DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark won in just his second USF2000 start, in a race that has set up an explosive final-race title showdown.
Pabst Racing pair Jace Denmark and Myles Rowe shared the front row for race two at Portland, but the two title rivals dropped to the back of the field within seconds of the start as points leader Rowe drove over the back of his team-mate at turn one.
The incident also collided Velocity Racing Development’s Nikita Johnson, who was fourth on the grid, and put Denmark out of the race within the lap while Rowe was able to get a new front wing once he made it back to the pits.
Through the drama, weekend debutant Clark came through from seventh on the grid to take the lead ahead of Cape Motorsports’ Nicky Hays and Exclusive Autosport’s Billy Frazer.
Clark edged away to have a gap of 1.1 seconds up front by the halfway point of the race, but then Hays started to close in and had got the distance between them back down to 0.4s when the race went under full course yellow conditions as Nicholas d’Orlando had slammed into the wall approaching turn 10 after attempting to pass Spike Kohlbecker for eighth.
The race ended up running behind the pace car until the chequered flag, meaning Clark took victory.
D’Orlando’s brother Michael finished fourth, and with Denmark out and Rowe a lapped 16th it meant he cut the points gap to the top two and there is now seven points splitting the trio ahead of Saturday’s title decider.
Christian Weir finished fifth, while Jacob Douglas emerged on top in some mid-race squabbles for sixth, ahead of Dylan Christie and Kohlbecker.
Thomas Nepveu, who had started third, fell down the order early on and inherited ninth place once Nicholas d’Orlando retired, amd Jorge Garciarce was also promoted into the top 10 as a result.
Race result (18 laps)
|1||Mac Clark||DEForce Racing||24m29.6622s|
|2||Nicky Hays||Cape Motorsports||+0.8977s|
|3||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||+2.6205s|
|4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||+3.6175s|
|5||Christian Weir||Turn 3 Motorsport||+4.3620s|
|6||Jacob Douglas||Exclusive Autosport||+4.5730s|
|7||Dylan Christie||DEForce Racing||+5.5052s|
|8||Spike Kohlbecker||Turn 3 w/Ignite Autosport||+6.3628s|
|9||Thomas Nepveu||DEForce Racing||+8.5805s|
|11||Ethan Ho||Velocity Racing Development||+9.8282s|
|13||Lucas Mann||Turn 3 Motorsport||+11.4094s|
|15||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||+1 lap|
|16||Myles Rowe||Pabst Racing||+1 lap|
|17||Nikita Johnson||Velocity Racing Development|
|Ret||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing|
|Ret||Nicholas d’Orlando||Exclusive Autosport|
|DNS||Joey Brienza||Exclusive Autosport|
|Fastest lap: Rowe, 1m12.7153s