USF2000 - A Weekend of Character Building for Hindman at Sebring
 March 19, 2012| 
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Sebring, Fla. - After a strong showing last month at the USF2000 Winterfest, hopes were high that Trent Hindman would be part of a 1-2-3 punch for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing starting at the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship season opener at the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Fate had other plans and Hindman exits Sebring with a sizeable points hole to climb out of for the balance of the season.

Round 1
Qualifying was shortened by a pair of red flags. Hindman led early, but was as low as 15th with his early time as the crowded track left few opportunities for a clean, quick lap. With a 2:04.863, Hindman pulled himself up to fifth, though almost a second behind Luigi Biangardi's pole time of 2:03.917.

"Qualifying was a challenge", said Hindman after the session. "The two red flags meant that there wasn't enough time to build a gap and get in a good lap. You were really at the mercy of the cars around you. The good news is the car is good and starting fifth I'm on the preferred side of the track. I still think I can win from that position."

A win was not in the cards. Going into Turn 1 at the start, Hindman tangled with Biangardi, taking both cars out of the race. Both drivers climbed out of their respective cars under their own power and were checked out and cleared by Medical to race on Friday.

"Luigi didn't get a great start and tried to move to cover Roman (Lagudi). There was an opening but the opening closed up. I really hate it for the Capes. They gave me a good car to work with but I didn't take advantage during qualifying and that put me in the position I was in."

While his Cape Motorsports teammates Matthew Brabham and Spencer Pigot celebrated a 1-2 finish, Hindman was scored in 36th place overall and credited with a 22nd place finish in the Championship class.

Round 2
To add insult to injury, the Lap 1 incident left Hindman without a race lap to determine his Round 2 starting position, meaning that he would start Friday's race from the 36th (and final) position.

The morning started out well, as Hindman posted the third quickest time in the morning warm up. Talk around the paddock predicted a sixth place finish from the back of the field. Hindman was a little more circumspect.

"The car felt good during the warm up and it didn't lose any speed overnight. If I can get to the back of the Championship pack early enough, we'll see what happens."

From the start, Hindman quickly began passing cars, moving from 36th to 22nd on the opening lap. By Lap 4 Hindman was up to 13th, but several seconds behind the lead pack and in need of a safety car in order to catch the back of the field.

A full course yellow came out on Lap 5, allowing the field to close up behind the pace car and giving Hindman life. When the green flag came out on Lap 7, Hindman was caught briefly behind a slower car, allowing the Top 10 to pull out a slight gap. After passing the back marker, Hindman gave chase, slowly gaining on the back of the pack going into the braking zone. Braking hard, he glanced to his right to check for cars before turning to the apex of the turn. As he began to track out from the corner...BANG! 

Hindman's car took a hard hit into the right sidepod, spinning him around in the racing line, behind him broken cars and parts littered the track as still more cars fanned around his, trying to avoid the incident. One car, unable to avoid, spun and with a second bang, collected the nose of Hindman's car with its rear wheel and taking out its brake reservoirs. For the second time in as many days, Hindman found himself waiting at the side of the track, waiting for a safety vehicle to pick him up. 

So while his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham were celebrating their second 1-2 finish on the Sebring podium, Hindman rode on his parents' golf cart back to the paddock to wait for his shattered car. With a 30th finish overall (and 19th in class) to go with Thursday's result, "disappointed" would be an understatement.

"Obviously this is not the way I wanted to start the season. In Round 1 I never had a chance to show what I'm capable of, but this race was playing out perfect. Luca (Forgeois, the driver whose car was the first to hit Hindman's in the hairpin) came over and talked to me after everyone had some time to cool down. That was a good thing for him to do, but at the end of the day what's done is done."


"Now it is going to take some good luck to get back into the championship battle. Several people have told me to wait until after St. Pete before looking at the points because those races are so unpredictable."

Next up
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda heads two hours west toward Tampa/Clearwater this weekend for Rounds 3 and 4 of the season as part of the IZOD IndyCar Series opener at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Drivers hit the track the first time Thursday afternoon at 5:35 for Practice. Follow the action with Live Timing and Scoring at www.usf2000.com/livetiming, and follow the action semi-live on Twitter by following @altemus_prime.

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Trent Hindman
Wayside, N.J. native Trent Hindman comes to the 2012 Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda off a diverse season of racing that includes winning the Ontario Formula Ford Championship, a runner-up finish in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda and selection to the prestigious Team USA Scholarship. Hindman will return to the U.K. in 2012 with Cliff Dempsey Racing to contest the Formula Renault BARC Championship. A former Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out winner, Hindman’s goal is to progress through the “Mazda Road to Indy” program, culminating in a ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Hindman is racing with defending USF2000 champions Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and would like to thank MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Skip Barber Racing School, DFL Carpentry Inc., Zydro +, Team USA Scholarship, Sparco, Premier Woodcraft, Racelite Protection and Altemus Prime Communications for their support. 


Away from the track, Hindman attends Ocean Township High School in Oakhurst, N.J. He resides in Wayside with his parents Doug and Kim and his sister Sloane.


Learn more about Trent Hindman at www.trenthindman.com.  

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