For Immediate Release: March 2, 2022
Exclusive Autosport leaves the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg sitting second in championship
ST.PETERSBURG, FL (February 26, 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. The team debuted three new Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires drivers to their line-up, including American Christian Brooks, and a pair of Englishmen in Louis Foster and Matthew Round-Garrido. The drivers came into this event feeling confident, having worked hard together and with their engineers during their extensive off-season testing. EA has been known for having great cars at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and they have numerous podiums on their resume, including three wins last year in USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, creating a powerful atmosphere among the drivers and the crew members.
“I am very happy with our podium finishes in Indy Pro 2000 this past weekend,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “Louis Foster, in the #90 Copart.com Exclusive Autosport car, had a strong debut weekend in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship with his 2nd and 3rd placed finishes and is second in the overall championship (only 2 points back). He is in a good position, early in the championship as we head into Barber. Matthew Round Garrido in the #92 Corpay Indy Pro 2000 had an up and down weekend. We worked through some issues that inhibited performance in race 1 and he came back strong in race 2. Christian Brooks, unfortunately, had a terminal incident in qualifying. Christian, although a rookie to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship, has had success on the Streets of St. Petersburg and had a really strong practice session. His incident reiterated how unforgiving this street circuit can be. We have a long break before we are racing again, and we are collectively working hard to get Christian back in the car for Barber.”
The weekend event got underway on Thursday afternoon with the lone practice session of the weekend. Friday morning kicked off bright and early for the only qualifying session to set the grid for Race 1. The drivers were all pushing hard but, unfortunately, Christian Brooks made a slight mistake late in the session, sending his car into the wall on the outside of Turn 3. The damage was so significant that it was unrepairable, forcing Brooks to the sidelines for the weekend. Foster finished the session in fifth, while Round-Garrido timed in ninth after battling some issues with his car.
The opening round of the doubleheader took place later that afternoon. Foster got a monster of a start, quickly advancing him into the 2nd position. Louis slipped back to the third position by the end of the opening lap but continued to push, eventually claiming the first podium of his Road to Indy career. Matthew continued to fight and ended up finishing in tenth.
Race 2 was run early on Saturday morning, and Foster was quickly into the battle, starting from fifth. He was aggressive at the start but could advance, although he was into fourth on lap 2 and began to hunt down the driver in third. After an early full-course caution, Louis went into attack mode and grabbed third with a strong move around the outside in Turn 4. On lap nine, he made the move to second and set his sights on the leader. After a lengthy late-race caution, it was a four-lap dash to the end. Foster made his bid for the win with three laps to go, but he couldn’t complete the overtake. Settling in for the final laps, Foster scored his second podium of the weekend with a runner-up finish, giving him the points to sit second in the championship leaving the weekend. Round-Garrido had a huge task ahead of him, as his issues in Race 1 positioned him deeper on the grid for the start. The crew was able to sort out his issues, but it was a bit too late. MRG fought hard all race and gained several positions to score his second top-10.
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 at the end of April.
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