Petrov and Eves add two more podiums to the 2021 tally at Mid-Ohio finale
LEXINGTON, OH (October 3, 2021) – Exclusive Autosport returned to the 2.258-mile, 13-turn purpose-built road course of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season finale this past weekend. The team added its USF2000 race winner Christian Brooks as a third driver to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires line-up, ensuring their success of scoring the 2021 Team Championship while also giving the talented American his first taste of the series before a planned graduation in 2022. Over the finale weekend, Russian Artem Petrov and American Braden Eves added two more podiums to the team’s 2021 statistics with a second and a third-place finish in Race 1. Brooks was impressive all weekend, scoring a pair of top-five finishes, adding welcomed assistance in securing the 2021 Team Championship. The final tally of success for Exclusive Autosport included with five wins and 18 podiums.
“I am incredibly proud of the Exclusive Autosport team,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “To win the Indy Pro 2000 Team Championship is truly an honor. The series is so competitive and we have a lot to hold our head high over including Braden finishing second in the driver championship and Artem finishing 4th in the drivers’ championship. Everyone worked incredibly hard this past year. I have the pleasure of working with an amazing, dedicated, and talented group under the EA tent. We couldn’t have achieved this without each and every member of the Exclusive Autosport team, as well as the drivers and families who believed in us. Thank you to everyone involved in the EA program, as well as our team partner Cambridge Global Payments for their support this year.”
The weekend event got underway on Friday afternoon with the lone practice session of the weekend. Petrov topped the charts to provide the team with the data it needed to pursue a winning weekend. On Saturday morning, the drivers took part in the qualifying session to set the field for Race 1. All three drivers flirted with top-five starting positions, but it was Petrov who stepped to the forefront to grab his first pole of the season. Eves and Brooks lined-up right behind him in third and fifth. Later in the afternoon, the opening race of the doubleheader got started and Petrov immediately jumped to the lead, creating a comfortable gap to second. However, an issue midway through the race slowed his pace and forced him to surrender the lead. Despite the problem, Artem rallied back to take second at the checkered flag. Eves and Brooks fought hard throughout the entire race, coming out of spirited battles to finish where they started in third and fifth, respectively.
Sunday started bright and early with an extremely wet track for Qualifying 2. The three EA drivers topped the charts the entire session, just to get pipped at the very end. Petrov would line up in third, with Brooks in fourth and Eves in fifth. In the final race of the year, Petrov quickly went to the lead but lost grip on the opening lap in turn four, going off course to bring out a full-course caution. Artem was extricated from the gravel trap quickly and restarted without losing a lap, although he was well behind the tail of the field for the restart. Another caution gave him the opportunity to get back in the fight, and he worked forward steadily into third. On the final lap, Artem slipped to fourth, where he would officially finish. Brooks delivered yet another stellar performance to garner a second top-five finish in his Indy Pro 2000 debut weekend. Like Petrov, Eves paced the field early in the race after Artem went off, but as the conditions changed through the race as the rain had stopped, a new shower coming through the facility caught Braden off-guard as the first driver through the now-wet section of the track. Eves went off-track and came back on in second, but another trip to the grass in the treacherous conditions left him with a 10th place result.
Eves had already secured second in the championship prior to taking the green flag, while Petrov’s recovering moved him up a spot in the standings with finish the year in fourth overall. The combined efforts of the drivers delivered Exclusive Autosport with their first Road to Indy Team Championship, the most coveted honors in the paddock.
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
INDY PRO 2000 – ROUND 17/18 – OCTOBER 1-3, 2021
COOPER TIRES INDY PRO 2000 GRAND PRIX OF MID-OHIO
ARTEM PETROV – #42
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:16.441
Qualifying 2: 3rd – 1:46.318
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 2nd
Race 2: Start – 3rd / Finish – 4th
Driver Quote: “The 2021 season is done and in the last weekend I got my first pole in Mid-Ohio and it could have been a race win, but I was unlucky with an electrical issue that caused me to finish 2nd in race 1. I ultimately finished P4 in the championship after numerous wins and podiums, this is obviously not the result I wanted, but hopefully I’ll be more lucky next year. I can’t say enough how much I liked working with Exclusive Autosport. It has definitely been the season I enjoyed the most, and I’m hoping to continue working together with these incredible people in the next year!”
BRADEN EVES – #91
Qualifying 1: 3rd – 1:16.647
Qualifying 2: 5th – 1:48.576
Race 1: Start – 3rd / Finish – 3rd
Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 10th
Driver Quote: “2021 Indy Pro 2000 vice-champion! One of my most memorable seasons to date. There were incredible highs, low lows, and everything in between. The incredible Cambridge Exclusive Autosport crew never once gave up or had a glimmer of doubt. We rallied all the way through to the end and have so much to be proud of. Out of 18 starts this season, we had three wins, two poles, nine podiums, 14 top-five finishes, 100% of laps completed, and the only lap record set this season. Without the incredible sponsors behind us, none of this would have been possible. I’m incredibly grateful for Cambridge Global Payments, MDRN Livery, Huston Insurance, CCFI, and Exclusive Autosport. As well as each individual who delivered their absolute best work this season, fighting for the championship tooth and nail. My engineer John Hayes, my mechanics Derrick Barnes and Danick Bernier, my team owners Michael Duncalfe and Kimberly Duncalfe, and also my friend and cameraman Kyle Cuthbertson, and our PR coordinator Alycia Hodapp. Without all of their hard work, none of this is possible. The future isn’t certain. Racing is one of the toughest sports to make your way up. The goal is to make the step up to Indy Lights, but funding is always the limiting factor. Now I get to work doing everything I can to put something together to hopefully be back next season and continue my journey to Indycar!”
CHRISTIAN BROOKS – #44
Qualifying 1: 5th – 1:16.886
Qualifying 2: 4th – 1:46.576
Race 1: Start – 5th / Finish – 5th
Race 2: Start – 4th / Finish – 5th
Driver Quote: “What an unbelievable weekend with Exclusive Autosport. Coming out for our first Indy Pro 2000 event, we had great pace right off the bat on day one and I was learning the car every session, getting better and better every lap on the track. A huge thank you to Michael and Kimberly Duncalfe, everybody on the team, my teammates Artem Petrov and Braden Eves for supplying me with great data. It made it a lot easier to adapt to the car and I’m very happy with my results of two top-five finishes and I definitely left a lot on the table, so I’m excited to hopefully get back in the car next year and show what I can do. Thank you to my sponsors for their support this season and congratulations to EA for Indy Pro 2000 Team Championship.”
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:
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.