Hughes Completes USF Pro 2000 Perfection at Road America
 June 9, 2024| 
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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Lochie Hughes strengthened his claim to the  USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire championship this morning by completing a clean sweep of the Elite Engines Grand Prix of Road America. Hughes, from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, grasped the advantage from Pabst Racing’s polesitter Christian Brooks, from Santa Clarita, Calif., immediately following a restart on lap 6 and held off a stern challenge throughout the remainder of the 15-lap race to secure his third win of the weekend.

Brooks had to be content with second, well clear of teammate Jace Denmark, from Brownsburg, Ind., as the locally based Pabst Racing team remains frustrated in its quest for a USF Pro 2000 victory at its home track.

It was Brooks who started at the front of the field this morning, securing his first Continental Tire Pole Award of the season by virtue of posting the best of each driver’s second fastest lap during qualifying on Friday afternoon.

The Californian was able to maintain his position for the first two laps, whereupon the caution flags waved due to an unfortunate accident which befell Logan Adams’ family-run Comet/New Castle Motorsports Park Tatuus when he tripped over the apparently slowing Jay Howard Driver Development car of Frankie Mossman in Turn 14. Adams, from Greenfield, Ind., emerged unscathed, but the car was heavily damaged.

Moments after the restart, which came with five laps in the books, Hughes was able to take advantage of a huge draft from the race leader and slipstream his way through into the lead before they reached the braking area for Turn One.

Job done. Brooks maintained the pressure on Hughes for the remainder of the race, but there was no stopping Hughes from claiming his fifth win of the season and another PFC Award for Turn 3 Motorsport team principal Peter Dempsey as the winning car owner.

Denmark couldn’t quite match the leading pace, but still was able to take his second podium finish of the weekend and catapult himself to second place in the point standings.

Turn 3 Motorsport’s Danny Dyszelski, from Belmont, N.C., chased home Denmark in fourth, while Pabst Racing’s Simon Sikes, from Augusta, Ga., mounted a tremendous comeback after being shuffled from third place to outside the top 10 in the early stages. Sikes also secured the additional championship point for fastest race lap.

The Tilton Hard Charger Award went to Canadian USF Pro 2000 debutant Nico Christodoulou, who overcame some problems in qualifying to battle from 18th on the grid to seventh at the checkered flag.

With the closest title challengers finishing further down the field, Hughes now holds a relatively comfortable 50-point lead in the chase for a scholarship valued at $681,500 to graduate to INDY NXT in 2025 as the contenders head next to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for two more races held in conjunction with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on July 6-7.

Provisional championship points after 12 of 18 rounds:
1. Lochie Hughes, 271
2. Jace Denmark, 221
3. Nikita Johnson, 215
4. Christian Brooks, 207
5. Liam Sceats, 202
6. Danny Dyszelski, 164
7. Braden Eves, 157
8. Hunter Yeany, 148
9. Simon Sikes, 148
10 Frankie Mossman, 142

Lochie Hughes (#44 The McGinley Group/Private Wealth Planning/Grip Auto Timepieces-Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus IP-22): “It was a good weekend. Three wins – you can’t really ask for more than that. After the troubles at NOLA and everything, to bounce back in the championship like this and be on the run we are on is great. I can’t thank the team enough and all of my sponsors back home. I am over the moon and hopefully we can just keep this momentum going to Mid-Ohio and the rest of the season.”

Christian Brooks (#19 BUCKED UP/Deploy Surveillance-Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “All in all it was a positive weekend considering the past few races we haven’t been where we should have been. I am proud of the team. The car was really good. We just didn’t have quite enough for Lochie both days, which hurts because I really wanted that one. Congrats to the Turn 3 guys. They did a good job. We’ll keep working and try to get them at Mid-Ohio.”

Jace Denmark (#20 Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “The starts were good for us. I moved up one position on the first start, and on the restart I was able to get Mac. He made a mistake and I just moseyed on around him into Turn One. I tried to catch Brooks and Lochie but just really didn’t have the pace for them today. I lost the draft and that was kind of it. I am really happy to come out with two fourths and a podium. I believe I am very close in the championship and hopefully chase down Lochie. It was a good points weekend for me and we will just keep pushing forward.”

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