The most recent round of the USF2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires took place this past weekend at Road America. Having never competed at Road America in a USF2000 car in the past, Jay Howard Driver Development driver Al Morey was looking to continue his upward progression.
The three-day weekend, which began Thursday and concluded Saturday, opened with a Promoters Test Day before being followed by official practice and a pair of qualifying sessions on Friday while Saturday saw a pair of back-to-back races.
Progressing through Thursday’s first practice, Morey showed pace that put him in the front half of the field. Instead of participating in the second session of the day, Morey and his JHDD crew decided to perform an engine swap on the #7 car as it had a small crack in it. However, practice one allowed Al and the team to fine-tune his JHDD machine for Friday’s qualifying sessions.
“The weekend started well as we had some pace and learned from some of my teammates that have raced here in the past,” explained Morey. “Unfortunately, I got stuck on a curb and high-sided the car early in the first qualifying session which forced me to start at the back of the grid for race one. However, I felt we had a decent recovery in qualifying two to earn the 13th fastest lap of the session, especially after missing a session due to our engine change. A huge credit to the JHDD team and to Jonathan for all their hard work and the get the car back to being perfect again for the races tomorrow.”
Back to the track Saturday and starting last in the field, Morey moved forward from his P22 starting spot to finish 18th, one lap down due to a nose change on the first lap. Even though Morey had a great drive crossing the line in P11, he was classified in P18 because of the elongated repair time. Pressing on, Morey took the experience and learned what to expect in race two.
“Yeah, it’s very disappointing to have such great pace and then be taken out due to someone else’s lack of car control, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Nonetheless, I’d like to thank my sponsors, Reis Nichols, Indy Boat Co., and Raffurty’s Bar and Grill for their continuing and ongoing support, it means everything to me!”
The second wheel-to-wheel event of the weekend rolled off the grid Saturday afternoon and Morey continued to move his way up the results sheet. Starting on the inside of row seven, Morey gained places quickly and was inside the top-ten within just a couple of laps. Morey was driven into the side of while in tenth and fell back to P18. In the closing three laps of the race, Morey regained five of the eight lost positions and finished exactly where he started, P13.
The next stop for Al Morey and the Jay Howard Driver Development program will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course over the June 29 to July 2 weekend.
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Photo by: RTD Media