Armstrong on Top in USF Juniors at Mid-Ohio
 July 8, 2023| 
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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Australian Quinn Armstrong closed out an impressive run in the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio doubleheader with victory in today’s final leg at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It was the second win of the season for the 16-year-old DEForce Racing driver in USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires competition.

Hudson Schwartz, of Arlington, Va., crossed the line second for VRD Racing followed by Ethan Ho, of Los Angeles, Calif., with DC Autosport – with both drivers posting their career-best results of the season.

Schwartz, 14, earned his first Cooper Tires Pole Award with an outstanding drive in a separate qualifying session held earlier in the day. Armstrong was alongside on the front row followed by Ho and Exclusive Autosport’s Jack Jeffers, of San Antonio, Texas, who finished third yesterday. Series points leader and Race 1 winner Nicolas Giaffone lined up fifth on the grid with the top-five starters blanketed by just 0.266 of a second.

With a thunderstorm looming, the green flag flew 20 minutes early to avoid the potential weather. Schwartz had no problem taking control of the field with a strong start and had built up a 1.3-second lead before the first caution flew on Lap 2. Contact between Giaffone and Ethan Barker, of Houston, Texas, in a battle for fifth place sent Giaffone off track and out of the race.

Again, Schwartz had no problem controlling the lead on the Lap 5 restart, which unfortunately saw contact between Joey Brienza, of Exclusive Autosport, and VRD Racing’s Max Taylor in Turn 5. It was the end of the day for Brienza, while Taylor was able to continue but was subsequently served a drive-through penalty for the incident.

Schwartz again led the field to the restart on Lap 9 with Armstrong in pursuit. Armstrong was finally able to be close enough for a pass for the lead, which he accomplished heading into Turn 4 on Lap 11.

The caution flags flew again on Lap 12 for an incident involving Jimmie Lockhart of VRD Racing who had been running in seventh. The result was a five-lap shootout to the finish which Armstrong comfortably managed. Schwartz had to settle for second, and the consolation of setting the fastest lap of the race,  with Ho in third followed by Jeffers and Barker.

Despite the drive-through penalty, Taylor still managed to finish sixth and pick up the Tilton Hard Charger Award.

DEForce Racing’s David and Ernesto Martinez took home their eighth PFC Award as the winning car owners.

With both Giaffone and Brienza out of the race, Armstrong earned valuable points to move into second in the standings.

USF Juniors will return to action on August 12/13 for a tripleheader event at Road America.

Provisional championship points after 10 of 16 races:
1. Nicolas Giaffone, 270
2. Quinn Armstrong, 204
3. Joey Brienza, 192
4. Jack Jeffers, 188
5. Jimmie Lockhart, 159
6. Lucas Fecury, 151
7. Max Taylor, 143
8. Ethan Ho, 134
9. Ethan Barker, 131
10. Erick Schotten, 126
       Brady Golan, 126
     
Quinn Armstrong (#16 NDA-DEForce Racing Tatuus JR-23): “Definitely a crazy race with plenty of restarts to shake up the order. It was not an easy race to get to first but we ended exactly where we wanted to be and I can’t thank DEForce enough.”

Hudson Schwartz (#29 Axios-VRD Racing Tatuus JR-23): “I had a really good lead at the start and then the safety car came out. On the restart, I made another good start and then we had another safety car. Quinn was right behind and it was another three laps before he forced me into a bit of a mistake and got me down in Turn 4. From there, it was about me trying to hit my marks and get as close as I could to him. The white flag came out and I tried as hard as I could, but ultimately came home in second and I am very happy with it.”

Ethan Ho (#68 Triple S Suspensions-DC Autosport Tatuus JR-23): “It was a really close race. We were all there together – all three of us, and four when Jeffers got close a couple of times. Like Quinn said, it is really hard to pass on this track and I had some opportunities but wasn’t really close enough. Everyone is just so close on times, and I ended up third.”

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