JHDD Finishes the 2022 Road to Indy with a Solid Showing
 September 5, 2022| 
  • Team News
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PORTLAND, Ore. – Jay Howard Driver Development’s young Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship stable led the way for the team at this weekend’s season finale at Portland International Raceway, with two of the three drivers scoring multiple top-10 finishes to punctuate their rookie campaigns. Sixteen-year-old Marcos Flack carried the torch for the team in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, going from last to an impressive P4 finish on his American road course debut.

After a day of testing on Thursday, the USF2000 side of the garage got to work in qualifying early Friday morning, with Mexican George Garciarce leading the way in P14. In Race 1, however, Garciarce and fellow rookie Danny Dyszelski navigated the carnage of the Turn One chicane, maneuvering around the incidents in front of them to climb into the top 10. Dyszelski would go on to finish P6, an improvement of ten places over his starting position, with Garciarce two places behind. In Race 2 and 3, Garciarce, the series’ Hard Charger of 2022, would set the standard for the JHDD drivers, finishing in the top 10 both times to finish the weekend with three in total. Evagoras Papasavvas crossed the line 12th in Race 3 to bring his truncated rookie year to a close.

On the Indy Pro 2000 side, Flack’s Race One performance was the standout on the weekend. Mirroring his USF2000 counterparts, he used the chaos in Turn One to catapult himself from 15th to inside the top five, where he would remain for the rest of the race. Salvador De Alba and Braden Eves would each make their way forward to make it three JHDD drivers in the top 10 at the checkered flag. De Alba and Eves continued their runs, finishing 10th or better in all three races, completing a solid weekend for the team. De Alba finished the weekend by claiming the Indy Pro Hard Charger Award for 2022, joining Garciarce as the driver with the most overtakes in their respective series.

“It’s always nice to finish a year strong,” expressed team owner Jay Howard. “There’s a saying in racing that you’re only as good as your last race. For us we’ve had a great year with a lot of wins, some double podiums and we’ve done things that many other teams failed to do, so there’s a lot of positives throughout the year. You just want to try to end the year winning races, and we weren’t able to do that this weekend unfortunately.”

“For the USF2000 guys,” he continued, “I see this weekend as a win. In the last race we had all three cars in the top 10 at one point, which is strong for having rookies. We’re probably the only team that had all rookies, so overall it was really good. Now, we don’t stop and will work this winter to improve and get ready for next season. For the Indy Pro guys, it was another successful year. It was always going to be tough to top what we did in 2021, but we’re always looking to improve every week, every day. I think, actually, as a team we were better this season. That showed with double podiums, fighting to win the team championship, and the fact that all of our drivers in Indy Pro were at the top of the time charts at some point this season. It was very good, and obviously I would’ve liked to see us clinch the team championship in the end, but we didn’t, so now we’ll regroup, improve and come back swinging next year.”

WHAT THE USF2000 DRIVERS SAID:

#6 Evagoras Papasavvas 
Round 16
 – P16; Round 17 – P14; Round 18 – P12
"We showed pace and that’s really important. We showed pace to compete at the front next year, and that’s great. I learned a lot, and that’s very important. I made some mistakes in the races and learned a lot from those and how to prevent those in the future so that next year we can compete for some podiums and good finishes.

"I’m very excited for next year after how this season ended. I’m very eager to get back in the car for the first round next year to go for good results and even though it was only half a season, it was still very important to learn as much as possible because we really need that learning experience for next year."

#9 Jorge Garciarce
Round 16
 – P9; Round 17 – P10; Round 18 – P6
“Since the very first practice session, it was looking good. We were P7, so everything just went as we wanted. Probably we wanted to get on the podium, but getting three top-10 finishes in the final races of the year is not bad at all. I really enjoyed this track. It was different to the other ones. Qualifying wasn’t great for me, but at the end we had P12 to start for the second and third race and that wasn’t bad at all. Race Three was really nice. We avoided contact and managed to finish P6. It would have been nice to finish closer to the podium, but to have this in the last race of the season is a great result and great progress from the team and from me to finish there.

"From the start of the year, it obviously wasn’t the best. We struggled a little bit, the team and I, to achieve better finishes. Just with time and races and some experience, we managed to improve a lot. The cars got better, I improved my driver and racing skills, and it’s just really nice to see that progress from the start to the end of the season. Finishing P10, P9 and P6 is just great. Next year, we will try to get some wins and even fight for the championship, but I’m happy with this year and the progress that we’ve shown.”

#8 Danny Dyszelski
Round 16 
– P6; Round 17 – P12; Round 18 – P8
“I’ve been very happy with how this first season has gone regarding my development as a driver. I am looking forward to being able to use what I’ve learned this year and turn it into better results for next year.”

WHAT THE INDY PRO 2000 DRIVERS SAID:

#4 Braden Eves
Round 16
 – P7; Round 17 – P9; Round 18 – P10
“Tough weekend here in Portland. I would’ve liked to end the season a little bit better, but ultimately, it just kind of is what it is. The team has done a good job all year. We’ve been really quick in the corners and I think we’ve all done a good job. Jay’s done a great job, and Bryn [Nuttall], my engineer, has done a great job setting up the cars. I’m just, you know, a little bit bummed with the way the whole year went, but I think we did everything we possibly could and we dealt with the variables that got thrown at us the best we could. Ultimately I’m just really thankful for the whole team for putting this year together and I’m looking forward to what the future has in store.”

#6 Salvador De Alba
Round 16
 – P8; Round 17 – P6; Round 18 – P7
“It was a tough weekend overall. We’ve been changing the car up from practice to practice, race to race, just switching everything and couldn’t find the balance of the car, so that was tough. I think at the very end it was not the worst, and we finished out with decent speed. Obviously to not finish on the podium after a perfect weekend at Gateway is a disappointment, but the car is in one piece. Everything is up in the air for next year. It’s kind of a coin flip in what we do next season, but we’re working to put the pieces together and make it happen again in 2023.

"I think overall it was a decent season. Of course, every driver wants more and wants to fight for championships, but I think it was a decent one. I think we have to work harder and get it figured out and put it all together faster next season to get the results that we all want.”

#5 Marcos Flack
Round 16
 – P4; Round 17 – DNF; Round 18 – P15
“It was really good to get P4 from last, that’s the big one. It’s amazing, even in that last race I got up to seventh but had to serve a drive through penalty which kind of ruined that race. In the end, a good weekend I think. I learned a lot and certainly got an idea for what I’m going to do next year.

"Racing in the US is certainly different to racing in Europe. The whole feel in the paddock is a lot different, but not in a bad way. It certainly feels more relaxed and everyone in the paddock feels like they’re here to chill and it makes the weekend a bit more enjoyable, I think, for everyone here working in the paddock. I really enjoyed it.”
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