Canadian Driver and Team Dominate Oval Event to Extend Championship Lead
BROWNSBURG, IN (May 25, 2018) – Having made their Mazda Road to Indy debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda last year, Exclusive Autosport logged its first visit to the 5/8-mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway oval over the Memorial Day weekend and came away with a massive win in the Pro Mazda Championship Present by Cooper Tires’ Freedom 90. Red Deer, Alberta’s Parker Thompson followed up his victory at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course two weeks ago with a sweep of the Carb Night Classic, winning the pole and the 90-lap Friday evening feature race to extend his lead in the championship to 40 points
“Wow, what a weekend! I can’t say enough about this entire Exclusive Autosport team,” enthused Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport Team Principal. “These guys are amazing. We’ve had to overcome a few ‘speed bumps’ this year, and this weekend in particular. Yet, this team digs in and make the impossible, possible. This EA crew gave Antonio and Parker two amazing cars and the drivers demonstrated how great the cars truly were. I am so proud of Antonio! It is incredible to see his development and growth every weekend. I am thrilled he was able to secure another solid top-10 finish. Parker, he is on a mission! His qualifying attempt was brilliant, securing the pole position for the Freedom 90. Parker drove a flawless race from green to checkered. I cannot say enough about this young man and his work ethic both on and off track. I am so proud of this entire EA team.”
Thompson, Serravalle and lead engineer Tim Lewis hit the track in fine form to begin testing at Lucas Oil Raceway on Thursday, dialing in their set-ups in preparation for Friday’s single-car qualifying run and 90-lap race. Thompson has experience at the facility, having finished second in the USF2000 race in 2016 after starting on the pole. Parker was quickest in the official Pro Mazda practice session on Thursday afternoon, while Antonio was following the run plan to allow himself time to acclimate to the oval.
Thompson laid it all on the line during qualifying to secure the inside of the front row, running the ragged edge to win the pole with a two-lap average speed of 107.264 mph. Serravalle turned his fastest laps of the day with a two-lap average of 103.167 mph in a run that was focused on making clean laps to stay out of trouble. The performance would net a starting spot on the outside of the fifth row.
In the race, Thompson quickly pulled out to a comfortable lead and then handled a single restart midway through the race when an incident between David Malukas and Harrison Scott brought out the yellow flag. Late-race traffic made things interesting as Parker was very deliberate in his approach to the slower cars, which allowed second-place running Carlos Cunha to close over the final laps. Thompson was still unchallenged at the line, winning by 0.221 seconds. Serravalle attacked his first oval race, looking more like a veteran oval racer than a rookie. He skillfully navigated the 90-lap race moving through the field to finish eighth, his best finish of the year.
The next stop on the MRTI circuit will take the team to the iconic Road America facility in Elkhart Lake, WI. The team will participate in an official series test in mid-June ahead of the doubleheader race weekend on the 4-mile track on June 22-24.
Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with great companies, such as AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com), which is used on all their race cars.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES
CARB NIGHT CLASSIC – FREEDOM 90
LUCAS OIL RACEWAY – CLERMONT, IN
PARKER THOMPSON – PRO MAZDA #90
Qualifying: 1st – 107.264 mph
Race: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “This year’s Freedom 90 race in Pro Mazda was very special for me. It was one of those magic moments a driver can only dream of. I have always shown good speed on ovals, but to finally get that first win in dominant fashion was something I wanted on my resume. It also doesn’t get better than winning in front of an Indiana crowd in the month of May. This win is dedicated to everyone at Exclusive Autosport. My mechanic Joe Penner, my crew chief Jay Green, and the rest of the #EhTeam did an unbelievable job all week. I am very proud to work and win with such great people. Shout out to goes to Pat Kerr, and the One-to-1 Fitness gym in Red Deer. I couldn’t have been more prepared physically for the Freedom 90!”
Exclusive Autosport Pushes Through Adversity to Gain Second Win
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 12, 2018) – Exclusive Autosport brought its two-prong Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires attack to the Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which was held his past weekend on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and they came away with a crucial Pro Mazda victory and the point lead in the championship. It was another strong outing for the team’s newest ladder series program. Coupled with the performances of the operation’s USF2000 drivers, Exclusive Autosport left Indianapolis with five top-10 finishes and two drivers in the top-five of their respective championships.
