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McElrea leads Pabst team at St. Petersburg with double podium weekend

The Oconomowoc-based Pabst Racing was led by Australian rookie Hunter McElrea, 19 who stood on the podium in both events at the USF2000 St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida Friday and Saturday.

One of several support events at the opening Indycar event of the season, the Pabst team had mixed results as it took the first steps toward defending its team championship.

The best results belonged to the young Australian who finished third on Friday afternoon and went from fourth to second after a final lap incident on Saturday.

One other driver finished on the podium in both events, Braden Eves who took the win in both events. The 19-year-old Ohio native led flag to fla in the opening day race and threw down the gauntlet in what will likely be a season-long battle between Cape Motorsports who were racing on their home track in St. Petersburg and the Pabst team.

Manuel Sulaiman managed to get by McElrea on the start as Evens and McElrea shared the front row and it was Eves-Sulaiman-McElrea in order the rest of the way.

On Saturday, Darren Keane, another 19-year-old Cape Motorsports racer and Christian Rasmussen, an 18-year-old member of the Jay Howard Driver Development Team appeared to have the top two positions locked up until they came together on the two-turn hairpin at the far end of the course. Eves and McElrea were just far enough back to miss out on being collected and suddenly found themselves on a half-mile dash to the flag.

McElrea, who didn’t seem to have enough to stay with the front pair on restarts, managed to beside Eves in the race to the checkers, but didn’t have quite enough to get by him.

At the end of the weekend, McElrea sits second in the overall points race with 47 points, 15 behind Eves.

Kaminski, Tomaselli, Sundaramoorthy results

Colin Kaminski, 19, from Homer Glen Illinois had some wrong place, wrong time luck in the opening race of the season. Running well inside the top 10, Kaminski was collected on the 12th lap when Legacy Autosport racer Jose Sierra, 19, from Mexico City, looped in front of him and left him nowhere to go.

Kaminski managed to get back in the race after limping to the pits, but ultimately finished 16th and a lap off the pace. He made up for it on Saturday though, running with the front pack again and this time finishing fifth.

Kaminski collected just five points for the opening race but bounced back with 17 for Saturday and he sits 11th overall, just two points away from seventh.

Bruna Tomaselli, 21, from Brazil started and finished sixth in the opening race of the season, but in between was an impressive showing as she fell back to 12th early on, but in the second half of the race she made some impressive passes that got he back to within a couple seconds of the top five. Qualifying for the Saturday race had Tomaselli starting ninth and she managed to work her way up to a seventh place finish

Tomaselli’s consistency shows with 15 points from the first race and 14 from the second for 29 total, placing her fifth overall.

Rounding out the field is the team’s other rookie racer, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, a New York resident who was born in Oconomowoc and spend much of his teen years in China.

In the opening race, 16-year-old Sundaramoorthy qualified 10th and finished 11th in the first race and the following day he started 10th, crossing the line 11th. With those results, Sundaramoorthy collected 23 total points to rank ninth overall.
As a team, Pabst Racing collected 23 points in the first race and 28 Saturday for a 51-point total, good enough for second, well in front of the 32-points for DeForce and just five behind Cape Motorsports.

The team will get two months to prepare for its next event, on the road course version of Indianapolis Motor Speedway – another double-race weekend with rounds 3 and 4, May 9-11. The team will also be part of the Indy 500 weekend May 23-24 and will visit Road America at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin June 21-23.



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