Interview

ASHLEY ASKS……. Braden Eves

By: Ashley McCubbin

After winning the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship last season, Braden Eves is set to for the next step of the Road to Indy with Exclusive Autosport, as he gets set to tackle the Indy Pro 2000 Championship schedule presented by Cooper Tires.

POPULAR OPEN WHEEL caught up with the American to get his thoughts on the Road to Indy iRacing series, Indy Pro 2000, and more.

POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on the iRacing Series?

BRADEN EVES: I think it’s a lot of fun for us drivers to compete against each other for the season gets started. All of us drivers wished that we could’ve raced at St. Pete and none of the pandemic stuff happened, but it’s a good way to stay thinking about racing and have fun.

POW: Thus far, you’ve had a a lot of success on iRacing…..

EVES: Yeah, it’s been really good for me. I’ve been a longtime iRacer; I signed up for it in 2011. I’ve always used it as a training tool and a way to have fun. Now as the real life stuff gets even more serious, it’s more so a training tool and it’s always been very useful for me. But overall, I’ve always had a lot of fun competing in the high level racers on there. They’re competitive and it’s always just a good time.

Road to Indy

POW: So when you’re on the service, do you stick to open-wheel or are you trying other cars and tracks?

POW: Yeah, I just do everything. It’s not really accurate enough, to be honest, what it’s like driving a formula car at the track. I mainly try to focus on the mental side. I do a lot of the GT car side stuff, I raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Daytona prototype; that was a lot of fun. I also do some oval stuff; I like doing the NASCAR stuff on the ovals from the time to time, as well. I just really like to do everything. It’s really about the racing and having fun more so than the training for me.

POW: So in connecting back to real life competition, do you want to try something outside of open-wheel?

EVES: I don’t know. Mainly for me, it’s just been open-wheel. That’s what I’ve been focused on and it presents a great opportunity to move up the ladder. I’m sure if an opportunity came up like Myer Shank Racing has supported me and he’s been very good to me in the past, and he runs a sportscar team, and I’d love to run in the sportscar stuff at anytime. I would love to do the 24 Hours of Daytona. I love the endurance stuff; that’s always been really cool to me.

POW: What are your thoughts on getting back to the track?

EVES: It’s going to be crazy then, with everything packed together. I think it’s going to be really competitive. We’ve all been in a similar situation where we’ve all been out of the car for awhile, and we’re all going to get back to it. Momentum will be real important as when we do get back, it’ll be race, race, race. There won’t be any real big breaks. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been really strong. The Exclusive Autosport team has just been extremely professional, and my time in the car has been really good. I have a lot of confidence in myself and the team, and I think everything is working my way.

POW: What are your goals and expectations?

EVES: After the championship and the scholarship, I’ll just take things as they go and focus on each individual race because championships are made by having results in every single race. I’m just going to take it race-by-race with the championship in mind, and overall, just focus on getting results and staying out of trouble.

POW: Thus far in testing, what have you found to be the biggest difference between USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000?

EVES: Not a lot of huge differences; they’re actually pretty close. It’s just a natural progression, so everything just feels natural. It just has more grip, more power, more of everything in being a little bit of a higher level. It’s not too different to drive. I think the main difference is switching from team to team rather than car to car.

POW: Outside of iRacing, what else have you been up to lately?

EVES: Obviously, I’ve been on the sim a lot. I’ve done a little bit of karting – just a couple test days, which has been really fun, and been trying to enjoy a little bit of a break. It honestly feels like more of a break than the off-season because we haven’t been doing any testing and everything is already settled in and there’s not really anything to do. I’m just trying to look it as a vacation as much of a sense as I can and enjoy it.

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