St. Petersburg, FL. - After a successful season opener at Sebring International Raceway earlier this month, ArmsUp Motorsports journeyed to St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. All fairly new to the Mazda Road to Indy race series, the four young drivers of the Wisconsin-based team, Felipe Donato, Timothy Paul, James Dayson and Andrew Hobbs, performed well all weekend, taking time to learn the track as well as the race cars.
A mechanical issue with his race car ended not only the first practice session but the race weekend for Hobbs. The young racer had contact with the wall in Turn Eight, resulting in a level three sprain in his wrist. Despite still being able to qualify for several laps for Round 3, the young driver and the team wisely decided he not participate in the remaining sessions of the weekend. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, F1 commentator David Hobbs, Andrew joined USF2000 commentator Rob Howden in the announcing booth for Round 3 and provided valuable insight to the fans attending the event.
"Even though he wasn't able to race, it was a good learning experience for Andrew," said team owner Gregg Borland. "The crew worked all night and did an amazing job getting the car back together for him in time for qualifying."
The remaining three drivers led a strong charge for ArmsUp Motorsports, gaining a total of 25 positions in Round 3. Brazilian Donato started in 26th, and methodically worked his way up through the field to finish ninth. A mid-race spin lost him several positions; however, he quickly made them up by the completion of the lap. As his comfort level with the car and the street course increased, Paul worked his way up through the field from his 24th starting position to finish and was running in 13th before having contact in the final lap, resulting in a 17th-place finish. Racing clean and away from the typical street race incidents, Dayson lost fifth gear mid-race but managed to earn his third second-place finish in the National Class after starting in 18th and finishing 19th.
Round 4 of the event showed less pack racing and more green flag racing than the previous round. Donato again led the team, working with teammate Paul to advance for position to finish in 17th.
"Felipe did a great job working his way through the field," said Borland. "He's focused and determined and he'll keep doing a great job."
Paul had a strong race in progress until brake issues forced him to pit for some quick brake work during the race. Luckily he was able to rejoin, and finished in 26th, still a position ahead of where he started.
"Even with the brake issues, Tim did an excellent job working his way up in both races," said Borland. "He was getting more comfortable with the car, and picking up speed as he was going. We look forward to seeing that kind of improvement as the season progresses."
In the second race, National Class driver Dayson was able to work his way up through the field to finish three positions ahead of where he started, earning another second-place finish. "Dayson did a good job, especially on a street course," said Borland. "All weekend long, he's been able to figure out the track and continue to progress. He had solid races and worked well with everyone on track for position."
The event also comes with the announcement that Paul of Screaming Monkey Racing will be joining ArmsUp Motorsports for the rest of the 2013 Cooper Tires presents the 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda. Next up for the Series is the "Night Before the 500" at Lucas Oil Raceway May 25th. ArmsUp Motorsports will conduct testing in the meantime to continue the progress made in the first four rounds. Round 3, St. Petersburg Grand Prix Starting Position in parenthesis
P9. (S26) Felipe Donato, Sao Paulo, Brazil
P17. (S24) Timothy Paul, Mount Kisco, NY
P18. (S19) James Dayson, Vancouver, BC, Canada Round 4, St. Petersburg Grand Prix
P17. (S19) Felipe Donato, Sao Paulo, Brazil
P25. (S28) James Dayson, Vancouver, BC, Canada
P26. (S27) Timothy Paul, Mount Kisco, NY
Based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin ArmsUp Motorsports is a full service prep shop for Formula Continentals, Formula Atlantics, and Vintage racing cars. For more information please visit the official ArmsUp website at www.ArmsUpMotorsports.com.