The opening event of the 2019 IndyCar season will see some Wisconsin involvement in the Support events.
The Pabst Racing Team among the top teams in the Cooper TiresUSF2000 Series perennially running at the front of the pack.
This season, the Oconomowoc-based team enters the season with four drivers carrying the weight of defending the Team title won by Pabst in 2018 at the season opening event on the tough 14-turn 1.8 mile street course in Florida
Included are Colin Kaminsky, 19, from Homer Glen Illinois and Bruna Tomaselli, 21 from Caibi, Brazil, both looking to improve on 10th and 16th place finishes in the series last year along with series rookies, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 16 (as of Feb. 22) both in Oconomowoc and now a resident of Guilderland, NY., and Hunter McElrea, 19, from Gold Coast, Australia.
Kaminski, also a goaltender for his high school hockey team, finished 10th last season with a season best fourth place finish at Road America, the series’ only Wisconsin-based event. He also raced a few USF2000 events in 2017 racing the SCCA Majors tour the previous year.
Tomaselli had her best finish at St Petersburg last year crossing the line seventh and she will do double duty this season, racing the USF2000 series and the W-Series, bringing together some of the top female racers in the world for a six-race open wheel series in Europe, beginning in July (Also included in that series will be Natalie Decker, a NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series/TransAm Series Presented by Pirelli racer out of Eagle River, Wisconsin.
Tomaselli has a raced in various open wheel series since 2013 and before that she carved out a solid background in karting at the Brazilian National and International level going back to 2007.
Sundaramoorthy also began in karting in 2014, making the jump to Formula Ford F1600’s in 2017, where he picked up a fourth place and third place finish. Last year, the young racer collected two wins, one pole and six podium finishes in a competitive 18-race season.
Born in Oconomowoc, Sundaramoorthy spent six years in China where the team website says he got bitten by the racing bug while attending a Formula 1 event in Shanghai.
McElrea is coming off an amazing 2018 season, winning a couple events in the six-race Victorian Formula Ford Fiesta Championship and another four wins in six South Wales Formula Ford Fiesta Championship events. He moved on to win the Australian Formula Ford Championship with a record 13-wins, three poles and 16 podium finished and he capped off the season topping the field in the Road to Indy $200,000 Shootout which earned him a free ride scholarship into the USF2000 Series.
Opening day Tests/Qualifying
The Indy schedule officially lists Friday as the opening day for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix weekend, but the USF2000 was on the course twice Thursday for a test and qualifying for the first of two rounds that will run on the street course this weekend.
Colin Kaminski topped the Pabst racers in the opening test, posting a time of 1:14.37 around the course for an average speed of 17.122 mph, fifth fastest and a little more than 3/10 of a second off the pace of Darren Keane, 19 from Boca Raton, FL racing for Cape Motorsports who topped the sheet.
McElrea was close behind with the sixth fastest time about 1/100 of a tick behind Kaminski and Tomasellli was eighth with a time of 1:14.89. Sundaramoorthy ranked 12th with a tie of 1:15.44 in his first test laps.
All four drivers took a stride forward when they returned to the track later for first race qualifying, McElrea’s time of 1:13.65 second fastest and just a little over 1/10 of a second behind rookie Braden Eves, also 19 from Cape Motorsports.
They will share the front row for the first race of the season Friday (March 8) at 10:45 (CST)
Kaminsky finished fifth again, but this time with a lap time of 1:13.74, just over 1/10 in front of Tomaselli.
Sundaramoorthy shaved more than a second off his previous best and jumped to eighth fastest in the second test with a time of 1:14.33.
All four Pabst racers will line up in the first four rows for the opening race.