Sikes, Schwartz and Jeffers Top USF Pro Fall Combine
 October 22, 2023| 
  • Series News
The USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires annual Fall Combine wrapped up this afternoon after two days of testing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit. A small margin separated the top times across each of the three ladder series – USF Pro 2000, USF2000 and USF Juniors – in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive season in 2024.

At the end of six test sessions, six drivers had topped the timesheets in USF Pro 2000 representing six different teams. It was reigning USF2000 champion Simon Sikes who took the honors at the close with a quick lap of 1.21.8 (107.336 mph). It was an impressive debut by the 22-year-old from Athens, Ga.

“I was curious coming into this event, especially with the level of competition and this being my first days in the car. Yesterday was all about getting a feel for it and then trying to put together what I learned yesterday into some laps this morning and it turns out it was pretty quick. It wasn’t by much, but we managed the overall quickest lap. I am happy for everyone at Pabst Racing. It is just a really good showing and some confidence. Not that we don’t have work to do, but we are not too far behind heading into the off-season.

“The level of competition is extremely high. I knew that coming in, just seeing the names that were going to be at the test. You’ve got drivers like Braden [Eves] that are coming back, Christian Brooks, current drivers in the series like [Francesco] Pizzi and the USF2000 drivers that I raced with moving up. It is just an extremely high level of competition and six different teams at the top just proves it.”

In USF2000, Hudson Schwartz of Pabst Racing set the bar with a fastest lap of 1:25.8 (102.291 mph) in his series debut following a season of USF Juniors. This past week, Schwartz, 14, of Washington, D.C., was crowned the Lucas Oil School of Racing Formula Car Series Champion where he earned a $250,000 prize to advance to USF2000 in 2024. Schwartz paced all but one of the six test outings at IMS.

“The last session was amazing,” said Schwartz. “I was really pushing the car to the limit. I really like the USF2000 car. It is so fast and driving it at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just means so much to me. It is such a great track and I really enjoyed driving it. This is really the perfect way to kick off the year and the start of my USF2000 career. I want to thank everyone at Pabst as well. It was amazing being able to work with such a great team.”

Jack Jeffers led bragging rights in USF Juniors for Exclusive Autosport with a best lap of 1:29.2 (98.429 mph). The 17-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, is coming off his rookie season in USF Juniors competition where he finished third with a trio of wins. Jeffers was among the top three in all six sessions, headlining four.

“Having a full year of experience under my belt, I have an advantage,” said Jeffers. “I can hop in the car and I am already acclimated to it. I have never been to the Speedway and had to learn the track, but Exclusive Autosport and myself have a good winter test program set up so being as fast as we were was a big pay off to them. It definitely helps with our attitude and mental state being this fast against the rest of the field. It gives us confidence going into next year but you never know, so we just have to keep working.”

USF Pro Championships competitors will return to the track for an official series test at Sebring International Raceway (Club Circuit) on December 11/12.

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