The team fielded cars in both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at the event, and Canadian Parker Thompson persevered through mechanical issues early in the weekend to score his second victory of the year in the second Pro Mazda race, backing up a respectable fifth from Race 1. Fellow Canadian Antonio Serravalle continued his rapid development in his Tatuus PM-18, recording his best finish of the young season with a ninth in Race 1. Exclusive’s USF2000 team started deeper in the field after struggling in qualifying, but they pushed through all weekend to post solid results in the races, advancing to fight for results in the top-10. Igor Fraga started 12th in the opening race and moved to eighth, while Manuel Cabrera finished ninth in Race 2 from 22nd, which was his best finish to date.
“I am incredibly proud of the entire team,” offered Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “We had a few hurdles to overcome this weekend, however, the crew and drivers worked incredibly hard all weekend and never stopped pushing. It was really a proud moment, seeing Parker in the Exclusive Autosport #90 Pro Mazda win at the historic and famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am also pleased with the progress of each the Exclusive Autosport drivers have made this year. Antonio Serravalle, in the #91 EA Pro Mazda, saw his best finish of the year as he drove his way into the top-10. He’s really starting to feel comfortable in the car. I am confident there is more to see out of Antonio.”
Thompson was quick out of the gate during Thursday’s open test and practice sessions, but a mechanical issue in qualifying restricted his running to just two laps, which left him 11th on the grid for Race 1. Parker turned it up for Race 2 qualifying to sit sixth in a very tight group on top of the timing charts. Serravalle continued to learn the circuit and pick up speed, posting qualifying runs good enough for ninth and 11th in the two races.
Knowing that he needed to have a strong run in the opening Pro Mazda race, Thompson stayed out of trouble on the start and took advantage of two caution periods to get himself into the battle up front. When the checkered flag flew, he had recovered to a fifth-place finish. Serravalle was incredible racy and battled with veteran MRTI driver Nikita Lastochkin for sixth for many laps, eventually taking ninth in the final tally.
The second race was held on Saturday morning before the Verizon IndyCar Series INDYCAR Grand Prix, and this time, Thompson started from the outside of the third row and he was ready to attack. After a frontstraight incident, the race finally went green and Thompson was quickly up to second behind Carlos Cuhna. Parker chased Cuhna relentlessly and made his move to the inside of turn 1 on lap 17 of the 25-lap contest, assuming a lead that he would not relinquish. Thompson then piloted his #90 Exclusive Autosport machine to a 1.8885-second win, which advanced him into the series point lead by 22 markers. Sadly, Serravalle did not make the finish, dropping out on lap 12 with a mechanical issue.
The next stop on the MRTI trail will bring the drivers back to Indianapolis as both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda championships will return to the 5/8-mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway after a one-year absence. The Carb Night Classic will be held on the evening of Friday, May 25 and will provide Exclusive Autosport’s drivers with the crucial oval experience that they will use on their entire journey towards the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with great companies, such as AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com), which is used on all their race cars.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
ROYAL PURPLE GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – INDIANAPOLIS, IN
PARKER THOMPSON – PRO MAZDA #90
Qualifying 1: 11th – 1: 20.5385
Qualifying 2: 6th – 1:20.3662
Race 1: Start – 11th / Finish – 5th
Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “The Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indianapolis presented many challenges for the fellas in black and red this weekend. This could have easily been a weekend where we threw away a championship, yet somehow we rallied together and took home a win. After a $0.25 part failure in Q1 led to a last place starting spot for race one, we almost didn’t make it to the grid for Q2. The fact that we bounced back with a five and a win is a true testament to what this small team of determined individuals is capable of. We’re planning on using this momentum to our advantage at the oval in Indy later this month.”
