Eves Highlights JHDD Weekend with Top-Five Finish
 July 19, 2022| 
  • Team News
2_JHDD_DeAlba (2)
TORONTO, Ont., Canada – Jay Howard Driver Development’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship teams suited-up north of the border this weekend for a battle on the streets of Toronto. There were tribulations, but also triumphs across the five cars and two series, with Braden Eves securing a fifth-place finish on the challenging Canadian circuit.

Eves and teammate Salvador De Alba split the Indy Pro 2000 qualifying sessions with a sixth-place finish each. Both qualified in the top 10 for Race 1, with Eves setting what would have been the fastest lap of the session had it not started two hundredths of a second after the checkered flag came out. Unfortunately, the race did not go to plan, with the drivers finishing 12th and 14th. Eves rebounded in the second race of the double header with fifth place, which De Alba was unfortunately not able to start.

It was another weekend full of growth and development opportunities for JHDD’s all-rookie USF2000 squad. The weekend’s best finishing result came with a solid top 10 drive from George Garciarce in Race 2. Teammate Evagoras Papasavas put in one of his best performances of the year and looked on for a podium before reliability issues with the gearbox hampered his chances. Frederik Lund improved by a pair of positions between Races 1 and 2. All the drivers came away from the street course weekend with lessons learned and moments to be proud of.

“From a pace perspective, it was actually a really, really good weekend,” said team owner Jay Howard. “I mean George and Evagoras were very fast in USF2000. I feel really bad for Evagoras because he should have finished P2 in Race 2. That was no fault of his, so I hate to see that happen. Even with Braden in Indy Pro, he was second fastest at times in both races. So the pace is good, but on paper it doesn't look fantastic. Our goals from here are focusing on trying to win individual races, not looking at championships or anything like that. We’re looking at how we can improve and help guys keep getting better, especially for the guys who are looking to come back next year. It’s all about experience and building for the future. There's a lot of positives, but when you look at it on paper, it’s not what we want to see.”

The Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship returns to action for the second oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 18-20. The USF200 Cooper Tires series returns for the Road to Indy finale in Portland on September 1-4. Catch live streams on RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App and the series’ respective websites, indypro2000.com and usf2000.com. Find @followJHDD on social for news, updates and highlights.

WHAT THE USF2000 DRIVERS SAID:

#6 Evagoras Papasavvas
Round 14 – P16; Round 15 – P11
“I’m happy because we know that we were quick and this is my first street course. We were constantly up in the top 10 every session. I'm proud of it, but we just did not have the luck in Race 2. I was quick and up into P4 at one point, but we just started having issues with the transmission and I couldn't shift and then I ended up losing drive under the safety car. It could have been a podium for us but it wasn't. That's just how racing works. Onto Portland. My goal for the last round is to learn as much as I can because that's all this season is about. I'm not in the championship points so the season is about learning. That way, next year, we can go for championship points and hopefully contend for the championship.”

#9 Jorge Garciarce
Round 14 – P14; Round 15 – P8
“It was a nice experience, being here in Canada from my first time racing this street circuit. It's actually much better than St. Pete since this is a proper street circuit. I just love it. It took me a while to get the basics for practices and qualifying, but we showed great speed in Race 1. We were the second fastest guy on track, but unluckily for us on the first lap someone hit us from behind and that didn't let us fight for any positions. We went to the back and for Race 2 we had, again, great pace. We were fast and we finished top 10 after starting in the back. It wasn't bad, just a mistake from myself when I went really wide on one turn. I went to the runoff and I lost many positions there so I think we should have finished, at a minimum, in the top five. But it's not about the result. We showed great pace and I think for next year we’ll come back here and get a good result.”

#8 Frederik Lund
Round 14 – P15; Round 15 – P13

WHAT THE INDY PRO 2000 DRIVERS SAID:

#4 Braden Eves

Round 13 – P12; Round 14 – P5
“It was a tough weekend. In Qualifying 1, we really almost had a great result. Unfortunately, I ended up doing the pole lap but started my lap two hundredths after the checkered flag came out on timing and scoring so the lap didn’t count. I would have had a good chance to fight for the win there. Ultimately it was tough out there. I was losing a lot in a straight line with an issue with the car that we're trying to figure out and it was just costing us a lot. When we got to the races, I was kinda getting blown by on straightaways. It is what it is and we'll take this, learn from it and I think we’ve got positives to take from here and move forward!”

#6 Salvador De Alba
Round 13 – P14; Round 14 – DNS

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