St. Petersburg Kickstart the USFPro Championships
St. Petersburg is the great kickstart of the USFPro Championships and the Indy Car season. St. Petersburg is the first weekend of seventeen NTT Indy Car Series races. USF2000, Presented by Cooper Tire, joins the series in a doubleheader for the weekend. This is also the first of many entries for Future Star Racing into the USF2000 series.
For Future Star Racing, Rob Howden said it best on Facebook after an interview with Andre Castro and Trey Burke, “The conversations were intriguing, and I definitely felt the #RenewedOpportunity theme to their seasons.” Andre Castro and Trey Burke are not new to the USF2000 paddock. However, they returned to the series to show they were still there for the fight.
After a long break from being in the racecar, Castro and Burke only had Sebring to “knock off the cobwebs and get back into the swing of things,” as Castro stated. So Castro and Burke secured the third row for Race One by qualifying Fifth and Sixth at St Petersburg.
Castro and Burke fought hard in the first race. Burke raced through the field and returned to fifth place when debris from the track was kicked up from another car, hitting his shock cover. Unfortunately, the shock cover came off in turn one of the last laps, and luckily Burke could keep himself safe and maintain control of the car by using good driver judgment. Unfortunately, this cost Burke two places, and he finished seventh. Castro ran a consistent race throughout and finished ninth despite an issue with a wireline to the gearbox, which the team worked late into the night to identify the problem area in the wiring and do the best they could to fix the shorted wire.
In Race Two, Castro started P8, but due to the wiring complication, Castro and the team decided that safety was the most important and, after the parade lap, pulled Castro in for the race. Burke started P15, drove his way through the field, and fought every lap to finish P6. This race secured Burke in P5 with 29 points to start the season strong.
“I am very proud of everyone on the team for putting together two quick race cars in such a short time with no testing. It was amazing to see all our hard work come to fruition when we locked out the third row of the grid in qualifying, and it proved that the potential for podiums is there. I’m excited to keep growing together as a team and improving in the future; we have the pieces in place for success, and I know that once we get the little gremlins out of the way, we’ll be challenging for top 5s consistently.”
— Andre Castro
“The weekend as a whole went extremely well for the entire Future Star Team, and I couldn’t be more proud of the goals we accomplished. From qualifying 5th to bringing home two top 10 finishes, I’d say we showed the rest of the grid we are here to be competitive. Race 1 looked very promising, with a top five well within our grasp, when a piece of debris from another car in front damaged my shock cover, causing it to fall off on the final lap. Unfortunately, we finished seventh but definitely made the most of the situation. Race two would have us starting a little farther back in the grid, but I knew our car would be plenty ready. Sure enough, as the checkered flag fell, we found ourselves sitting in sixth. I can’t thank the entire team and crew enough, and the McAlisters for believing in me and letting me come out. Hopefully, I’ll be back with the team, and we can continue having more phenomenal weekends together.”
— Trey Burk