Parker Thompson Scores Win and Runner-up Finish to Take Championship Point Lead
LEEDS, AL (April 25, 2018) – Exclusive Autosport enjoyed a successful weekend on the undulating layout of the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, making two trips to the podium following races in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. In 2017, the team made its debut on the Mazda Road to Indy in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, and their driver Parker Thompson scored the operation’s first win in a weekend sweep on the street of Toronto that July. The Red Deer, Alberta resident kept that streak alive as he delivered for the Exclusive Autosport crew again this weekend, taking home their first win in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Thompson’s Tatuus PM-18 rolled out of the hauler on rails, providing him with the car to score the pole position for both Race 1 and Race 2, obliterating the track record in the process. Teammate Antonio Serravalle is just beginning his career in cars after many successful years in karting, and this was the young Canadian’s first time in wheel-to-wheel competition at the incredible Barber facility, having tested their earlier in the year.
“What a weekend!” enthused Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “I cannot say enough about this Exclusive Autosport team. I have to thank our awesome crew for all of their hard work and dedication to this program. Parker Thompson performed like a pro! P1 in practice, 2 poles, a track record, one win and one second place finish. He’s a man on a mission. It’s an honour working with Parker and having him drive for EA. I am also really proud of Antonio. He once again showed how quick he can be behind the wheel of our PM18 machine. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to complete the weekend, however, I’m confident he will be back stronger than ever in May at Indy.”
For the most part, the team had a strong opening to the weekend, as Thompson was on fire from the first on-track session. The 20-year-old broke the existing track record on Friday afternoon in Race 1 qualifying, and then lowered the mark on Saturday morning’s Race 2 qualifying run. The opening race of the doubleheader was run on Saturday afternoon, and it was simply a perfect performance by the team and Thompson, as he jetted away early to score a 5.226-second victory, the first Pro Mazda win for the squad. Parker was carrying the decal of the Humboldt Broncos Jr ‘A’ hockey team, which lost 16 of its players and staff in a tragic motor vehicles accident on April 6. The Exclusive Autosport team has dedicated the win to the Bronco’s memory. Thompson used his pole position to quickly step out from the competition, but unfortunately, Serravalle was deeper in the field and was driven way off the track in Turn 17, and this excursion put him in a collision course with a sponsor signage banner. The resultant contact damaged his car beyond immediate repair and he was forced to retire.
The weather in Birmingham was beautiful on Friday and Saturday, but the pending arrival of rain on Sunday made deciding on set-up a guessing game. Based on the immediate forecast, the team elected to go with a primarily ‘dry’ set-up, but light rain did begin to fall as they were on pre-grid, making it too late for any adjustments. Thompson led early from pole, but in damp and slippery conditions, his car’s lack of overall grip allowed two drivers to slip past. Never giving up, he pushed hard to stay in a position to capitalize on any mistakes by his competition, and he was rewarded for his efforts when the leader went off-track late in the race. The incident brought out a full course yellow, and the race would end under caution, giving Thompson a strong second place finish to cap the weekend. Parker was the only Exclusive Autosport PM-18 in competition for Race 2, as Serravalle was not feeling well on Sunday morning and elected not to run.
Parker’s pair of podium finishes have moved he and Exclusive Autosport into the championship point lead heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course weekend in May. Thompson has enjoyed success at the IMS road course in the past, finishing first and second in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda events in 2016. The team will aim to continue this success through the entire Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule, as they maintain their focus on winning the championship. Serravalle is eager to continue his development by getting his first taste of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Exclusive Autosport’s USF2000 drivers will re-join the Pro Mazda crew in Indianapolis to take part in their second event of 2018.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA – ROUNDS 3/4 – APRIL 21-22, 2018
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK – LEEDS, ALABAMA
PARKER THOMPSON – #90
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:16.894
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:16.296
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 2nd
Driver Quote: “It was a very special weekend in Alabama with my Exclusive Autosport crew. We put the #90 in victory lane, carrying the Humboldt Broncos logo, which meant a huge deal to our entire team with our headquarters being based in Saskatchewan. I’m extremely proud of the boys in black and red. We have all been working non-stop during the off-season to have a weekend like this. With a win, two poles, and a new track record, we’re ready to roll this momentum into the rest of our championship. Bring on Indianapolis and the month of May!”
