For Immediate Release: March 2, 2022
Australian runner-up at USF2000 season opener to set second in championship
ST.PETERSBURG, FL (February 27, 2022) – Exclusive Autosport returned to the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course of St. Petersburg, Florida for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season opener this past weekend and scored multiple podiums across their Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 programs. The team welcomed back New Zealand’s Billy Frazer for his second year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series, while adding another Kiwi to the squad in 16-year-old Jacob Douglas. Coming into the weekend knowing that EA has the data from winning the last three USF2000 races on the Streets of St. Petersburg, the entire team was extremely confident unloading off the trailer Wednesday afternoon. When the dust had settled, Frazer left with his first career series podium and a pair of top-five finishes to sit second in the championship standings. Douglas logged crucial track time and experience, although his weekend was cut short in the second race of the doubleheader when he was caught in an incident due to a blocked track.
“I am thrilled that Billy, in the #92 Corpay Exclusive Autosport car, was able to collect his first podium finish in the USF2000,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “He showed his veteran skills as he navigated the carnage in Race 1 to end up on the podium and exit the weekend second in the overall championship. Jacob Douglas had an unfortunate incident in race 2 as he was innocently collected in a large wreck. It was really disappointing to see his day cut short, but he gained valuable track time and knowledge. I’m really looking forward to returning to racing at Barber at the end of April.”
Track activities got underway on Thursday afternoon with the drivers’ only practice session of the weekend. Unfortunately, two laps into the practice, Jacob made a slight error that caused damage that could not be fixed in time to get any true laps on the track. Billy had an engine, so his track time was cut short during practice. Friday morning brought on the only qualifying session of the weekend. The EA drivers both knew they had a big task ahead due to the lack of track time and both pushed hard. In the end, Frazer set a lap that put him sixth on the grid in Race 1, while Douglas found speed and was 13th on the timesheet.
Late in the afternoon on Friday, the opening race of the USF2000 doubleheader took place under the hot sun. Frazer got a strong start, lunging himself from sixth to third on the opening lap. At the halfway point, he fell one position to fourth and while still pushing to advance, he was cognizant of the heated action ahead of him and kept his eyes open. On the final lap, the drivers in first and second came together in huge fashion, just as Billy had predicted, giving him the opportunity to capitalize on this event. After avoiding the wrecked cars and emerging from the chaos, he came across the start-finish line in second to score the first podium of his Road to Indy career. Douglas used this race to gain his first wheel-to-wheel experience in the USF2000 Tatuus USF-22, learning how to race with his new competitors. Jacob drove hard to keep his 13th position while avoiding some of the on-track action in front of him.
The EA drivers had Saturday off to support their Indy Pro 2000 teammates, but they were back on-track on Sunday just prior to the NTT INDYCAR race. Neither driver had ideal starting spots, so they both knew they had to fight hard and move forward. The start was called off three times due to a car being stuck on the track. When it finally went green, the drivers only made one lap before their first full-course caution. Billy and Jacob had positioned themselves in the 10th and 12th positions for the restart. The race went back to green, but at the halfway mark a huge crash occurred in front of both drivers and although Billy was able to find a way through unscathed, Jacob had nowhere to go and hit one of the stalled cars. His race would end there. The accident moved Billy up to the sixth position, where he finished the race. Frazer leaves St. Petersburg second in the championship standings.
The team will now head back to the shop and prep the cars for the series test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 21-22, before returning for Rounds 3 and 4 of the series at the end of April.
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