It was a winning, but challenging weekend for Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) this past weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. With a triple-header race weekend on the docket, Evagoras Papasavvas earned a victory and two podium results while Al Morey nabbed two top-ten finishes. On the other end of the spectrum, Lochie Hughes had a scary incident while Logan Adams had a challenging debut in the series as the JHDD contingent shifts their focus to the Streets of Toronto.
Qualifying for the JHDD went well with three drivers inside the top-ten and four in the top-15 led by Evagoras Papasavvas. The young Ohio resident claimed his first career USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires pole position but drama following the checkered flag. Missing the pit entry and forced to do another lap, Papasavvas was awarded the pole, but would be given a two-position penalty to start race one in third. Lochie Hughes was the next best JHDD driver with a fifth-place effort while Al Morey clocked the eighth-quickest lap of the session. Logan Adams, in his first career race USF2000 qualifying run, secured a P14 starting spot and took his first career green flag from the outside of row seven.
Race one of the triple-header weekend saw the Jay Howard Driver Development program victorious once again with Papassavas scoring his first career win. Racing in his home state in front of family and friends, the #6 machine was the first to receive the checkered flag and celebrated on the podium. Hughes crossed the line fourth, narrowly missing a podium finish while Morey kept the trio of JHDD in the top-ten with a solid ninth-place result. Adams completed the full race distance in his first career start with a P15 result.
With Lochie Hughes battling at the head of the championship table, the rest of the weekend would be disastrous for him as contact in race two saw him upside down and in the gravel trap. With a destroyed race car and still one more race on the weekend, the JHDD crew went to work to rebuild. While Hughes failed to finish, it was Papasavvas who led the way for the team once again earning his second podium result of the weekend, this time crossing the line second to go with his win the day prior. Morey would be classified in the 16th position while Hughes and Logan Adams were down the running order due to their incidents on track.
Race three saw a pair of JHDD drivers back inside the top-ten when the checkered flag flew as Papasavaas narrowly missed a triple-podium weekend, this time finishing in the fourth position as Morey pushed forward from his 17th-place starting spot to finish tenth. Adams and Hughes once again had trouble with Adams forced to retire due to contact. With a valiant effort by the JHDD crew to rebuild the car of Hughes, a fuel pump failure in race three forced him to the sidelines.
“Congratulations to Evagoras on his best weekend of the season and his best weekend in open-wheel racing ever,” explained Howard. “Al showed great speed in qualifying and closed the weekend with a pair of top-ten finishes while Lochie had a few issues but still sits second in the championship. I was impressed with Logan in his debut and his pace was great for a new driver. Unfortunately, he was a victim of other drivers’ mistakes which caused some DNFs but gained some experience that will help him in the future.”
JHDD also competed in the USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires with Reece Ushijama and Ricardo Escotto. After a disappointing result in race one due to a spin in wet conditions, Ushijama returned for race two and once again found himself inside the top-ten earning a sixth-place result. Escotto earned a ninth-place result in the first wheel-to-wheel action while finishing just outside the top-ten in 11th in race two.
Next up for JHDD will be a trip to Canada and the Streets of Toronto for the Honda Indy Toronto and Rounds 14 and 15 of the USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires and Round 12 and 13 of the USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires.
For more information on Jay Howard’s Driver Development program, follow them on social media by searching ‘Jay Howard Driver Development’ or contact Jay Howard via e-mail at Jay@JayHoward.com or visit him online at www.JayHoward.com.
Photo Credit: Gavin Baker Photography