LEEDS, Ala. – Canada’s Mac Clark finished on the top of the charts for DEForce Racing as the initial official test for the new USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires took place today at Barber Motorsports Park. Clark, 17, from Toronto, Ont., set his best lap, 1:27.942, in the third of four 40-minute sessions, edging Velocity Racing Development’s Sam Corry, 14, from Cornelius, N.C., by a little less than one tenth of a second.
A total of 16 contenders participated in the one-day test on the 2.3-mile road course, with the majority of drivers making their initial foray into car racing and many of them having already established their credentials in karting.
Corry, 14, set the pace in each of the first two sessions, shadowed by VRD teammate Nikita Johnson, from Gulfport, Fla. Both youngsters opted to sit out the final two sessions of the day, leaving the way clear for Clark to leapfrog his way to the head of the field.
“We had a great day today at Barber Motorsport Park,” said Clark, who was the only driver to dip below the 1:28 bracket. “The #17 DEForce Valkyrie racing car was definitely on rails that third session and I am really happy to end up the fastest. I’ve never been here before and I have really enjoyed it. And I am really enjoying the USF Juniors series. The entire program seems awesome and I think we are going to have a lot of fun racing this year. I am really looking forward to kicking off the season in the Ozarks.”
Corry’s time set in the second session, 1:28.026, remained good enough for second on the day, although Elliot Cox, from Indianapolis, Ind., took advantage of the two VRD cars’ absence by vaulting into third on 1:28.223 for the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development team.
Johnson ended the day with the fourth best time at 1:28.309. One of the youngest drivers in the field at age 13, Johnson recently clinched the YACademy Winter Series Championship held over two race weekends last month, earning free entry into the first official race weekend of the season at Ozarks International Raceway in Gravois Hills, Mo., on April 23/24.
Noah Ping, from Gainesville, Ga., rounded out the top five in a third VRD Ligier-Honda.
After showing impressive speed in the recent TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires, Alessandro De Tullio, from Miami, Fla., translated his sim racing form to the sixth best time, also for Velocity Racing Development.
The International Motorsport team ended the day seventh and eighth fastest as newcomer Alan Isambard, from Nogent-sur-Marne, France, edged more experienced teammate Andre Castro, from New York, N.Y. Last year’s FRP Formula 1600 Championship winner, Nicholas d’Orlando (DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports), from Hartsdale, N.Y. , and David Burketh (Future Star Racing), from Laurel, Md., completed the top 10.
After the season-opener at Ozarks International Raceway, USF Juniors will return to Barber Motorsports Park for Rounds Four and Five just a few days later on April 28-29.