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Category: USF2000

Scott AndrewsAustralian Scott Andrews is determined to convert his promising USF2000 Championship debut at Laguna Seca last month into podium results in this weekend’s series finale at Reliant Park.

Andrews, from the Victorian seaside town of Torquay, has confirmed his entry for rounds 13 and 14 at the Houston street circuit, again driving for JDC Motorsports.

He impressed the USF2000 paddock by setting the fastest time in only his second practice session driving a ‘wings and slicks’ openwheeler on the unsighted California circuit, and followed that with top-three times in the next two sessions.

A “rookie driving error” and a minor electrical problem with his car in qualifying cost the young Aussie a potential front row starting position, but from midfield starting positions he salvaged top-10 results in the two races.

Following a two-day test at Mid-America Motorplex in Iowa, Andrews is raring to go in the Houston USF2000 rounds, which will support the Indycar series.

“The test at Mid-America was a chance to get more familiar with the car, especially how it reacts to set-up changes,” he said.

“There’s so little track time at a race meeting that every extra lap helps.”

One thing in Andrews’ favour at Reliant Park is that, as at Laguna Seca, the USF2000 Championship didn’t visit there last year, making it a more level playing field.

“Of course, like all street tracks there’ll be less margin for error and less grip than at a permanent circuit,” he said.

“It’ll also be more unpredictable, with more chance of stoppages and full course cautions.”

Andrews acknowledged the opportunity of racing with JDC Motorsports for the final two USF2000 Championship rounds.

“John Church and his team are amazing to work with – their experience has really flattened out my learning curve!” he said.

“We’re all striving for my first overseas race victory, and I’ll be giving it my best shot.

“The speed is there – now we just have to put it all together at Houston,” he said.

RELIANT PARK TIMETABLE (subject to change without notice by the promoter)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4

1220-1250 USA Central Daylight Saving Time – Practice

1635-1705 USA Central Daylight Saving Time – Qualifying

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

0955-1025 USA Central Daylight Saving Time – Race 1

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6

0945-1015 USA Central Daylight Saving Time – Race 2

Ryan Verra continued Alliance Autosport’s perfect win record in the 2013 USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises by winning both races at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The event started off well with Verra running over 80 trouble free laps over the three test sessions and official practice session, getting faster and more consistent each session out. In qualifying, Verra laid down a very fast time on Lap 3 which would not beat.

In Race 1, Verra started the Alliance Autosport No. 25 Capto Scientia/Enemy Sport/Toshi/Cancer Research Society entry from the pole position. He had a very good start and was able to open up a small gap to his closest competitor, fellow Canadian James Dayson. By mid-race Dayson had closed the gap and was applying constant pressure to. Verra, however, ran mistake-free the entire race and opened up another gap towards the end to pick up his first career USF2000 National Class victory.

For Race 2, the grid was set by fastest lap times in Race 1 which meant Verra would again start from the pole position. He had another solid start and once again was able to maintain the lead and hold off multiple passing attempts by Dayson. Verra maintained the lead after a late race restart and went on to pick up his second win of the weekend.

“Ryan drove incredibly well all weekend,” stated Alliance Autosport Team Owner Scott Rettich. “He went faster each session out and didn’t put a wheel wrong the entire event. It was awesome to see him not only come away with one win, but win both races! I know he learned a few more things this weekend and gained confidence that will make him even stronger in Houston.”

“During the practices I was able to find some good speed in the fast corners which I carried into the races and used to maintain the lead and come away with the wins,” stated Verra. “It felt amazing to come away with my first wins in the USF2000 National Class in the Mazda Road to Indy. I’m more ready than ever to tackle the streets of Houston in October.”

Driver2ResearchVerrasport is proud to announce its partnership with the Cancer Research Society in the ‘Driven to Research’ campaign. The Cancer Research Society (CRS) was founded in 1945 with the goal of funding research on all types of cancer, thereby contributing to the advancement of science aimed at preventing, detecting and treating this disease.

This project was inspired by a good friend of Ryan Verra’s shortly after finding out her mother was diagnosed with cancer and only had months to live. “I watched my friend act so brave knowing she was giving her family strength during those hard times.” Ryan recounted the moment; “It’s difficult to understand what people are going through; this is something we all fear and too often have to face.” He knew he wanted to show support so he turned to what he knew best, racing. “Being inspired by my friends’ strength I had the idea of putting a ribbon with her Mother’s name on the wing of my (race) car, while I raced, to show support and maybe bring a smile to their faces during such hard times.”

