Christian Brooks takes over the championship lead after Rounds 3 and 4
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 24, 2021) – Exclusive Autosport returned to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in winning fashion this past weekend, scoring the victory in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. The weather was warm and humid throughout the temporary street circuit event, making for a physical weekend for both the drivers and the crew of the EA squad. All four drivers came out the box looking racy and by the time qualifying and racing came around, Exclusive Autosport was on top of the charts. Californian Christian Brooks delivered an incredible all-around performance with one pole and two wins. Englishman Matt Round-Garrido grabbed his best Road to Indy finish with a second-place in the opening race of the doubleheader, capping the event with another top-five. Both of the team’s rookies – Billy Frazer and Grant Palmer – fought their way through the field in both races, advancing closer to the front. Exclusive Autosport left St. Petersburg with the lead in the Team Championship and the Driver Championship with Brooks.
“The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was extremely solid for the Exclusive Autosport team,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “Christian absolutely dominated the weekend, winning both races, and Matt delivered great performances as well with a podium and a fourth-place. Billy and Grant both drove incredibly well for their first time on a street circuit. Overall, I am happy with how the team performed. We almost locked out the Race 1 podium, which would have been an amazing accomplishment. It was a massive weekend for our USF2000 team, and I want to thank our dedicated crew as well. Our entire squad has come together. I also want to give a huge thank you to Cambridge Global Payments for their constant support. We were lucky enough to have our friends from Cambridge here with us and I’m super thankful we put on an amazing performance for them.”
The weekend kicked off on Friday morning with their one and only practice session, followed by their two qualifying sessions. Brooks put his car on the pole, almost beating his track record from last fall. Round-Garrido would lock out the front row for the EA squad as they led the field to the green for Race 1. The race was slowed several times with one red flag and quite a few full-course cautions, but this did not faze Brooks, who went unchallenged for the win from the green to the checker, as the race ended under another full-course caution. Round-Garrido was also unchallenged in the second position. Frazer started in the eighth spot, and he capitalized on the chaos to work his way up to the third position. With just two green flag laps left, he slipped back a spot and brought home an incredible fourth-place finish as the race’s top rookie. Palmer was EA’s mover of the race! Starting from the 25th spot after tapping the wall in Qualifying 1, Grant had his work cut out for him. He did a fantastic job missing the wreckage throughout the race and was making great passes. He finished in the 12th position, moving up an incredible 13 positions. He was named the ‘Hard Charger’ for the race.
Race 2 took place later in the afternoon under extremely hot and humid weather. Unlike the first race, it was not as chaotic and only had one full-course caution. Brooks started in the second position and on the one and only restart, he forced the leader into a slight error heading into Turn 1 and then slipped underneath to take over the lead and the win. Under the same restart, Round-Garrido attempted to grab second but made a small mistake and fell back to fourth, where he would finish the race. Both Frazer and Palmer again advanced a few spots each, getting the necessary points they were looking for.
In the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship point standings, Brooks leaves St. Petersburg leading the standings, with Frazer in eighth, Round-Garrido in ninth, and Palmer in 17th. The next event on the calendar is in three weeks as part of the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Exclusive Autosport fans and supporters can catch this race live on www.roadtoindy.tv or on the Road to Indy TV app. As always, follow our social media outlets for coverage throughout the race weekend.
Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with great companies, such as Cambridge Global Payments (https://ca.cambridgefx.com/exclusive-autosport/) and AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com), which is used on all their race cars.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
USF2000 – ROUND 3/4 – APRIL 23-25, 2021
USF2000 GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG – ST. PETERSBURG, FL
CHRISTIAN BROOKS – #44
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:11.988
Qualifying 2: 2nd – 1:12.102
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “What an unbelievable weekend it’s been on the streets! The Exclusive boys gave the entire team amazing cars and we were able to capitalize. These results give us the confidence we need going into the Indy GP. Time to keep the ball rolling! I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone at Cambridge Global Payments for their support to myself and our whole team.”
GRANT PALMER – #90
Qualifying 1: 25th – 1:14.165
Qualifying 2: 21st – 1:13.198
Race 1: Start – 25th / Finish – 12th
Race 2: Start – 21st / 17th
Driver Quote: “I had a great weekend with Exclusive Autosport, and I’m really focused on keeping my eyes up and being aware of my surroundings for my first ever street course.”
BILLY FRAZER – #91
Qualifying 1: 8th – 1:12.713
Qualifying 2: 18th – 1:12.962
Race 1: Start – 8th / Finish – 4th
Race 2: Start – 18th / 12th
Driver Quote: “The combination of the heat, the minimal amount of practice time and it being my first time on a street course made this the most intense racing weekend I’ve ever experienced. I was constantly learning throughout the weekend and even on the final lap of Race 2 I felt I was still coming to terms with the track. Race 1 was the highlight of the round for me. I was so close to my first podium in the USF2000 championship. I’m really proud of the way I bounced back after a difficult Friday afternoon qualifying. To make 11 overtakes over two races on one of the toughest tracks out there, I’m more confident going into Round 3. Thanks again to Cambridge Global Payments, the Giltrap Group and, of course, the Exclusive Autosport team.”
MATT ROUND-GARRIDO – #92
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:12.281
Qualifying 2: 3rd – 1:12.175
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 3rd / 4th
Driver Quote: “I had a great weekend here in St. Petersburg, Florida. The races were great. In Race 1, we showed everyone who was boss with a 1-2 finish for EA. Unfortunately, in Race 2 I made a small mistake going for a second which cost me the podium. I want to say a massive thank you to the Exclusive Autosport team for all their hard work, giving me such great equipment and absolute rocket ship of a car. A big thanks to everyone involved, especially Michael Duncalfe and my Dad for this opportunity, and my mechanic Danick Bernier. I also want to give a massive thanks to the sponsors that made it happen; Indigo Medical, Excel Labels and our team sponsor Cambridge Global Payments.”
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:
Photo Credit: Gavin Baker / Road to Indy
About Exclusive Autosport:
Exclusive Autosport (EA) is a professional racing team dedicated to the success of its drivers in open-wheel formula car competition in North America. EA operates teams on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The team also competes in the F1600 Championship Series in the US, and in F1600 competition in Ontario, Quebec and Eastern America to develop young racers for advancement up their internal ladder system. Exclusive Autosport’s drivers have secured numerous championships, race wins, podium finishes and pole positions, as well as Rookie of the Year awards. Exclusive Management Inc., the team’s parent company, has enjoyed great success in both open-wheel and sports car racing and has worked with standout drivers. Their mission is to develop drivers and prepare them for the upper echelons of professional motorsports.