PORTLAND, Ore. – One day after celebrating his 18th birthday with an emphatic victory at Portland International Raceway, Reece Gold emerged victorious once again in this afternoon’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season finale. Gold, from Miami, Fla., led throughout the 30-lap Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Portland for Juncos Hollinger Racing to secure second place in the championship standings.
Last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship winner Kiko Porto, from Recife, Brazil, improved one position from yesterday with a strong runner-up finish at the wheel of his DEForce Racing Tatuus PM-22. Teammate Nolan Siegel, from Palo Alto, Calif., rounded out the podium in third.
Gold once again started from the inside of the front row of the grid and never looked back. Newly crowned champion Louis Foster (Exclusive Autosport), from Basingstoke, England, made a bid to round out his remarkably successful rookie season in North America with a bold pass into the Festival Curves chicane on the opening lap but was unable to make it stick. Instead, he was obliged to take to the escape road and dropped almost to the back of the field.
Gold completed the opening lap with a margin of 1.1 seconds over Porto, who in turn was chased by Siegel, London, England-raised Pakistani Enaam Ahmed (Juncos Hollinger Racing) and Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), from Carmel, Ind.
The leading positions remained unchanged as Gold inched gradually away from his pursuers. The gap grew to as much as 3.7 seconds before Gold eased his pace just a little once he knew the victory, his fourth of the season, was assured.
Siegel chased gamely in third place although was never able to shake off the attentions of Ahmed.
Miller finished a lonely fifth, well clear of the recovering Foster, who posted the fastest lap of the race during a startling recovery drive which culminated in overcoming a resolute defense from Mexico’s Salvador De Alba (Jay Howard Driver Development) on the final lap.
Jordan Missig (Pabst Racing), from Channahon, Ill., earned his second Tilton Hard Charger Award in as many days – and third of the season – after rising from 13th on the grid to ninth.
After wrapping up the Team Championship yesterday, Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger secured their fourth PFC Award of the season as the winning car owners.
Today’s race wound up the on-track activities for this season’s Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. Tomorrow, however, more than $1.2 million in scholarships and awards will be distributed at the traditional Championship Celebration in Portland, Ore., while preparations for the 2023 season will get under way with the Road to Indy Fall Combine open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 22/23.
Provisional championship points after 18 of 18 rounds:
1. Louis Foster, 451
2. Reece Gold, 390
3. Enaam Ahmed, 338
4. Nolan Siegel, 333
5. Braden Eves, 304
6. Josh Green, 298
7. Kiko Porto, 290
8. Salvador De Alba, 289
9. Jack William Miller, 251
10. Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 244
Reece Gold (#55 The Ticket Clinic-Juncos Hollinger Racing Tatuus PM-22): “We were able to get our second win of the weekend. Turn One is always a little chaotic but we were able to make it out clean. Thank you to everyone at Juncos for giving me a great car and The Ticket Clinic. It was a great way to end the season and I am really looking forward to next year.”
Kiko Porto (#1 Banco Daycoval/Petromega-DEForce Racing Tatuus PM-22): “It was an awesome weekend for us here at DEForce. We were third place on the podium yesterday and now second place today with my teammate. That just shows how hard-working the DEForce team is this weekend and all season. I want to say thank you to the team, to my mechanics, my sponsors and my family. I will keep pushing for next year.”
Nolan Siegel (#8 Towne Ford/Race for RP-DEForce Racing Tatuus PM-22): “I am really happy to close out the season with a third-place finish. I think there have only been one or two weekends when we haven’t been on the podium in Indy Pro. It’s been a really strong year so a huge thank you to the team. I have been with them the past two years and it’s been absolutely incredible. So, a huge shout-out to them and I am really happy to close out the season on a high.”