Ryan was then determined to help find a cure for this horrible disease and knew other families dealing with cancer needed the support. He set out on a mission to fund research into cancers cure which led him to the Cancer Research Society. Together the CRS and Ryan Verra came up with the ‘Driven to Research’ concept. “We were thrilled when Ryan Verra asked if we could team up with him. A car racing event is a new and exciting fund-raising experience and we are happy that Ryan will use his great talents to help our organization fund cancer research in Canada” Said the CRS Executive Director, Mr. Andy Chabot. “I’m very excited to get this project rolling.” Ryan said of the partnership; “it’s a huge deal to me knowing I’m out there racing to support cancer research. One in seven of us will die of cancer and to me that is far more dangerous than racing formula cars. We have a great group of fans and supporters that look up to us and it’s an opportunity to not only raise awareness, but to support the research that will cure this disease one day.”

‘Driven to Research’ will incorporate Ryan Verra’s #25 Alliance Autosport race car in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises division during the Mazda Road to Indy. We are calling on the general public to purchase a decal on Verra’s race car which will include the name of a loved one that has battled, or is currently battling, cancer. There will also be an exclusive contest to win a ride in the two-seater Indycar, driven by legendary racer Mario Andretti.

If you would like to donate to the ‘Driven to Research’ campaign, or for more information, please check out the donation page at: http://www.crs-src.ca/DrivenToResearch

Alliance Autosport continued their strong run in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda National Class by winning Rounds Three and Four in St. Petersburg, and picking up another podium finish.

Scott Rettich, 28, of Camden, Ohio, started the weekend off strong by qualifying the No. 71 PDI Communication Systems/Springboro Car Wash entry on the pole for Round Three at the St. Pete Grand Prix. Rettich relinquished the lead to his teammate Ryan Verra on the start, but after a few laps under caution, Rettich was able to move back into the lead and open up a sizeable gap over his next closest competitors in the National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises. In the process, Rettich was able to run a fast lap just 1.6 seconds slower than the fastest competitor in the faster Championship Class. In Round Four, Rettich was again able to stay out of trouble and take a comfortable win over second place finisher James Dayson.

Verra, of Calgary, Alb., also had a strong start to the weekend, running second fastest in the majority of each official practice sessions in the National Class. Verra started the No. 25 Capto Scientia/Enemy Sport/Toshi/Cancer Research Society entry from the third position in Round Three, and had a stellar start avoiding all of the carnage in turn one, moving into the lead. After a few laps under caution, Verra, surrendered the lead to his teammate shortly after the restart. Unfortunately, on the final lap of the 21 lap race, with second place well in hand, a competitor in the Championship Class bumped Verra into the wall and out of the race.

“All in all it was a really good weekend for us,” stated Alliance Autosport Team Manager Suren Tchobanian. “Scott was again extremely quick each session, and Ryan made big improvements in both speed and consistency since Sebring. It was very unfortunate that Ryan was knocked out of the race, because I think he would have finished at least second in both races. We are really excited for the next USF2000 Series event, the official test at our home track, Mid-Ohio!”

Ryan VerraAlliance Autosport started the USF2000 National Championship season off right with two wins and two podiums at Sebring International Raceway.

Scott Rettich, 28, of Camden, Ohio, put an exclamation point on the start of his season with a solid drive to victory in the No. 71 PDI Communication Systems/Springboro Car Wash entry. Rettich also set a new track record during Round One in the National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises. Rettich repeated his strong performance in Round Two, picking up another victory, and maintaining the points lead heading into Rounds Three and Four at St. Pete.

Ryan Verra, of Calgary, Alb., also started the season off strong with a pair of podium finishes in the No. 25 Capto Scientia/Enemy Sport/Toshi/Cancer Research Society entry. Verra, in his first race at Sebring International Raceway in a winged formula car started in P3 and quickly moved up to P2 on the start. He held second position for the majority of the race in a tight back and forth battle with fellow Canadian James Dayson, before finally finishing in third position. In Round Two, Verra again started in P3 and passed Dayson for second position on the opening lap. Later in the race, Dayson overtook Verra at the famous turn seven, as he again finished in third.

