Keane Proves Pace at Season Open in St. Petersburg
 March 15, 2019| 
  • Team News
Keane STP recap 2019

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – For 19-year-old Darren Keane, the opening rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship provided the opportunity to prove his outright speed.

The Boca Raton, Florida college student was racing in his home state on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and, as a veteran of the first rung of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, he came into the event with the mindset and confidence needed to provide results for his new team, Cape Motorsports.

Issues in qualifying set up a run from 19th to seventh in the opening race of the doubleheader, and an unfortunate miscue took him from the lead on the final lap of Race 2. The points accrued over the entire weekend have placed Darren in eighth in the championship standings, and his speed has him confident looking forward to the next round of the series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.

The weekend started on Thursday with one practice session, and Keane topped the speed charts in his #2 Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17. Qualifying for Race 1 followed later that afternoon but despite having the pace to challenge for the pole position, Darren’s transponder suffered technical issues that left him with no official times. As a result, he’d need to start Race 1 in the 19th position.

Friday’s action started off with Qualifying 2 bright and early at 7:50 am and, in this session, Darren was able to show his tremendous speed, capturing his first career pole with a time of 1:12.653. After starting the day with a fantastic performance to earn the pole for Race 2, Keane moved into the attack mode for Race 1. The opening race of the year began with a chaotic start with a big wreck near the front of the pack, but Darren maneuvered his way around the incident. When the race went back to green, Darren was able to pick off driver after driver, patiently working his way forward. At the end of the timed race, Darren advanced 12 positions to give him an incredible finish of seventh after in the starting back on the 10th row of the grid. Not only was he the hard charger of the race, he also captured the fastest lap, giving him a much-needed championship point.

Keane hoped that lady luck and experience would be on his side for Race Two on Saturday afternoon but unfortunately, after dominating the race, a last lap final corner spin dropped him down to 14th in the final tally. Despite the fact that the weekend did not end on a high note, Darren was one of the fastest drivers on the track during every session, and every fast lap proved that he will be a championship contender for the 2019 title.

Keane will return to Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship competition on May 9-11 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the INDYCAR Grand Prix. During the two-month break, Keane will focus on his mechanical engineering studies at the University of Florida and will also be back behind the wheel for some testing.

DARREN KEANE RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

USF2000 – ROUNDS 1/2 – MARCH 7-10, 2019

GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG – ST. PETERSBURG, FL

DARREN KEANE - #2

Qualifying 1: 19th – No Time (transponder failure)

Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:12.653

Race 1: Start – 19th / Finish – 7th   

Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 14th  

Quote: “Obviously, the weekend did not end how the team nor I wanted. But there are many positives to take out of it. I was one of the fastest drivers all weekend and was even able to qualify on pole for Race 2. Qualifying was something I struggled with last year, so I’m glad to get off on the right foot in that area. In Race 1, I showed how I can overcome adversity and bounce back from a disappointing Q1 due to transponder failure and, in Race 2, I showed that I can control the race from the front, apart from my mistake on the last lap. I was really upset for a couple of days, but I’m back to where I need to be mentally, and I’m looking forward to Indy. I know that I can bounce back and I’m not worried. Huge thanks to everyone at Cape Motorsports and Oswaldo Negri for all their help this weekend. Special thank you to my parents, I couldn’t do this without their support.”

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