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Mar 12

Strong 30-car field set to open the USF2000 2013 season at Sebring

 

USANA’s Rev3 Energy® Becomes Official Energy Drink of USF2000

USF2000 logoJesse Lazare - FloridaThe Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will return to Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., this week to open its seven-event, 14-race, 2013 season. An eagerly awaited pair of races will be held on March 14/15 in support of the American Le Mans Series and the 61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida with a quality field of 30 drivers on the first step of INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy ready to challenge on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the exceptional group of drivers we have on deck this year, from returning drivers who are poised to shine to a new group of rookies – many with familiar names – who bring solid credentials to the table,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter. “It’s been a busy off-season for all of us at Andersen Promotions and we are more than ready to go racing. To start our season in support of such a prestigious and well-attended event as the Twelve Hours of Sebring is tremendous, and we look forward to some great racing.”

A productive off-season for the series included partnership extensions with Mazda and Cooper Tires; new associations with Sunoco as the Official Fuel and USANA’s Rev3® Energy as the Official Energy Drink; the addition of SCCA Enterprises as the presenting sponsor of the National Class; expansion to three new race markets in California, Texas and Canada; a highly successful Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship in February; and the creation and launch of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – the second step of the ladder system – by Andersen Promotions.

Record Number of Countries Represented at Sebring

The broadening appeal of USF2000 and the Mazda Road to Indy is underscored in the line-up for the 2013 season. No fewer than seven countries are represented with drivers from the United States (14), Canada (8), Brazil (3), England (2), The Netherlands (1), France (1) and Norway (1) entered for this year’s championship.

Pre-Season Performers

Following February’s six-race Cooper Tires Winterfest pre-season championship at Sebring International Raceway and Palm Beach International Raceway, several drivers in particular emerged as ones to watch, led by Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates Neil Alberico, Scott Hargrove and James Fletcher. Alberico, 20, out of Los Gatos, Calif., won five of the six races to secure the title but was afforded little breathing room by Winterfest runner-up Hargrove, 18, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, who notched one win and a quintet of second-place finishes. Fletcher, 18, of Windsor, United Kingdom, made a memorable U.S. racing debut with three podiums and two fourth-place drives to secure third in the standings.

Other drivers to impress, all of them rookies, included Andretti Autosport’s Garett Grist, 17, of Grimsby, Ont., Canada, whose consistent performance – including a podium in Race 3 at Sebring – netted him fourth in the Winterfest point standings; Edmonton, Alb., Canada’s Stefan Rzadzinski, 20, of JDC MotorSports – a former Skip Barber Karting Shootout Scholarship Award winner – who finished fifth with a pair of top-five drives; and 15-year-old Montreal, Que., Canada native Jesse Lazare of Pabst Racing Services and Danilo Estrela, 19, of Goiânia, Brazil, driving for Belardi Auto Racing – the only two other drivers to wrestle the Cape trio out of a podium spot.

Returning Drivers to Watch

Five “veteran” drivers are more than capable of challenging the pre-season bar set by 2012 champions Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. These include two young hot shoes who will be graduating to the Championship Class: PRL Motorsports’ Henrik Furuseth, 16, of Oslo, Norway, who claimed the 2012 National Class title with seven wins, and RC Enerson, 16, of New Port Richey, Fla., who notched four wins and nine top-three finishes with ZSports Midwest/Team E Racing, to miss out on the title by a mere eight points.

Enerson will have the benefit of a teammate this year as he pairs with New York, N.Y., talent Luca Forgeois, 17, the 2011 National Class champion. JDC MotorSports’ Michael Johnson, 20, of Flint, Mich., is also poised to shine. Johnson, a paralyzed racer and inspiration to so many, showed his pace by posting the second-quickest time – by a scant 0.014 seconds – in the 27-car field at the off-season Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Teammates Jason Wolfe and Dalton Kellett of Pabst Racing Series are also well-prepared to make their presence felt. Wolfe, 18, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, finished seventh in the Cooper Tires Winterfest. Former F1600 racer Kellett, 19, of Toronto, Ont., Canada, missed the outing due to his Engineering Physics studies at Queen’s University, but showed solid progression in his rookie season.

Familiar Names

Four drivers among this year’s immensely strong crop of rookies have names well-known in the racing community. The youngest driver in the field at age 14, Austin Cindric, of Mooresville, N.C., with Andretti Autosport – a winner in the Skip Barber Racing Winter Series and INEX US Legends cars last year – is the son of Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. ArmsUp Motorsports’ Andrew Hobbs, 18, of Milwaukee, Wis. – a victor the past two years in Skip Barber competition since graduating from cars – is the grandson of legendary driver-turned-commentator David Hobbs. Matt McMurry (Belardi Auto Racing), 15, from Phoenix, Ariz. – a seven-time podium finisher last year also in Skip Barber – is the son of American Le Mans Series race winner Chris McMurry. Brandon Newey (Afterburner Autosport), 20, from Indianapolis, Ind. – runner-up in the 2012 F16000 Championship Series with four wins and nine podiums – is the son of Indianapolis 500-winning Bryan Herta Autosport co-owner Steve Newey.

