It was the debut weekend in the USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires as the Jay Howard Driver Development (JHDD) program attacked the Streets of St. Petersburg for the first two races of 2023. With six drivers scattered across two classes, the Indianapolis-based program earned one win, three podium results, five top-five finishes, and six top-ten finishes to leave St. Pete with momentum on their side.
“It was a great weekend in St. Pete and our results in Florida prove that we are one of the teams to beat in this series,” expressed Jay Howard. “Congrats to Lochie on winning in his series debut and to Evagoras for his first career podium. Good runs by all the JHDD drivers in one of the toughest circuits to go the complete race distance all season long.”
Race one for the USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires saw a pair of JHDD drivers on the podium as Lochie Hughes and Evagoras Papasavvas finished first and second. Dominating the first wheel-to-wheel action of the weekend, the duo battled at the front of the USF2000 field to claim the top two spots on the podium. Canadian Louka St-Jean and Indiana’s Al Morey made their series and temporary circuit debut crossing the line 14th and 15th respectively.
Race two saw Hughes back on the podium with an impressive drive to P3 to leave St. Pete as the USF2000 point leader. Papasavvas continued his strongest open wheel event of his career with a drive to P4 on the results sheet as Morey improved from his Saturday result to finish tenth on Sunday. St-Jean ran into a few issues around the barrier-lined circuit and failed to complete the full race distance being classified in 19th.
The walls of St. Pete caught the JHDD USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires duo of Ricardo Escotto and Reece Ushijima out as they failed to go the full race distance in race one on Saturday. Returning to the track Sunday and competing in their final wheel-to-wheel racing following the NTT INDYCAR Series race, Ushijima was able to earn his best result of the season by adding another top-five finish for the JHDD program in fifth. Escotto also improved on his Saturday results to finish 15th.
Next up for the Jay Howard Driver Development program is an F4 United States Championship event before returning to the Sebring International Raceway for rounds three and four of the USF Pro Championships 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.
Photos by: RTD Media