2020 USF2000 Season Preview
By Christopher DeHarde
The first step on the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires offers drivers a chance to win a scholarship package worth nearly $330,000 to advance to Indy Pro 2000 in 2021. To earn that scholarship, a driver must win the 2020 Cooper Tires USF2000 championship by out-racing their competition. Let’s take a look at the field ahead of the first race weekend of the season in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Cape Motorsports has four drivers again for the USF2000 championship. The Cape brothers have laid claim to the last nine USF2000 drivers’ championship trophies and are looking to repeat Braden Eves’s 2019 success with Reece Gold, Kyle Dupell, Josh Green and Michael d’Orlando. Gold raced for the Capes last year, Dupell raced a partial season with Newman-Wachs Racing, Green is a rookie coming from F1600 and is a Team USA Scholarship recipient and d’Orlando spent last year in F4 U.S., having raced in USF2000 back in 2018.
The Cape Brothers will have their biggest challenge from Augie Pabst’s squad. Pabst Racing Services has won the last three team championships, but has yet to claim that first elusive driver championship after finishing second in points the previous three years. Yuven Sundaramoorthy will race in his third year in USF2000 competition, his second with the Wisconsin squad with Eduardo Barrichello and Matt Round-Garrido joining in their sophomore campaigns in USF2000.
Exclusive Autosport has a pair of Californians and a Mexican behind their three car assault on the championship. The Saskatchewan-based team has 2019 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series champion Prescott Campbell behind the wheel of the No. 1 entry, Campbell having earned that number plate following his championship success. Christian Brooks will pilot the No. 44 entry alongside sophomore driver Manuel Cabrera who ran the first half of last year’s USF2000 championship.
Jay Howard Driver Development will have four cars on the grid in 2020 with three returning drivers and a newcomer. Christian Bogle and Christian Rasmussen are back after racing full-time for the team in 2019 while Wyatt Brichacek will contest the full 2020 season after racing last year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Westfield, Indiana team. Nolan Siegel joins the team after racing for Newman Wachs Racing in 2019, scoring three top-ten finishes along the way.
Also based in Westfield, Miller-Vinatieri Motorsports is back for 2020 with Jack William Miller returning after his 2019 rookie season in USF2000 competing alongside Max Kaeser. The Colorado native is an accomplished ski racer and tested with MVM at the 2019 Chris Griffis Memorial Test.
DEForce Racing has two cars again in 2020 as the Texas team chases its first win in USF2000 competition. Shifterkart racer Mathias Ramirez will pilot one of the team’s Tatuus USF-17 entries with Kiko Porto in the other entry. Porto ran in F4 U.S. in 2019, finishing second in that championship.
Finally, Legacy Autosport announced Cameron Shields and Ayrton Ori to race for them in 2020. Shields won the 2019 Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway for Newman Wachs Racing while Ori raced for the Zionsville, Indiana team at Portland and at WeatherTech Raceway in 2019.
The 2020 USF2000 championship will feature 18 races with doubleheaders at St. Petersburg and at Circuit of the Americas, a tripleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, sole oval at Lucas Oil Raceway, and then doubleheaders at Road America, the streets of Toronto, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway.
As in the rest of the Road to Indy, Lucas Oil Raceway will offer one and a half times the normal points available to encourage participation.
The first USF2000 race of the 2020 season will be Friday, March 13th at 12:30 p.m. ET while the second race will be at 12:40 p.m. ET on Saturday March 14th.