Sebring, FL – Finding a seat with just two weeks until the USF2000 season opener placed Tim Paul with a new team in ArmsUp Motorsports, along with new engineers, mechanics and an unfamiliar car. A family emergency left the GTP/Screaming Monkey Racing squad sidelined for the opening part of the season, and Paul was able to work through the challenge, with a Zetec-powered Van Diemen and top-15 finish in Florida.
The Franklin Pierce University student, sponsored by CellMark Paper, ran his fastest lap of the two-race event in the last lap of the final race – as he continued to pick up speed, even without the popular Mazda MZR engine package. Paul will get that engine package on the oval at Lucas Oil Raceway on the popular “Night Before the 500” event, which may be a homecoming for the former midget and sprint car racer.
“We battled some issues with the car all weekend, mostly my physical fitment in the car, and a throttle issue that really hampered us right up until the first race,” said Paul, an AJ Foyt Racing development driver. “That was really my first REAL session in the car, and you can tell because suddenly we jumped up in lap times by three seconds, without changing anything on the car in terms of handling. I just finally got comfortable and got my fitment sorted out.”
Paul bagged a 21st-place finish in race one, bringing home points and staying out of trouble around the bumpy ex-airport circuit – up against some of the best aspiring racers in the country, 30 of them.
“We were right where I wanted to be, the lap times were where they should have been given the circumstances,” he continued. “With a few more good sessions, we would have been competitive with the guys further up the field. Even so, we were definitely in the fight. The racing in this field is so aggressive, and so close. It is very very entertaining, and had to be exciting to watch. Everyone is wheel-to-wheel, all the time and not giving an inch no matter where you are in the field.
“I ran my fastest lap of the weekend, on the last lap of the second race. This is good because I think it shows we were still progressing, and we hadn’t hit our plateau yet,” Paul added.
“I think we have a chance to surprise some people along the way,” explained the 28-year-old. “ArmsUp Motorsports really gave me a great car once we sorted it out, and we worked really well together. I can’t thank both Gregs and Brent enough for the opportunity and the work they put into giving me a competitive car by the end of the weekend. They really run a good program at ArmsUp and I am happy to be a part of it for Sebring and St. Petersburg.”
The USF2000 Series and Tim Paul next head to St. Petersburg with the IndyCars, March 22-24, and after that, it’s VIR with F2000, April 11-14.
Learn more about Tim on TimPaulDrive.com and ScreamingMonkeyRacing.com.