Top Five for Nepveu on Streets of St. Petersburg
 February 28, 2022| 
  • Team News
St. Petersburg, Fla. - Oka-native Thomas Nepveu had a positive but challenging weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg. The 17-year-old was competing in the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship event of the season.

With minimal time on this technical track, the DEForce Racing #10 Cromwell | Pétrole Bélanger | Home Hardware | Karting Excellence driver quickly became one of the fastest drivers, finishing sixth in Thursday's practice session.

During the qualifying session on Friday morning, Nepveu proved to be unstoppable, setting pole position for the first race and the third fastest time for the second race of the weekend. Before the event, he had underlined the importance of setting a fast lap during qualifying, considering the difficulty of overtaking on this extremely narrow track. Nepveu set an impressive time of 01:12.7274, enough to claim pole position.
Starting from pole on Friday's race, Nepveu pulled a considerable gap on the rest of the field right from the start. After 15 laps, a slight driving mistake made him lose his lead. With the top three nose to tail, the tension was at its highest in the last laps. Turn 2 got the better of Nepveu and his competitor, who was then in second place but who attempted an overtake that didn’t work, provoking both drivers to crash out.
"I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't get the win," said Nepveu. "I was so close to our goal; what happened is unfortunate. It was a racing incident that could have been avoided. It's equally unfortunate for the DEForce Racing crew, who had to pull extra hours to fix my car in time for Sunday's race. However, I'm happy to have shown what we're capable of; it's only a matter of time before we are back up front!"

The second race looked promising for Nepveu, who started from third. However, the walls of St. Petersburg proved to be treacherous for the drivers on track as the race was stopped multiple times by cautions, leaving very little race time.

Nevertheless, Nepveu worked his way up, taking second place on the first lap. The rest of the race was nothing short of intense, as all the drivers on track had one goal in mind: to win. Nepveu settled for a top-five finish in the second race as he was at a disadvantage compared to his competitors in front.
"I'm not happy with my driving," explained Nepveu. " I lost confidence after the accident. We opted for a different strategy for Race 2 as I started on a new set of slick tires for Race 1. I had to do the second race on an old set. The drivers around me did the opposite, so they had an advantage."

He continued, "I'm still happy with my result because we scored some good points in the championship. We finished the race and got the car back in one piece, that's what's important. Now we have to take the positives from the weekend and forget the accident."

"It was a very positive first weekend with DEForce Racing," added Coy Arbour, Nepveu's sporting coach. "Unfortunately, the results didn’t reflect our true pace, especially on Friday when the win was taken away from us. Thomas crashed out from the lead, which wasn't Thomas' fault. We can't thank the DEForce Racing team enough for allowing us to put the car on pole position and lead nearly flag-to-flag during Friday's race. They did an incredible job rebuilding the car perfectly for Sunday's race. The car was extremely fast, and we had a good solid top five considering the accident. Now we look ahead to Barber, and we continue to aim for the championship!"
Thanks to his fifth-place result, Nepveu is in ninth position in the driver standings with 23 points. The next USF2000 events will be April 29-May 1 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. However, the DEForce Racing team will be back on track March 21-22 in Alabama for testing.
  • 24-06-12-jhdd1
    • Team News
  • Banner
    • Series News
  • Sam banner
    • Series News
  • GB-IRP-240523-07731_1200
    • Team News
  • Garcia Banner
    • Series News