“It was an incredible week for us,” stated Alliance Autosport Team Manager Suren Tchobanian. “Scott was very fast all week, and Ryan is performing very well against drivers that have many more years of experience behind the wheel. We know that Ryan will continue to get faster and soon be challenging for wins as well.”

Ryan VerraThere are those who are wired for speed and Ryan Verra readily admits he’s one of them.

“It’s a craft like anything else, except you’re going a lot faster,” explained the Calgarian. “Your heart beats at 170 beats per minute. It’s a stressful time and the fear and the adrenaline is what keeps you sharp. But you have to stay calm, so it’s kind of a back and forth thing.”

Verra, an entrepreneur trained in mixed martial arts, is most interested these days in improving his status as race car driver. This past week, he was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — the sport’s mecca — taking part in the Mazda Road to Indy Test in order to impress the folks at Afterburner Autosport so that he can join that team for the upcoming USF 2000 season, which begins in March 2013.

“They invited me to come down and I wanted to take the opportunity for USF 2000, which is a step to Indy Car,” he noted. “I put in 20 races this year and hope to do the national class in 2013.”

Last season, he caught a ride with TTM Racing for the Formula 1000 championship series.

“I’m just moving on to something faster, bigger audience, bigger crowd,” Verra, recently turned 30, noted. “There’s nothing like it. It gets your brain going, even after a race, you start thinking different, things are sharp. I’m not married; I don’t have kids, so I’m able to pursue something like this. It’s good to have a goal for motivation . . . the speed is kind of addicting.

Read more at Calgary Herald.

Photo by IMS Photo.

Afterburner Autosport returns to action this week (October 10-11), taking part in the second annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Building on what was a solid debut season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Minnesota-based squad will have four talented up-and-comers getting behind the wheel, with Danilo Estrela, Joe Ruch, Ryan Verra, and Nathan Blok taking part in the year-end event.

With the 2012 season now in the record books, Afterburner Autosport is already looking ahead to the upcoming 2013 campaign. With the ultimate goal of running a multi-car effort that will challenge for wins in their second season of USF2000 Championship competition, the team will use the annual Mazda Road to Indy test in Indianapolis to begin driver evaluations and establish relationships with racers.

Well aware that the talent-level within the USF2000 Championship is deep, the former SCCA National Championship-winning squad has assembled a strong line-up for the two-day test on the IMS road course.

Day one will feature Ruch, Estrela, and Verra all piloting an Afterburner Autosport Van Diemen with Mazda power. Ruch, from nearby Frankfort, Ind., joins the squad having impressed both in the karting ranks (winning numerous races) and the 2011 Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine test last year in Florida. Estrela, a native of Goiania, Brazil, will make his USF2000 debut as the 2011 Skip Barber Race Series Champion Shootout winner and Skip Barber Winter Series runner-up. Verra, who resides in Calgary, Alb., slides into the cockpit with experience in both the Skip Barber Summer Series and Winter Series, as well as the F1000 Championship series.

When the USF2000 Championship cars roll back on-course on day two of the Mazda Road to Indy test, Blok will also get his chance to showcase his talents. The Beachburg, Ont., racer will pilot an Afterburner Autosport entry as the reigning two-time Quebec-based Formula Tour F1600 champion, and a two-time Team Canada Scholarship finalist.

“We are really excited to have these four drivers testing with Afterburner Autosport during the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at Indy,” stated Afterburner Autosport’s Brian Tomasi. “Blok, Estrela, Ruch, and Verra are all ready to make the step up to USF2000 in 2013… and be successful. Hopefully we can put things together for a full campaign next year, as I’m confident all of them could challenge for Rookie of the Year honors.”

Testing on the renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course commences on Wednesday morning (October 10), with the Afterburner Autorsport cars and the rest of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda field taking part in a one-hour session. A second 75-minute run will take place in the afternoon, with the schedule repeating on Thursday (October 11). Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.usf2000.com. Drivers interested in taking part in other off-season programs, are invited to contact Afterburner Autosport.

Afterburner Autosport races with associate sponsorship from www.AuroraBearing.com.

Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website at www.afterburnerautosport.com. For direct contact, email afterburnerautosport@gmail.com or call 630-251-1709.

Keep up to date via Twitter @ ABautosport1 and Facebook page @ Afterburner-Autosport