The Canadian race fans at the Honda Indy Toronto got to see one of their own pick up a win to start off Sunday’s on-track action. After taking the lead on Lap 4, Parker Thompson never looked back en route to scoring the victory in USF2000.
While admitting it’s tough to pass on the tight circuit, Thompson was able to make the move going into turn three at the end of the Lakeshore.
“The problem is passing on turn three on the outside is proven to not be very good as a lot of drivers can’t do it being very difficult,” he told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “I threw it in very deep on the brakes and kept him pinched down on the inside, and there was no looking back after that.”
It marks the first street course victory for the Red Deer, Alberta native, who admittedly notes he was watching Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Anthony Martin in his mirror through the final laps.
“Every race that I’ve won, I’ve had a lead on the last lap to where I can sit back, relax, and enjoy,” he said. “This race – I had a competitor coming up on me fast approaching so I couldn’t really enjoy the last lap. Then I had lap traffic with two cars about to lap. I was pushing it as hard as I could trying to stay out of the walls and avoid big moments on the last lap.
“Crossing the checkered flag line and getting the win was a huge relief for us. Took my time going around and there were two fans that came to see me that I gave a couple of shirts. Going around three, I saw them leaning against the fence, so that was cool. I kind of took the slow drive by there and enjoyed the emotions.”
Martin crossed the finish line in second, marking a solid rebound after crashing out of yesterday’s practice and injuring his wrist.
“It means a lot,” Martin told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “Struggled yesterday with the crash and lost some critical points in the championship so to get some points and still be in the championship hunt is very important, and now just set to work hard the rest of the year.”
Saturday’s race winner Victor Frazoni finished third despite not getting off the line quickly at the start of the race, followed by Dakota Dickerson with a career-best fourth. Robert Megennis rounded out the top-five, ahead of Nikita Lastochkin, Yufeng Luo, Jordan Lloyd, Michaei Stephens and Luke Gabin. Both Lloyd and Gabin ran better than they finished, but Gabin was assessed a drive-thru penalty while Lloyd went for a quick spin.
With a runner-up and third on the weekend, Thompson takes sole procession of the series points lead ahead of Martin. Knowing how tight street circuits are, the goal for the weekend was simply come out with a points lead, knowing how strong his team runs at the road course.
“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “I still want to win at Mid-Ohio, and I know how quickly 20 points can swing either way. So looking at that from that aspect, we have five races to go so we’ve got a long way to go. So hopefully we can come out of Mid-Ohio with the points lead.”
While Thompson has the lead, Martin made it clear he isn’t letting his teammate walk away with the championship at all.
“I know I’ll be working as hard as I can to improve on what we learned last time, and ultimately win a couple races or at least finish in front of Parker to get some points back,” Martin said. “It’s interesting. When you’re racing against your teammate, I just look at the other car, and it’s just another competitor on the race track. I don’t treat anyone else differently – I treat Parker just like anyone else. Inside the truck, we work together on data and everything and are great mates, but on the track, we’re just racing for the championship.”
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