Last weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, ArmsUp Motorsports celebrated its return to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda podium.
Victor Franzoni, a 20 year hold Brazilian driver new to ArmsUp Motorsports this season earned a 2nd place finish in Round 1 of the double header
weekend at Barber. The 16-turn, 2.38-mile road course nestled in the hills of Leeds, Alabama hosted Rounds 3 & 4 of the 16-round championship.
In Race 1 qualifying, Franzoni set a lap time to sit a season best 4th on the grid, but a misstep caused the No. 9 car to stop on track, bringing out a red flag. Per series rules, by causing a red flag, Franzoni lost his fastest lap time of the session, however, his consistency as a driver paid off, and his second fastest lap time kept him secured in the 4th place position. Teammate Max Hanratty from Hartland, Wisconsin qualified 18th in the competitive field, just 1.8378 seconds away from the pole sitter.
After a clean start, Franzoni jumped from 4th to 2nd in the opening laps, passing Jordan Lloyd and Anthony Martin in 3rd and 2nd. In the first 10 minutes, Hanratty passed Sam Chastain to take 17th, and with 6 minutes remaining on the clock, he picked off another position to take 16th. At a track known for its difficulty to pass, Hanratty brought it home in 16th place finish, a two spot improvement from his starting position. Franzoni also improved two places, finishing 2nd in his third start of the season.
The Race 2 starting lineup was determined by each driver’s second fastest lap either in Race 1 or qualifying, putting Franzoni in 6th and Hanratty in 19th. The start of Race 2 failed to be as clean as Race 1, bringing out an early caution. Hungry after the previous day’s podium finish, Franzoni advanced up to 5th position by the first caution, with Hanratty dropping two positions to 21st. As Franzoni climbed up to 4th place, Hanratty picked his way through the field, back up to 17th. As Franzoni worked to earn this second podium finish, contact from another car sent him spinning off track. He saved the car from crashing and rejoined in 12th position with 7 minutes remaining on the clock. With just a few minutes remaining on the clock, he made his way back into the top 10, earning a 9th place finish.
The race weekend replay will be available on the Mazda Road to Indy’s YouTube page. Rounds 5 & 6 of the championship will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the most iconic tracks in motorsport. The 2.439-mile, 14-turn course will feature some of the Speedway’s oval course, as well as the roads inside to create the track’s road course layout. May 12-14 will feature two days full of racing as the entire Mazda Road to Indy competes at the legendary track. For more information of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, visit the official IMS website.
Gregg Borland // Team Owner
I’m really happy with the way the weekend went, and we were fast all weekend in every session. Victor was running up front, and even though Max struggled a little bit with the balance of the car, he had decent racing with a lot of passing at a track that makes it pretty difficult to pass. It really puts drivers to the test when the setup of the car may not be what the driver is looking for. It pushes them to try to develop their race craft as well as work with the team to properly articulate what’s going on. Max really put in a strong effort. In the first race, Victor did a fantastic job. I was really pleased with his race two run. It would have been a podium if he didn’t get hit. He did a solid job. In qualifying, our fast lap was taken away. For the second race, we didn’t have a fast lap to back it up. He did a hell of job passing cars and being in the race from the beginning. Fortunately he was able to continue. We earned points in that finish, and that helps him out. We need to win a few races to get him up there in the championship battle. It’s going to be a competitive year. I’m happy with Max and Victor.
Race 1 was awesome. I think my first lap was the most important of the race because I went from 4th to 2nd. I was right there with Parker in 1st and we were doing the same lap times, but in the middle of the race, I started to lose a little bit. The team did a great job in practice getting the car set up for the races. Race 2 was quite difficult for me. I started 7th and I lost some time getting to 4th place. When I was in 4th, I was faster than the car ahead of me, but here at Barber it’s difficult to pass here because most of the corners are medium to high speed. While I was in 4th, the 2nd and 3rd place cars were starting to battle it out. As I tried to pass them, the 3rd place car hit mine, causing me to spin. It wasn’t a bad race, but it wasn’t good either, I’m happy I was able to work my way back a little bit. ArmsUp did a great job giving me this car, and it would have been a podium finish. After the 2nd place finish, we know we have a car to fight for the championship.
In Race 1, there was a bottle neck going into turn 17 on the formation lap, and everyone bunched up. I had contact with the car in front of me and I got hit from behind. Once we went green, I passed three or four cars on the start, and got a little wide going into turn one in lap two and I ended up losing a lot of spots I was able to gain on the start. We had decent pace and I was able to hunt down a couple of the guys in front of me. I had a decent start in Race 2, but lost some spots going into turn 2. I fought my way up and passed a few cars. I really struggled with pace and I was trying different things to get my corner exit right, and wasn’t able to do it. It didn’t allow me to get in the position to move forward. I lost a few spots with an incident in front of me. It wasn’t the best race, but we pushed hard and I learned some good race craft experience. I’d like to thank Synercomm, Mazda, Team Cooper Tire, and Juniper Networks for their support this season.