Rookie Talent

Also from the deep talent pool within the first-year contingent, many eyes will be focused on Peter Portante, 17, who has made astonishing progress since switching from stock cars to the far lighter and more nimble open-wheel cars. The former Late Model champ from Plainville, Conn., enters the series courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Ladder after winning the Skip Barber Championship Shootout last December. Portante will drive for Belardi Auto Racing.

Watch out, too, for Wyatt Gooden (Afterburner Autosport), from Cleveland, Ohio, who first sprung to prominence as an online computer simulation “gamer” with iRacing.com and has since confirmed his competitiveness on-track by winning both in F1600 and F2000 Championship Series events the past two years; Dutchman Jeroen Slaghekke (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), a proven winner both in Formula Ford and Formula Renault in Europe; fellow Formula Renault convert Michael Epps (PRL Motorsports), from St. Albans, England; and 15-year-old Frenchman Florian Latorre (JAY Motorsports), a race-winning graduate of the International Auto Sport Academy.

National Class Contenders

The graduation to the Championship Class of Furuseth and Enerson will leave veteran Scott Rettich (Alliance Autosport), of Camden, Ohio, as a strong favorite for honors in the USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises, which features cost-effective Mazda-powered Van Diemens. Opposition for Rettich, a multi-time SCCA National Champion, will include Alliance Autosport teammate Ryan Verra and fellow Canadian James Dayson (ArmsUp Motorsports).

Race Week Schedule

After testing and practice sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, official qualifying will take place at 8:00 am ET on Thursday, March 14. Race 1 of the double-header is slated for a green flag at 1:35 pm and Race 2 at 10:40 am on Friday, March 15. Live timing and scoring for all on-track sessions with live commentary can be seen via the series website at www.usf2000.com.

USANA’s Rev3 Energy® Becomes Official Energy Drink of USF2000

As the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda revs up for the start of its 2013 racing season this week at Sebring International Raceway, now its competitors will as well. The series is extremely pleased to announce that USANA Health Sciences’ Rev3 Energy® will be the Official Energy Drink of USF2000.

“We are thrilled to welcome USANA and its high-quality Rev3 beverage into our group of outstanding partners,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter. “Professional athletes around the world rely on USANA’s nutritional products and we are excited to offer a healthy energy drink to not only our drivers but our teams, guests, colleagues and staff as well.”

Rev3 Energy® will be showcased throughout the USF2000 paddock with product and branding at the series’ hospitality unit and entertainment suites, on series’ equipment and at podium ceremonies in addition to every entry in the 30-car starting field. USANA will also utilize the partnership to entertain corporate guests at several USF2000 events.

“USANA works extensively with elite athletes, so we understand the heavy wear and tear on the body that accompanies any sport, especially racing,” said Dan Macuga, USANA’s Chief Communications Officer. “That’s why USANA fits perfectly in sponsoring the USF2000 Series.”

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, USANA has become a world leader in health and nutrition since its founding in 1992. Rev3 is the brainchild of USANA CEO David Wentz, who was looking for a healthy alternative to the energy drinks that were available. Working with USANA’s cellular nutrition experts, Rev3 was formulated and launched in 2008.

“I’m excited about the unique opportunity of working to combine a great racing organization with a great nutrition company,” said Tony Daum, USANA Associate. “USANA and USF2000 make an outstanding team.”

The seven-event, 14-race Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season opens this week with a pair of races on March 14/15 in support of the American Le Mans Series and the prestigious 61St Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla.

About USANA

Founded in 1992, USANA Health Sciences (NYSE: USNA) is a U.S.-based nutritional company that manufactures high-quality supplements and personal care, energy, including Rev3 Energy®, and weight-management products in its FDA-registered facility in Salt Lake City. USANA’s products, tested by NSF International and used by more than 600 professional athletes, are developed by the company’s award-winning team of scientists and sold directly to Preferred Customers and Associates in 18 international markets.

USANA is the No. 1 Rated Brand in Direct Sales Based on Customer Satisfaction in ConsumerLab.com’s 2013 Survey of Vitamin and Supplement Users. Named one of Outside magazine’s “Best Places to Work” for four consecutive years, USANA has received more than 100 state, national and international accolades, including Utah Best of State, Stevie Awards, Australian Business Awards, NutriSearch Editor’s Choice and others. Learn more about USANA (www.USANA.com) and the USANA True Health Foundation (www.USANAfoundation.org/), stay current with the official USANA blog (www.whatsupUSANA.com), like us on the USANA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/USANAhealthsciences), or follow USANA on Twitter (@USANAinc).

About USF2000: The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda debuted in 2010 and is a continuation of the highly-regarded USF2000 series which ran from 1990 through 2006, launching the careers of many of today’s top drivers. Sanctioned by INDYCAR and managed by Andersen Promotions, the series is the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system. The top driver in the Championship class will earn a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The series also is part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder program which assists young drivers in advancing from the Skip Barber Racing School to USF2000. Additional information can be found at www.usf2000.com.

About Mazda: Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).

About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) is a global company with affiliates, subsidiaries and joint ventures that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of passenger car and light truck tires. The company also has subsidiaries that specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. With headquarters in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper Tire has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies located in 11 countries around the world. Additional information can be found at www.us.coopertire.com.

source: usf2000.com