Rowe Takes Another Huge Stride Toward USF Pro 2000 Title
 July 18, 2023| 
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TORONTO, Ont., Canada – USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship leader Myles Rowe overcame a disappointing result on Saturday to take a clear victory for Pabst Racing with Force Indy in today’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto. A fifth win of the season for the 22-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., stretches his advantage to a whopping 81 points as he chases a Discount Tire Driver Development Scholarship valued at $664,500 to graduate to INDY NXT in 2024.

Lirim Zendeli, from Bochum, Germany, finished second for TJ Speed Motorsports. Rowe’s Pabst Racing teammate Jordan Missig, from Channahon, Ill., matched his career-best result in third. Missig also set the fastest race lap for good measure.

Rowe paved the way for his triumph by starting at the head of the field after earning his fourth Cooper Tires Pole Award of the season and third in succession during qualifying on Saturday morning.

Rowe took full advantage by leading from the start. Behind, a bold move around the outside of Turn One by teammate Jace Denmark netted the resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., second place after starting in fourth.

After an early caution following an incident in the midfield, Denmark tried to execute a similar move on Rowe under braking for Turn Three at the end of the back straightaway. Unfortunately, Rowe slipped a little wide at the exit and made contact with Denmark’s front wing, which immediately became detached, forcing him into the pits and out of contention.

Rowe continued unscathed, and instead soon came under pressure from yesterday’s winner – and the man who narrowly beat Rowe to last year’s USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown – Michael d’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y.

The 25-lap race had started on a slightly damp track, but the pace gradually increased as the surface dried out completely. The two leaders remained in close contact until, quite suddenly, d’Orlando began to lose power shortly after the halfway mark. The Canadian-American soon slipped into the clutches of the pursuing pack, led by Zendeli who on Lap 16 had found a way past d’Orlando’s Turn 3 Motorsport teammate Christian Brooks, from Santa Clarita, Calif., with a nice move at Turn Three.

The unfortunate d’Orlando eventually tumbled almost to the back of the field, cruelly ending his hopes of taking over second place in the points table.

Zendeli maintained second to the finish, some 4.4155 seconds adrift of Rowe and narrowly ahead of Missig, who had started second and was the fastest man on track in the closing stages.

Indian-American Yuven Sundaramoorthy, from Delafield, Wis., (Exclusive Autosport) also displayed strong speed after a difficult season, claiming the Tilton Hard Charger Award after rising from 16th on the grid to eighth.

Rowe’s performance capped a tremendous day for team principal Augie Pabst, who took home another PFC Award as the winning car owner.

Five more races remain this season. A doubleheader event at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on August 26/27 is next, followed just one week later by a trip to the West Coast for a tripleheader finale at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore., on September 2/3.

Provisional championship points after 13 of 18 rounds:
1. Myles Rowe, 299
2. Kiko Porto, 218
3. Salvador de Alba, 215
4. Michael d’Orlando, 206
5. Joel Granfors, 206
6. Francesco Pizzi, 201
7. Lirim Zendeli, 189
8. Jace Denmark, 183
9. Jonathan Browne, 169
10. Jack William Miller, 158

Myles Rowe (#99 Penske Entertainment-Pabst Racing with Force Indy Tatuus IP-22): “First of all, the crowd here is amazing. I love Toronto. It is such a great city. It is such a tough race. The bumps are crazy. It is like New York City out there. I just have to give a huge thanks to God, my family, Force Indy, Pabst Racing, SimCraft, Sparco, Bell Helmets and the whole crew. They really put together such a package for us to have this kind of consistency this year. You need to have a certain kind of package to do really successful things at this level of motorsports. All these guys – Lirim, Jordan and the rest of the field – all of them are super competitive and super tough to beat. I just can’t thank you enough to all of my partners.”

Lirim Zendeli (#10 Vexavit/Ajdini Spedition-TJ Speed Motorsports Tatuus IP-22): “It was as difficult a race as it was fun. I didn’t expect so many overtakes. I went from P6 to P2 just by overtaking. I think Michael [d’Orlando] had some problems, but it was really fun. Jordan gave me a nice fight all race. Unfortunately, Myles was already gone by that time. But I am happy for the recovery because qualifying wasn’t great from my side and I came away with two podiums. I think I took the most points of all the drivers and I am very happy.”

Jordan Missig (#19 Racing for Mental Health/AMV Ventures-Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “The start wasn’t as I planned, but we were able to settle in and get into a bit of a groove. As the race went on, a bit of attrition kicked in. Nonetheless, it was a great drive by Myles. He definitely deserved it. I can’t say enough about the Pabst crew. They put an awesome street car together. This is the second time in a row that we could have stood on the podium here in Toronto, but this time we earned it.”

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