American up-and-comer was near the top of the speedcharts throughout Florida twin bill in his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry LOS GATOS, CALIF. – Neil Alberico further showcased his speed and talents behind the wheel this past weekend (March 23-24) during the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. While the final race results don't show it, the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing star was one of the drivers to watch during Rounds Three and Four, and remains a threat for top honors when the title chase resumes in late May in Indianapolis.
Mere days after earning his first win of the 2013 USF2000 Championship, Alberico was back behind the wheel of his No. 2 Racelite Protection/Bondurant School of High Performance Driving/eFormulaCarNews.com/J&M Trophies/OMP America/Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry on the St. Petersburg street circuit ready to further strengthen his position as one of the rising talents in North American junior formula car racing. While the 1.8-mile concrete-lined track certainly provided a much different challenge than the opening two races at the historic Sebring road course, both the Californian and his skilled crew were confident of continued success.
Alberico promptly wasted little time making his presence felt, going second fastest in the opening practice session, before ending the second and final practice run P1. Given his speed right off the trailer, combined with the fact Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing had won three of the past for series races at the Florida street circuit, and placed at least one driver on the podium in all six races, the stage was set for a run at the pole in the lone qualifying session.
As expected, the timed run to determine the starting grid for race one in St. Petersburg witnessed all 31 racers trying to find space for a true flying lap. Alberico in the end did just that right as the checkered flag flew, turning the second best lap - just a tenth of a second behind the polesitter - to secure a vital front-row starting position for Round Three later in the day.
After few hours to go over data, information, and strategy, it was time to go street racing. For Alberico, the start proved to be critical moment of the race. While the former Bondurant Championship title winner and Team USA Scholarship racer initially got away cleanly, in position to battle for the win, his pursuit of top honors came to an abrupt end in turn one following contact from another driver. Alberico, aware that incidents happen in racing, quickly put the disappointment behind him, electing to help his crew get his racing steed ready for race two and focus on a more positive result in Round Four.
When the talented field rolled back on-course one day later prior to the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opener, Alberico once again lined-up on the front-row thanks to the grid being set by either a drivers second best lap in qualifying or fastest lap in race one. Things, however, did not go according to plan when the cars set about the pace lap, as it immediately became apparent Alberico's racer had a rare mechanical issue. Forced to pit as his fellow USF2000 drivers got the green flag, the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing crew quickly made the necessary changes before sending the 20-year-old Californian back out at the rear of the field. Alberico promptly put his head down and set about making up the lost ground. Without the benefit of a full-course caution to bunch the field back together, the second-year racer steadily worked his way forward, turning times on par with the race leader. Alberico in the end earned valuable points crossing the stripe in an unrepresentative 20th place, having turned the second-fastest race lap.
"We all know how racing is, and how some things are just out of your control," said Alberico. "We have all been there. Fortunately for me, I am surrounded by a great group of guys at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Those guys make it so much easier to stay positive! It's a great feeling knowing how many people just want what is best for you, and I feel blessed to have that when I need it the most. We just have to continue to work hard as a team and put all our focus on improving the factors we can control. I have one hundred percent faith in everyone in my corner, and I am just super psyched for next race. Indianapolis here we come!"
Alberico now has a nine week break before resuming his pursuit of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda supremacy at Lucas Oil Raceway on May 25th. As part of the Indianapolis 500 festivities, the Cape Motorsports Wayne Taylor Racing up-and-comer will contest the lone oval on the series calendar in conjunction with the prestigious 'Night Before the 500' event.
Those interested in supporting this rising American racer are encouraged to contact Neil Alberico directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sponsorship opportunities.
Learn more about Neil Alberico at neilalberico.com and keep up to date via Twitter @ NeilAlberico and Facebook @ Neil-Alberico-Racing.
### About Neil Alberico: A native of Los Gatos, Calif., Alberico first started racing karts at the age of 10, competing in IKF region 11 action. Over the course of four seasons (2004-07), the young talent captured the Junior Sportsman, Junior Super Sportsman, and Junior Puma championship titles. In 2008, Alberico first got behind the wheel of a race car, graduating from the Skip Barber 2-day Advanced school at Laguna Seca prior to participating in the Formula BMW recruitment day at Miller Motorsports Park. Continuing to race in the karting ranks while raising funds to pursue a career in motorsports, Alberico won the Snap-On Stars of Karting Series National finale in Las Vegas in 2009, before finishing third in CKI National TAG Senior championship. Alberico built on this success in 2010, winning the TaG Senior class in the WSK North American Series, as well as the Bondurant Championship Race Series, capturing 10 wins in first full season of car competition. As part of the prize package for winning the Bondurant Championship, the teenager tested a Pro Formula Mazda with World Speed Motorsports and a Formula Atlantic Swift 016.a with Finlay Motorsports. In 2011, Alberico made his European racing debut, competing in the world-renowned Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain with Irish-based Cliff Dempsey Racing. Finish ninth in his maiden FF season, the Californian earned a Team USA Scholarships. As a Team USA driver, he captured a Semi-Final win and finished third in the historic 40th Formula Ford Festival. Alberico joined the Mazda Road to Indy program in 2012, earning a podium finish and nine top-fives in his rookie season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. This season, the California standout returns to USF2000 Championship action, joining two-time defending champion Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.