USF2000 Alumni Shine in Season Openers
 March 31, 2011| 
  • Series News

The opening rounds of the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda underscored the talent pool on board for 2011 with four different winners in four events. While race winners Zach Veach, Luke Ellery, Spencer Pigot and Petri Suvanto each garnered their time in the spotlight, USF2000 alumni also have scored their share of headlines.


2006 championship runner-up Dane Cameron won the LMPC class of the American Le Mans Series season-opener – the prestigious 59th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Cameron, sharing driving duties with Mike Guasch and Jens Petersen, led 213 of 312 laps to place the #36 Genoa Racing ORECA FLM09 in victory circle 44 seconds ahead of its nearest competition. Cameron also claimed the LMPC class pole.


Moving to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and the IZOD IndyCar Series opener, 2006 USF2000 champion J.R. Hildebrand turned heads as the top rookie finisher. Hildebrand, who started last in 24th position, finished an impressive 11th on the unforgiving 1.8-mile street circuit in the #4 National Guard Panther Racing entry. Running as high as seventh, Hildebrand appeared headed for a top-10 finish until being tapped into a spin on the final lap.


Alumni also excelled in Star Mazda competition at St. Petersburg with 2010 graduate Martin Scuncio posting the fastest time in practice, claiming pole position for the race and finishing second in his Star Mazda debut to lead the rookie standings in his Juncos Racing entry. Patrick McKenna, who finished second in last year’s USF2000 championship, claimed a fourth-place result in his first Star Mazda outing aboard the Team GDT entry.


In SCCA World Challenge Touring Car competition, 2003 alumni Lawson Aschenbach put an exclamation point on a strong start to the season by claiming a first and second-place finish in the series’ opening rounds at St. Petersburg for Compass360 Racing.


Sports car talent and 2000/2001 alumni Memo Rojas continued his impressive form in Grand-Am competition by winning the two opening rounds – the Rolex 24 at Daytona with teammates Scott Pruett, Joey Hand and Graham Rahal and the Grand Prix of Miami with Pruett – for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

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