Lexington, Ohio (July 5, 2021) – This weekend’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio was a challenging round for Turn 3 Motorsport. The team had moments of greatness but was unable to find the consistency needed to land on the podium amongst the competitive field of racers in the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
Despite the rainy weather, the first test session of the day on Thursday saw Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers Josh Green and Dylan Christie take P1 and P4, respectively, while new teammate Christian Weir put in the 18th fastest time among the 28-car field, the largest amount of cars in the series since 2013.
USF2000 Qualifying 1 placed Green in 10th, Christie in 19th, and Weir in 23rd for Race 1 on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Eager to make up positions on the opening lap, Green fought for his #33 JHG/Mark Green car to come out ahead of ninth place starter Spike Kohlbecker and overtake P9. As the cars went into Turn 1, Christie’s #34 DCR car came into contact with the #99 car of Myles Rowe, damaging his car and calling him into the pits for repairs. Weir was able to avoid the incident and slip his #32 R+L Carriers/Autobahn Country Club car into P16 before a yellow flag came out on Lap 1.
On the restart, Green passed the #24 car of Josh Pierson for eighth and continued to focus on moving forward while Weir found himself in a 3-way battle with Jackson Lee and Erik Evans for 17th/18th/19th. After some dicing back and forth, it was Weir who came out ahead, taking P17 in his first ever USF2000 race. Following his opening lap incident, Christie was able to make his way back up to P20 with Josh Green claiming P9 in Race 1.
USF2000 Race 2 was another tightly packed start with every car fighting for position in the opening lap. With no cautions during the 20-lap race, the team decided to pit Christie for new tires in an effort to put in a fast qualification lap for Sunday’s Race 3 while Green and Weir stayed out to earn race points. Race 2 resulted in a 10th place finish for Green, 19th for Weir, and 25th for Christie.
In contrast to Race 2, Race 3 was peppered with yellow flags, beginning with another opening lap incident involving Christie; the 17-year-old rookie was turned sideways going into Turn 2, sliding him across the track and into the #99 car of Myles Rowe.
Green, who started 11th, lost a few positions in the opening laps but quickly regained them once the race restarted. The 18-year-old was making headway throughout the subsequent laps until contact with the #5 car of Spike Kohlbecker spun him around in Turn 9 with just two laps to go, resulting in a 21st place result in Race 3.
Despite the multiple cautions, 14-year-old Weir was able to stay out of trouble and bring the #32 car home in P20, finishing every lap of all three races as well as improving positions in each race on his debut USF2000 weekend.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship // #32 Christian Weir // R+L Carriers/Autobahn Country Club
“This weekend was very beneficial for me,” said Christian Weir. “It was a great first run with the USF2000 series. I was able to get a lot of on track battles and experience different track conditions, and I finished every lap of all three races this weekend. I want to give Turn 3 Motorsport a big shout out for the months of preparation to get me here. I’m hoping for some more great racing at New Jersey Motorsports Park next month!”
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship // #33 Josh Green // JHG Investments/Mark Green
“It was a tough weekend for us all under the Turn 3 Motorsport tent,” said Josh Green. “We struggled under some tough conditions and never found our footing. I’m confident going forward we will continue to develop and show our hand at the upcoming races. We are all pushing extremely hard to keep advancing, and our efforts will come to light soon. I’m very proud of everyone’s hard work, and I’m very excited to see how the last few races of the season will pan out.”
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship // #34 Dylan Christie // DCR
“It was a really challenging weekend all together, but we have to keep our heads up and eyes forward,” said Dylan Christie. “It is all part of the learning process for both myself and the team. I am looking forward to getting some redemption at New Jersey Motorsports Park next month.”
Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying 1 started off very promising for James Roe; the Irishman put in a fast lap that initially placed his #3 Topcon/Trintech car on pole. With a couple of cars besting his initial lap time, he held onto the third fastest time up until the final few minutes of the session, ending up with a P10 starting position for Race 1.
In Race 1, Roe slotted into position on the opening lap before a yellow flag came out for a car that went off course. On the restart, Roe overtook the #5 car of Wyatt Brichacek going into Turn 2 for eighth place and set to work closing the gap to the next car. The 22-year-old rookie continued to show his speed by putting in faster lap times than the cars ahead of him, but the aero wash from the train of cars made it difficult to overtake. Roe ultimately finished Race 1 in P8, just .3009 seconds away from the car in front of him.
Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying 2 was another good showing of Roe’s speed in the #3 car; he was second fastest at the beginning of the session and worked to qualify at the top. After everyone put on fresh tires for the end of qualifying, Roe jumped up to P4 before being shifted down to a P10 starting position after a great effort.
Roe had a strong start in Race 2, pushing forward two positions on the opening lap and fighting to hold his gains. The following laps saw Roe shuffle spots throughout the green to checkers event, ultimately scoring him P11 for the final race of the weekend.
Indy Pro 2000 Championship // #3 James Roe // Topcon/Trintech
“We tried our best to make things happen, but there’s not many opportunities to pass at Mid-Ohio,” said James Roe. “Our pace was strong and we moved forward, however it’s the late part of qualifying that keeps getting us. Once we can figure it out, I know podiums are going to come. We are going into the summer break now, so we will put our heads together for the final push of the season.”
“It wasn’t the weekend we expected,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “Our pace just wasn’t there when it counted with the USF2000 cars. We need to go back and figure out why our pace wasn’t good enough to compete at the front. The break coming up in the schedule will help us analyze why, and we will bounce back stronger. On another note, Christian did a great job over his first weekend with USF2000. He gained the experience he needed and finished all three races, so I’m really happy about that.”
“On the Indy Pro 2000 side, I was very happy with our pace,” continued Dempsey. “We had a very good car capable of challenging for the podium. James showed speed but unfortunately just couldn’t put it together when it counted. He proved in Race 1 we had the pace to match the leaders, but it’s qualifying that counts at Mid-Ohio and that’s where we needed to perform better. We will regroup and move on to the next round with the focus to come back stronger.”
Up next for the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires is the oval at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis August 19-21. The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will resume its schedule after that, joining Indy Pro 2000 once again at New Jersey Motorsports Park August 27-29.