Jack Jeffers Earns YACademy Winter Series Title
 February 13, 2024| 
  • Team News
24-02-13-yacademy4
Exclusive Autosport Claims Back-to-Bank YACademy Winter Series Titles

HOMESTEAD, Fla.
– Exclusive Autosport took part in the 2024 YACademy Winter Series at Sebring and Homestead over the last week in preparation for the USF Juniors Presented by Continental Tires season with five drivers: Jack Jeffers, Evan Cooley, João Vergara, Anthony Martella, and Giovanni Cabrera. The series began with three races at Sebring International Raceway on February 7-8 before culminating with a second trio of events at Homestead-Miami Speedway over the past weekend. The entire team performed extremely well, highlighted by Jeffers taking the title on the strength of four wins. Cooley was also impressive in his open wheel debut, standing on the podium in four of the six races to finish third in the final standings. In the end, all five Exclusive Autosport drivers scored at least one top-10, which pushed the squad to win the prestigious Team Championship.

“­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­I’m super proud of the entire Exclusive Autosport crew,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “They did an amazing job here at the YACademy Winter Series. The crew has been working incredibly hard over the off-season and the elevated level of preparation at the shop showed as we came here with incredibly fast and reliable cars right out of the hauler. Our drivers did a fantastic job over the course of the series. We had all five drivers make appearances in the top-10 and we collected podiums with three out of five of our drivers. That is not an easy undertaking as the level of competition is high. We certainly showed that the Exclusive Autosport USF Juniors team is strong across the board with equally prepped cars. I am also incredibly honored to walk away with both the driver and team championships at the YACademy Winter Series two years in a row and was thrilled to see the Metallic Raspberry Corpay Cross-Border Solutions car on top of the podium with Jack. 2024 marks the fifth season with Corpay as a team partner and we are very thankful for the continued relationship and support from them. They have been a fantastic partner. I can’t thank Frank (Mannarino) and Brad (Loder) and the entire Corpay team enough. It’s an honor to have them on board with us and we’re thrilled to bring home the YACademy championship for the Corpay team. As an organization, Exclusive Autosport came into this event to learn and prepare for the start of the regular USF Pro Championship series. That is exactly what we did. We are ready to get the regular season underway.”

Jeffers came out of the gate strongly at Sebring to score a win and a runner-up finish at Sebring. A mechanical retirement, due to an unexpected failure of a brand-new chassis harness, being his only blemish on the first half of the Winter Series. Jack elevated his game for all three races at Homestead-Miami, qualifying on pole en route to a sweep of the races. This consistent performance yielded the overall driver championship and sets him on a positive path into the official USF Juniors season, which gets underway at NOLA Motorsports Park in April.

Illinois’ Evan Cooley debuted for the team at the Fall Combine at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and he picked up where he left off, finishing on the podium in all three races at Sebring. Cooley was on his game at Homestead-Miami as well, finishing fourth in the first race before recording a 14th in Race 2 after contact from another driver. Evan capped the Winter Series with a third in the final race of the weekend, which locked him into third in the overall championship standings. The 17-year-old rookie has adapted quickly to his #91 ITI Intermodal Exclusive Autosport Tatuus JR-23 and he aims to take this momentum and experience into the official season.

Lucas Oil School Formula Car Series standout João Vergara added even more podium results to the Exclusive Autosport record. The Brazilian improved through all three races in Sebring, culminating with a strong fourth in the final race of the tripleheader. In Homestead-Miami, João improved again to finish on the podium in third in Race 1, although a 13th finish in Race 2 would halt the forward progress of his result due to being hit by another driver. He showed resiliency in the final race of the series when he bounced back to finish fourth, which moved him to fourth in the championship standings.

Second-year USF Juniors driver Giovanni Cabrera got back into the seat for the Homestead-Miami Speedway rounds of the YACademy Winter Series and scored a weekend-best result of ninth in the second race.

Canadian karting standout Anthony Martella made his debut with Exclusive Autosport and recorded three top-10 finishes, learning more and more with each race. Martella continues to improve his pace throughout the series and a pair of ninth-place finishes at Sebring were topped by a strong sixth in the second race at Homestead-Miami.

All five drivers will now look forward to the official USF Championships Presented by Continental Tires Spring Training event at NOLA Motorsports Park on February 26-27. The opening round of the USF Juniors schedule will see the drivers return to NOLA on April 5-7.

EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
YACADEMY WINTER SERIES – SEBRING/HOMESTEAD-MIAMI – FEBRUARY 7-11, 2024

JOÃO VERGARA - #90
SEBRING
Qualifying 1
: 5th – 1:05.718
Race 1: Start – 5th / Finish – 11th
Race 2: Start – 11th / Finish – 7th
Race 3: Start – 11th / Finish – 4th

MIAMI-HOMESTEAD
Qualifying 1
: 6th - 1:29.182
Race 1: Start – 6th / Finish – 3rd
Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 13th
Race 3: Start – 4th / Finish – 4th

Driver Quote: “This was a week with many learning experiences here at the YACademy Winter Series. Sebring went great with me finishing fourth in the final race. We came to Miami-Homestead and showed good pace right away, being top-five in the practices, and I was happy being on the podium in Race 1. Unfortunately, Race 2 didn’t go our way, but we were able to finish in the top-four in Race 3. I’m happy with the learning experiences and I look forward to taking everything we learned from here and applying it to the season. I really want to thank Telemetry Capital, Second Wave Consulting, and Custodio Toledo for allowing me to come here and race and learn everything in preparation for the upcoming season. Also, thank you to the entire Exclusive Autosport team, my Engineer Lou, and the crew for all their hard work.

EVAN COOLEY - #91
SEBRING
Qualifying 1
: 4th – 1:06.638
Race 1: Start – 4th / Finish – 3rd  
Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 2nd
Race 3: Start – 2nd / Finish – 3rd

MIAMI-HOMESTEAD
Qualifying 1
: 4th – 1:129.182
Race 1: Start – 4th / Finish – 4th
Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 14th
Race 3: Start – 5th / Finish – 3rd

Driver Quote: “This week was great! I had a great week learning here in the YACademy Winter Series. We had a really good couple of days at Sebring, surprising a lot of people with our pace and we also delivered another podium at Homestead-Miami, as well. I want to thank the entire Exclusive Autosport team, Michael Duncalfe, my engineer Lou D’Agostino, my mechanic Rod Scharf, my parents, and my sponsor ITI Intermodal for getting me here.”

JACK JEFFERS - #92
SEBRING
Qualifying 1
: 2nd – 1:06.540
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd    
Race 2: Start – 7th / Finish – 16th (Mechanical)
Race 3: Start – 4th / Finish – 1st

MIAMI-HOMESTEAD
Qualifying 1
: 1st – 1:28.428
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 8th / Finish – 1st
Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st

Driver Quote: “The week went very very well. We took this whole week, even though it is a championship, as testing to gather information for the regular USF Juniors season. At Sebring, we showed we were strong, improving every session, and I was able to get two podiums out of the three races. We came out of the trailer at Miami-Homestead showing great pace, grabbing the pole and sweeping the top step of the podium, clinching the driver and team championship in the process. It was a nice clean sweep, and I couldn’t have done it without the entire Exclusive Autosport crew, especially my Team Owner Michael Duncalfe. I have to thank him for everything he has done for me and how he continues to be an amazing mentor to me. A huge thank you to my engineer Lou D’Agostino, who works with me day and night working on car setups and planning for the next day. A big thank you to a man who never gets much of the spotlight, my mechanic Anthony Crabtree, he works hard every single day, so a huge thank you to him. Also, to my teammates, they played a huge part in getting me up to speed, working together every session, and having them up front really benefited me and the team. Thank you to Corpay Cross-Border and my parents for getting me here today.”

GIOVANNI CABRERA - #93
MIAMI-HOMESTEAD
Qualifying 1
: 17th  – 1:29.890
Race 1: Start – 17th / Finish – 17th
Race 2: Start – 17th / Finish – 9th
Race 3: Start – 19th / Finish – 16th

Driver Quote: “It was a good weekend overall here at Miami-Homestead. I started off kind of towards the back of the pack but through practice and qualifying, my engineer Lou and Vic made some changes to the car and we showed a lot of improvement. In Race 1, I improved a bit and then in Race 2, I made huge gains to finish inside the top-10. Race 3 ended well while learning a lot in preparation for the season. I can’t thank the whole Exclusive Autosport team, Michael Duncalfe, my engineers Lou and Vic, and my mechanic Ray for all their hard work, as well as my PR Alycia for all of her help and always keeping things running smoothly. And, of course, thank you to my whole family for coming out to support me all weekend, and also sponsors for helping make this weekend possible.”

ANTHONY MARTELLA - #95
SEBRING
Qualifying 1
: 14th – 1:06.272
Race 1: Start – 14th / Finish – 12th
Race 2: Start – 12th / Finish – 9th
Race 3: Start - 15th / Finish – 9th

MIAMI-HOMESTEAD
Qualifying 1
: 12th – 1:29.599
Race 1: Start – 12th / Finish – 13th   
Race 2: Start – 13th / Finish – 6th
Race 3: Start – 10th / Finish – 17th

Driver Quote: “It was a really good week in the USF Juniors car. We had good pace at Sebring and Homestead-Miami. We had an unfortunate end at Homestead, but we showed we can run up front in the top-five or top-six. It was a really positive week overall and I’m looking forward to the season with Exclusive Autosport. I can’t thank the team enough for all their hard work, my sponsors, and my family for getting me here.”
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