Giaffone Leads USF Juniors Field to Mid-Ohio
 July 5, 2023| 
  • Series News
PALMETTO, Fla. – Brazilian teenager Nicolas Giaffone holds a commanding lead in the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires points table as the second half of the 16-race season begins later this week, July 7/8, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The first rung on the highly acclaimed USF Pro Championships open-wheel development ladder will host a pair of races on the challenging 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in support of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series.

Giaffone has scored five wins and two second places since finishing fourth in the opening round of the season for DEForce Racing. That consistency has allowed him to stretch his advantage to 61 points as he aims for a Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship valued at $241,800 to advance to USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires in 2024.

The third-generation racer from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has his eyes firmly set on following in the footsteps of inaugural USF Juniors champion Mac Clark, who last weekend at Mid-Ohio continued his career progression with the same DEForce Racing team by winning one of the USF2000 races in front of a huge NTT INDYCAR SERIES crowd.

The Exclusive Autosport rookie pair of Joey Brienza, from Golden, Colo., and Jack Jeffers, from San Antonio, Texas, both have one race win apiece to their credit, while Giaffone’s Australian teammate Quinn Armstrong also has tasted the fruits of victory.

Brazilian Lucas Fecury (DEForce Racing) and a trio of VRD Racing contenders, Jimmie Lockhart, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Max Taylor, from Hoboken, N.J., and Hudson Schwartz, from Arlington, Va., have all finished on the podium at least once and now have their sights set on a breakthrough maiden win.

DC Autosport’s Ethan Ho also has high expectations this weekend. Ho, from Los Angeles, Calif., has dipped his toe in the USF2000 waters in several events as he looks forward to progressing up the USF Pro Championships ladder in the years to come. Ho has claimed a pair of top-six finishes, and last weekend at Mid-Ohio recorded his best qualifying position to date when he started on the outside of the front row of the grid for one of the races.

Teammate Carson Etter, from Villa Park, Calif., and DEForce Racing’s Brady Golan, from Austin, Texas, also gained their first taste of USF2000 – and some valuable experience at Mid-Ohio – last weekend.

The USF Juniors field will have plenty of track time this week at the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, starting with three 45-minute test sessions on Thursday. An additional 30 minutes of practice at 8:45 a.m. EDT on Friday will precede qualifying at 11:15 a.m., which will set the starting positions for the first race at 12:50 p.m. A second qualifying session at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday will form the grid for Race Two at 11:30 a.m.

Full coverage can be found on the free USF Pro Championships App, YouTube channel and the website.

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