The Tell All Behind One of North America’s Fastest Growing Formula Car Teams
PALMETTO, Fla. – Exclusive Autosport may be new to the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, but it is far from being a “new” team. With five years of experience in Canadian and U.S. junior formula series including numerous championship titles, the team continued its progression in 2017 and made an immediate impact on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Exclusive Autosport was born from Michael Duncalfe’s driver management company, Exclusive Management Inc., with head offices in Saskatoon, Sask. Beginning with a diecast company he started out of his parent’s house when he was only 17, Duncalfe brings a history of success to his latest expansion.
Duncalfe shares an early racing trajectory with many of the Mazda Road to Indy racers. His father starting karting when the young Duncalfe was 8 years old and, growing tired of sharing seat time with the youngster, bought his son a kart of his own. Racing soon followed, but it was a karting scholarship that jump-started the program.
“Similar to the Skip Barber Shoot Out scholarship, Bridgestone Canada had a karting scholarship that earned you a free ride in the Bridgestone F2000 Championship,” said Duncalfe. “I was the quickest driver against 20 other drivers competing over three days, so I earned the scholarship. I finished fourth overall and won Rookie of the Year in 1998.”
The young entrepreneur left racing to focus on his university degree, when a search for a diecast model of Greg Moore’s 1999 Player’s Champ Car prompted him to start his own diecast model company. It was the success of this business that enabled him to get back into racing. During his experience as a driver he perceived a market need for services to help young racers get their start and guide them in the industry, so he branched out to form his own management company.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of the racing industry. I thought at first that it would be as a driver, but I love being on the management and team side of things. I was fortunate that I had been able to learn the marketing and sponsorship side of racing from a very early age, and the biggest thing I learned was how to present to a company. When I was younger, I thought that it was about me and that people would want to sponsor me because I was a good driver. I learned very quickly that it was not about me but about the company, about taking care of their needs and delivering for them. In turn, I got to go racing.”
Duncalfe started Exclusive Management in 2007, putting partnerships and marketing deals together for drivers and helping them to navigate their way through development programs like Skip Barber, with its scholarship into USF2000. Wife Kimberly joined the organization in 2011, working on marketing communications and logistics. The experience gained helped him take the next logical step, to take control into his own hands by forming the Exclusive Autosport team. But in typical Duncalfe fashion, he not only found himself owning a team, but operating a chassis importing business as well.
“At the end of 2012, I had a number of drivers who were ready to continue their development and the next logical step was F1600. Based on the best attributes of several very professional programs I’d worked with in open-wheel and sports car racing, we started the team. At that same time, I had a young driver testing with the Cape brothers in their USF2000 car and it was the first time I’d seen (an Australian-built) Spectrum 1600 first hand. They introduced me to Michael Borland with Spectrum and I became the Canadian importer for Spectrum chassis, while the Cape brothers were the U.S. importers. At the end of 2013, the Capes decided not to continue so we became the North American importers.”
Exclusive Autosport won numerous championships in Canadian F1600 and F2000 before branching out into the U.S.-based F1600 Championship Series and capturing that title in 2015. The natural progression was to the Mazda Road to Indy and the USF2000 Championship, but with a year remaining on the old Van Diemen chassis, Duncalfe bided his time until the Tatuus USF-17 made its debut this season.
“It had always been a dream and a goal to be a part of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires and it made sense to expand here when the Tatuus USF-17 was introduced. This is the most competitive junior formula racing in North America, if not the world, so this was another challenge for us. It’s one more avenue for us to help young drivers achieve their goals.”
Duncalfe had a short list of prospective drivers for his initial foray into the series, but one stood out from the rest: Red Deer, Alb., native Parker Thompson, who was coming off an agonizingly close runner-up finish in the series in 2016. Thompson already had two seasons in USF2000 but Duncalfe knew he would be ideal to help the team make the transition – and the idea of an all-Canadian combo was too good to resist. That Thompson had already been to Victory Lane with the team was a bonus.
