Papasavvas takes flag-to-flag home USF2000 win at Mid-Ohio

Local driver Evagoras Papasavvas put a disappointing Friday firmly behind him as he sped to a flag-to-flag victory for Jay Howard Driver Development in Saturday afternoon’s second leg of the Tatuus Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio tripleheader. On pole for the second straight day, Papasavvas, from Loveland, Ohio, repeated his maiden success from one year ago. He also moved up to second place in the USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire point standings with his first win of the season.

Teammate Michael Costello, from Naples, Fla., maintained his recent strong form by claiming a second runner-up finish in his last three races, while Elliot Cox, from Indianapolis, Ind., also snagged his second podium finish of the season with third in his patriotically liveried Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development Tatuus USF-22.

Papasavvas has been the form man all weekend. He backed up his first Continental Tire Pole Award of the season yesterday by once again starting at the front of the field, courtesy of his second-fastest lap during the solitary qualifying session on Friday being quicker than all of his rivals.


The weather turned a 180-degree change from Friday, with a treacherously wet track replaced by perfect summer conditions. And, having made a mistake on the opening lap on Friday afternoon, there was no such hiccup today as Papasavvas made a clean getaway to maintain the early advantage.

Front row starter Quinn Armstrong (DEForce Racing), from Newcastle, Australia, was unfortunately shuffled down the order on the opening lap as Costello took up position behind Papasavvas and another home-state driver, Thomas Schrage, from Bethel, Ohio, slipped into third for VRD Racing.

Schrage, a former FRP F1600 champion and Team USA Scholarship winner, has seemingly endured more than his fair share of misfortune since making his USF2000 debut at Mid-Ohio last year. Sadly, his luck was no better Saturday afternoon as his car’s shock-absorber cover flew off on the third lap… and, incredibly, lodged itself firmly against the rear wing, stripping his car of downforce.

Schrage battled on gamely for a few laps before giving up the unequal struggle and heading for pit lane. Once the offending piece of bodywork had been replaced, Schrage rejoined at the back of the field and promptly turned a series of fastest laps of the race which, with the improved weather conditions Saturday, were enough to ensure that he will start Sunday’s third race of the weekend from pole position. Lady Luck still wasn’t done, however, as Schrage headed to the pits once again with just a couple of laps remaining after the car’s fire extinguisher mysteriously discharged.

Following a brief full-course caution which concluded with four laps remaining, Papasavvas edged clear of Costello to cement a well-deserved victory, while Costello just held off a strong attack from Cox to maintain second.

Behind, Friday’s winner, Max Taylor (VRD Racing), from Hoboken, N.J., mounted an impressive late charge by making three passes in the final few laps to annex fourth position ahead of championship leader Max Garcia (Pabst Racing), from Coconut Grove, Fla., Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), from Golden, Colo., and Brazilian Nicolas Giaffone (DEForce Racing).

“The race was unbelievable,” Papasavvas said. “Just from the start, I had my teammate behind me and we had a plan before the start of the race to stay in front the entire race and just focus on ourselves. We executed and that’s what we did. I stayed in front the entire race and just hit my marks. The car was really fast and felt great and I have to thank the team for that. It’s unbelievable what we did and we won in great fashion for the team with a one-two. We had a yellow that came and that bunched up back together but I just stuck to my line. It was great.”

Taylor’s effort from ninth on the grid secured his first Tilton Hard Charger Award of the season.

The PFC Award went the way of Jay Howard as the winning team owner.

The weekend will conclude with a third race tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. EDT, immediately before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup.


Story originally appeared on Racer