said Keane. “We got two and a half hours of track time and when you are doing a 22-23-second lap, that’s pretty awesome.”

USF2000 competition will take on the 4.014-mile road course at Road America for a series test on June 11-12 before heading back to the Wisconsin-track for Rounds Six and Seven on June 22-24.
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