HOUSTON, Texas – Today’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season finale – the Marlin CNG Services Grand Prix of Houston – took place under wet conditions, a stark contrast to the heat that greeted competitors the past few days. Henrik Furuseth of PRL Motorsports claimed his career-best starting position to lead the field to the green.
A slight bobble allowed both Alexandre “Alex” Baron of Afterburner Autosport and Neil Alberico of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing to slip past but Furuseth quickly regained the position over Alberico. Behind them ensued an action-packed battle on the slippery race track, including the elimination of champion Scott Hargrove on Lap 3 with handling issues after a spin.
Baron stormed off into the distance to claim his second win in only four starts of the season with the Afterburner squad. Furuseth closed out his year with back-to-back podiums claiming second place today. Championship runner-up Alberico, who won yesterday, finished third.
Several drivers posted their best results of the season including Austin Cindric of Andretti Autosport, who finished seventh, and Clark Toppe of JDC MotorSports, with an 11th-place drive.
Championship-wise behind the Cape Motorsports’ teammates, Garett Grist secured a third-place finish in the standings and Rookie of the Year honors, with Furuseth fourth and Wyatt Gooden, also of Afterburner Autosport, fifth.
Newly-crowned National Class champion Scott Rettich continued to keep Alliance Autosport’s 100 percent win record alive with his victory today.
Contingency awards included the Staubli and Tilton Hard Charger Award to Brandon Newey of Afterburner Autosport/BHA with Curb/Agajanian for a gain of 12 positions from 17th to fifth, the the PFC Award to the winning car owners of Afterburner Autosport and Alliance Autosport and the National Class Masters Award Presented by Elite/Comprent to Rettich. Alex Baron, #18 13th Avenue (Afterburner Autosport) – First:
“Rain is not a problem for me. I have been driving in the rain since I was small so I have a good feeling with it. The car was very good and I would like to thank my team for that. It was a perfect race for me. I tried to pull away as far as possible for the first laps and be careful for the rest of the race because I know this track is quite tricky in some areas and I didn’t want to lose my race for a simple mistake. I pulled away and managed to keep the pace. I would like to thank Afterburner Autosport and everyone that surrounds me.” Henrik Furuseth, #96 Truck Nation/Palfinger/Akrene Mek Verksted (PRL Motorsports) – Second:
“I didn’t have a good start. I spun the tires and I fell back to fourth but I was able to get back up to second the same lap and stay there the whole race. Neil pushed me hard but I was able to stay in front of him. My car was good but I had nothing for Alex. He was just flying out there so congrats to him on the win. I have to thank my team PRL Motorsports for a good car this weekend and the whole year. I have to thank Co-Force International, and also Truck Nation for being our partner this weekend.”
Neil Alberico, #2 Racelite Protection/Bondurant School/eFormulaCarNews.com/J&M Trophy (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing)- Third:
“The restarts were pretty intense because you had to be aggressive. Henrik did a great job and the same with Alex, so congratulations to them. It was a fun race. You try everything you can to get around these guys but everyone is so good that it is tough. It was a great race by everyone and a good way to end the season. A big thanks to Mazda, Cooper Tires, the USF2000 Series and the whole Mazda Road to Indy program. I think it has been a great year.” Scott Rettich, #71 PDI Communication Systems/Springboro Car Wash (Alliance Autosport) – National Class Champion:
“Visibility was really tough being behind 10 to 15 cars and you never really knew what would be around the corner. There are a lot of people I need to thank for wrapping up the National championship this weekend – Marlin CNG Services, Mazda for their huge support of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, PDI Communications and my team Alliance Autosport for an awesome effort all year.”
### About Marlin CNG Services:
Marlin CNG Services operates the nation's largest fleet of tube trailers dedicated to transportation of compressed natural gas or CNG. Marlin serves the nation’s natural gas pipeline systems providing temporary natural gas supplies for pipeline maintenance/integrity testing, emergency outages, peak shaving, commissioning of equipment and more. Marlin has been able to achieve unprecedented CNG flow rates, pressure control and reliability due to the design of its unload regulation stations. Regardless of customer pressure and flow demands, Marlin's patented regulation station maintains a set delivery pressure. The station automatically adjusts when switching between trailers nearly empty to full trailers at 3000 psi while transparently maintaining the customers set pressure and flow requirements.
For more information, visit www.marlingas.com.