Toronto GP Marks Road to Indy Canadian Return
 July 13, 2022| 
  • Series News
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PALMETTO, Fla. – Drivers on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder will join the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in making a long overdue return to Canada this weekend for an eagerly awaited Grand Prix of Toronto. A huge crowd is expected at the challenging 1.8-mile Exhibition Place street circuit, just a few miles from downtown Toronto, Ont., which plays host to North America’s premier open-wheel series for the first time since 2019, following COVID-induced cancellations in each of the past two years.

Two races each will be held for the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, both of which are reaching toward their conclusion with only two more weekends for Indy Pro 2000 and just one for USF2000 before the championships will be decided. At stake, uniquely in the world of auto racing, are a pair of scholarship prizes valued at over $1 million to ensure both champions’ graduation onto the next step of the ladder in 2023.

Foster Marches on in Indy Pro 2000
British rookie Louis Foster has emerged as odds-on favorite to win the Indy Pro 2000 title after a stellar maiden season of racing in North America with the Canadian-owned Exclusive Autosport team. Foster has finished on the podium at every one of the six event weekends so far this year, and his tally of four wins from the opening 12 races has allowed him to establish a handy advantage of 49 points over his closest challenger with just six races remaining.

Foster, 18, who hails originally from Basingstoke, England, established his credentials in a variety of categories in Europe, including finishing third in both the BRDC British F3 series and Euroformula Open before resetting his sights on the Road to Indy.

While Foster has opened up an appreciable points advantage, there is a group of talented youngsters looking to knock him off his perch. The level of competition is such that seven different drivers have won races, and all of the seven teams that will be represented this weekend have recorded multiple podium finishes.

Second-year driver Reece Gold, from Miami, Fla., remains as Foster’s closest rival, despite scoring only one podium finish from the six most recent races for Juncos Hollinger Racing. As one of only four drivers in the field with prior experience of the Exhibition Place venue, Gold will be looking to sharpen his title aspirations in this weekend’s L&W Supply Grand Prix.

Proven race winners Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing), from Palo Alto, Calif., and Braden Eves (Jay Howard Driver Development), from New Albany, Ohio, currently third and fifth in points, also have competed previously in Toronto, in USF2000.

Gold’s teammate, London, England-raised Pakistani Enaam Ahmed, a past British F3 champion, has displayed renewed confidence of late as he chases after his first North American win, while Josh Green, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., also has tasted the fruits of success for Turn 3 Motorsport.

Gold, who lies second in the points table, and Green, in sixth, are separated by just 24 points. A total of 66 are up for grabs this weekend – 30 for each race win, plus bonus points for pole position, fastest race lap and leading most laps.

Rookies Salvador De Alba (Jay Howard Driver Development), a former stock car racer from Guadalajara, Mexico, won earlier this year in Indianapolis, while last year’s USF2000 champion, Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), from Recife, Brazil, gained his first checkered flag in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio.

The action will begin with 30 minutes of practice at 8:45 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 15, followed by a pair of 20-minute qualifying sessions – at 1:55 p.m. and 8:35 a.m. on Saturday – to set the starting lineups for the two races, which are set to go green at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and 11:40 a.m. on Sunday.

Live streaming will be available at RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App and indypro2000.com.

Rowe Vs. D’Orlando in USF2000
A tremendous tussle is developing in the chase for this year’s USF2000 championship. Cape Motorsports’ Michael d’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y., began the season as a firm favorite for top honors but he has been pushed to the limit by Pabst Racing’s Myles Rowe, from New York. N.Y., with Rowe’s teammate, Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., also firmly in title contention.

D’Orlando, who carries duel American and Canadian citizenship, has experience on his side. He is now in his third full season at this level and finished second in points last year behind Brazilian Kiko Porto. He has recently established a new record for most USF2000 starts in the Road to Indy era, with 57, and no one in the category’s history has scored more top-five (35) or top-10 (41) finishes.

Rowe is a relative newcomer, making his debut last year as a recipient of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ Race for Equality & Change initiative. He earned a breakthrough victory for the equally new Force Indy team in tricky wet-dry conditions at New Jersey Motorsports Park but has truly sprung to prominence this year after joining Augie Pabst’s front-running team.

A string of six consecutive podium finishes, including two wins, has taken Rowe to the top of the points table. He currently leads d’Orlando by 296 points to 284 with just this weekend’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto and a triple-header finale at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway remaining.

Denmark also remains in the mix, only 20 points in arrears, with a tally of two wins and four additional podium results.

Third-generation racer Jagger Jones, also from Scottsdale, Ariz., has emerged clearly as the top rookie. Jones earned his first win at Barber Motorsports Park, although his most recent podium finish came at the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit in May. He is the only driver in the field to have finished among the top 10 in all 12 races.

Canadian Thomas Nepveu also has high expectations. After scoring a maiden victory last year at Road America, the former karting standout from Oka., Que., has endured some ups and downs during his sophomore campaign with the defending champion team, DEForce Racing. But he has shown his capabilities on numerous occasions, including a fine run at Road America where he rose from ninth on the grid to third.

The USF2000 schedule closely mirrors that of Indy Pro 2000, beginning with 30 minutes of practice at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. Qualifying sessions, at 12:35 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday will determine the starting lineups for the two 20-lap races at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Global live streaming can be found at RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App as well as usf2000.com.
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