Top 6 for Thomas at Mid-Ohio!
It was a tough USF2000 triple-header for Thomas Nepveu at Mid-Ohio this weekend. The young DEForce Racing driver had a few bumps in the road during his three races but still managed to score valuable points.
The driver of the #10 Cromwell | Pétrole Bélanger | Home Hardware | Karting Excellence machine set good lap times during the Test Day, finishing in 3rd position in most sessions. In qualifying, Thomas encountered traffic on his fast lap, forcing him to settle for 11th on the grid for the first race and two 8th positions for the next races.
The first race, held late Friday afternoon, did not reflect the efforts of Nepveu and the team as he had contact early in the race, in addition to a different tire strategy than others on track.
"We had a bad race," Thomas explained. "We were the only ones with used tires, while the rest of the field had new tires, so it was a very big disadvantage. We also had a problem with the gearbox after the contact. It was a race to forget," he said, as he had to settle for 13th place.
Completing the two remaining races on Saturday, Thomas' bad luck continued in the second race. "I had a great start and took the first turn well. However, I was unlucky and had a rear contact at the hairpin in turn 2. That sent me into the gravel, and then I fell to the back of the pack. We had a very good car, so I could get back up and make a few passes to finish 12th. Passing at Mid-Ohio is very complex; I wish I could have done more."
However, Thomas' luck began to change in the third race. The Oka native was able to score some good points by finishing 6th. "It was my best race ever! I am happy with the race. I would have liked to finish in the Top 5, I tried very hard to pass, but it was too close of a battle."
He states, "I think we had a good race with some great passing. The team made some changes to the car that paid off. We need to put this bitter weekend behind us and aim for two good Top 5s in Toronto."
Indeed, the next USF2000 event will be in Canada, on the streets of Toronto for the Honda Indy.
"It wasn't quite the weekend we were hoping for, but it ended positively," said Coy Arbour, Thomas' coach. "The next event is a Canadian street circuit on the streets of Toronto. The last time Thomas raced on a street circuit (St-Pete), he managed to get the pole position and led all laps except the last one, so anything is possible for the next 2 races."