Three top-fives from Road America weekend maintains lead in Team Championship
ELKHART LAKE, WI (June 20, 2021) – Exclusive Autosport returned the beautiful grounds of Wisconsin’s Road America this past weekend for the Rev Group Grand Prix on the facility’s 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course. The team scored its ninth podium of the season in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tire when Russia’s Artem Petrov notched a second-place finish in the opening race of the doubleheader. Petrov’s American teammate Braden Eves advanced five positions in Race 1 to grab a top-five finish, giving him the Hard Charger of the race. The weekend results from both drivers have kept the team leading in Team Championship points heading into the second half of the season.
“Overall, it was a tough weekend for the Exclusive Autosport team,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “I am thrilled for Artem’s 2nd place finish in race one. He was battling for the win and ultimately finished in second. Braden had a tougher weekend, finishing with two fourths. He did a good job avoiding carnage in the first race. We’re not satisfied with the results, and we will be pushing harder than ever in Mid-Ohio. Thank you to our dedicated crew. They work tirelessly day in and day out for the EA program. I also would like to take a moment and thank the group from our team partner Cambridge Global Payments who were trackside with us at Road America. We are thankful for the support from Cambridge year-round, but with restrictions loosening up, it was really great to host them under our tent!”
The doubleheader event kicked off on Thursday morning with two unofficial open test sessions for the Indy Pro 2000 drivers and Petrov was on top of the overall time chart. Friday’s action got started bright and early with the drivers taking to the track in the morning for their one and only official practice session, ahead of qualifying to set the field for Race 1. Petrov continued his impressive pace, just missing out on the pole position by 0.134 seconds, putting him on the outside of the front row for the 15-lap race. Eves timed in ninth.
Saturday morning kicked off with qualifying for Race 2. Both drivers pushed hard during the timed session and clocking in at fifth (Eves) and sixth (Petrov) fastest. Later in the day, the EA duo lined up for the first race and they immediately went into attack mode. At the start of the opening lap, a major accident deep in the field forced Eves to make evasive moves to avoid the melee, heading to the grass to miss contact that could have ended his day. After the race went back to green, Artem kept first place in his sights, but he and another driver made slight contact while battling for the lead. He maintained control of his car and kept hold of second place, which is where he would finish the race, gaining crucial points in the championship. Braden continued to push as well and moved forward five positions, taking the Hard Charger honors with a fourth-place finish.
The weekend was capped on Sunday morning with Race 2. Petrov and Eves were again in the lead pack, but Artem’s race ended early when he was caught out by a drive ahead of him braking extremely early for the turn five left-hander. Petrov could not get his car slowed in time and made contact, putting him on the sidelines. After the full course caution, and another that followed, Eves found himself embroiled in battles with Jacob Abel and Hunter McElrea, which he eventually won. Braden ended the weekend with another fourth-place finish.
In the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires point standings, Eves left the Rev Group Grand Prix sitting second in the points, with Petrov in fourth just 20 points behind third. The team also continues to lead in the Team Championship, which provides the team with the first pit boxes on pit lane for the next event. The next races on the calendar will take place in just over a week with Rounds 11 and 12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 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
INDY PRO 2000 – ROUND 9/10 – JUNE 18-20, 2021
COOPER TIRES INDY PRO 2000 GRAND PRIX POWERED BY ELITE ENGINES – ELKHART LAKE, W
ARTEM PETROV – #42
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 2:04.658
Qualifying 2: 6th – 2:04.095
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 11th (Contact)
Driver Quote: “I’m not sure what happened on the start of Race 1, but I could see it behind me and I’m glad all the drivers are okay. It was a good race; I tried to put maximum pressure on. As soon as I tried to overtake him, he pushed me into the grass. I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to drive the race. I’m happy with the points and happy for the team. This helps in the championship. In Race 2, I was taken out by contact. Not the ending I wanted but I’m still proud of myself and the team this weekend. Thank you to my team, my family and everyone that supports me. I’m looking forward to Mid-Ohio where I’ve had success at before.
BRADEN EVES – #91
Qualifying 1: 9th – 2:05.060
Qualifying 2: 5th – 2:04.058
Race 1: Start – 9th / Finish – 4th
Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 4th
Driver Quote: “It was a tough weekend in Road America. It definitely could have been a lot worse, so we can be happy with two fourth-place finishes considering everything that happened. Ultimately, this was just a race where we struggled, but we will be back in form at one of my best tracks at Mid-Ohio. It’s going to be super important there, as we have two events at Mid-Ohio and lots of points to be made there!”
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.