Taylor tops USF2000 in a podium sweep at Road America

Max Taylor swept his second podium of the weekend in the Elite Engines Grand Prix of Road America double-header. Only this time the VRD Racing driver from Hoboken, N.J. went two steps better to claim his second win of the season in a 20-minute shootout.

Michael Costello of Naples, Fla., notched his first career USF2000 podium with a second-place finish for Jay Howard Driver Development while Joey Brienza of Golden, Colo., also claimed his second podium of the event in third.

The race was originally slotted for Saturday, but severe weather resulted in some schedule reshuffling with the USF2000 field slotted in just after the final event for USF Pro 2000 and before Indy NXT.


Taylor lined up for his second front row start on the scenic 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course – albeit this time from the point after notching his first Continental Tire Pole Award. Saturday’s polesitter Max Garcia of Pabst Racing lined up alongside while Brienza and Costello rounded out the second row.

Taylor held the lead at the opening as a few battles ensued towards the front with Costello displacing both Garcia and Brienza to slot into second by the second tour. Garcia held on to third until an issue in Turn 5 on lap five dropped him to sixth in the front-running pack.

The race remained lean and green with Taylor’s lead just over a half second from Costello, who did attempt a challenge for the lead on lap seven and almost looped his car around. Costello recovered and resumed position but any additional attempts for the top step were negated when a caution came out for a car in the gravel at Turn 1.

With the clock winding down, the race ended under yellow with Taylor, Costello and Brienza adjourning to the podium.

Race one race winner Sam Corry of Pabst Racing had to settle for fourth with Evagoras Papasavvas of Jay Howard Driver Development – rebounding from an issue in race one which forced him from starting – to round out the top five.

“It was a really strong race. We started on pole position and I was able to capitalize on the start and get away a bit,” Taylor said. “I held the lead the entire race and had a little bit of a challenge from Costello. The VRD car kept me going strong. They just did an amazing job and I can’t thank them enough.”

With a gain of five positions USF Juniors regular Anthony Martella of Woodbridge, Canada, took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award. Dan Mitchell of VRD earned the PFC Award as the winning team owner.

The USF2000 field will head next to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for a pivotal triple-header round held in conjunction with the NTT IndyCar Series on July 6-7.


Story originally appeared on Racer