“I met Parker at the Saskatoon kart track when he was a young junior karter of 12 or 13 years of age. He was mature beyond his years and quick behind the wheel of a kart. It was before we had the race team, but we kept in contact. During his first year in USF2000, his father Doug contacted me because they were looking to get him some additional seat time. We brought him out with our F1600 team to Circuit ICAR in Montreal and he won both races – the first formula car wins of his career. He did another weekend with us at Mont Tremblant and got a pole and fastest lap of the weekend.
“We’ve always had a great respect for Parker,” Duncalfe continued, “and what he can do on and off the track. We knew we wanted to work together, it was just a matter of finding the right time. We weren’t in a position to expand in 2016, knowing that the new car was coming online in 2017, but when we joined the series in 2017 we were able to put a deal together. He was a little hesitant to come back for a third year but I told him ‘this is Tatuus USF-17 racing now, it’s a completely different series.’ He was excited to work with us and to spearhead testing on the new car. He worked with the engineers to develop setups and really showed how strong his technical background was. He is very precise with his feedback and it’s usually correct.”
Exclusive Autosport added American rookie Dev Gore and Australian Luke Gabin late in February, with Gabin running in the first six races of the season. Saskatchewan’s Jayson Clunie graduated from the team’s F1600 program and joined the USF2000 squad mid-season. The team experienced its share of challenges over the first half as it established a setup database and melded as a team, but Thompson’s podiums at St. Pete and Barber were a harbinger of better times to come. On the heels of a 12th-place finish in the series only oval event at Iowa, the team put it all together when it mattered most. With home-country bragging rights on the line and the championship entering the final stretch, the team broke through with two dominating victories on the streets of Toronto that not only thrilled Canadian fans, but put Thompson squarely back in the title chase.
“Iowa was a difficult weekend for us. Parker gathered everyone in the trailer and told them it just didn’t matter, we were going to go win Toronto. We led all of practice, got the pole for race one and won both races. It’s hard to put it into words: it was the most special and rewarding moment of my race career, by a good margin. We believed we could do it all along, but some things out of our control prevented it from happening earlier but when it all came together in Toronto, it was absolutely amazing. To show everyone how strong we were, to have a Canadian driver get the team’s first series win on Canadian soil, was incredible.”
Thompson added a victory and a second-place finish at Mid-Ohio to finish third in the driver’s championship and lead the team to fourth place in the Team Championship. While Duncalfe went into the season firmly believing that the title was a good possibility, he’s happy with the prospects for the future.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished this year, to finish third in the driver’s championship and to be the highest-finishing rookie team. I have the utmost respect for all the teams and drivers in the series so to get three wins and three poles makes me extremely proud. Our ultimate goal was the championship and we fell a little short, but I know we’ll be even stronger next year.”
“Next year” has started already for Exclusive Autosport, as the team has added two brand new Tatuus PM-18s to their stable with the intent to add the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires to its repertoire. With the new car completing the triumvirate of new chassis for the Mazda Road to Indy, Duncalfe feels that giving other teams a head start would not make sense.
“It’s a big jump financially, since we have now bought four USF-17s and two PM-18s in the last 12 months, but we’re confident with our USF2000 program and what we’ve learned with this car so we felt we could put together a really strong Pro Mazda package. We also didn’t want to fall behind the curve and come in a year too late.”
As an illustration of its commitment, Thompson shook down the team’s first PM-18 in New Jersey and had an electronic issue. The team drove all night to Elite Engines’ Wisconsin shop, got the issue sorted, and headed straight to Road America to test Dutch phenom Rinus VeeKay. The second car was purchased the Saturday before the Chris Griffis Memorial Test. The team built the car on Thursday, and Thompson broke in the ring and pinion on Saturday. That Thompson promptly set the third-quickest time of the weekend on Sunday is a testament to the team’s intent to compete against the veteran teams – and win.
“The biggest hurdle for us is that people still see us as a ‘new’ team. We may be new to the Mazda Road to Indy but we’ve just had our fifth year of competition. We’re the most accomplished F1600 team in North America and we’ve had an enormous amount of success in a short time. This is the natural next step for us so we look forward to continuing that success.”
Parker Thompson continued second half surge with dominant race win
LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 29, 2017) – Exclusive Autosport is riding the wave of momentum from their successful weekend in Toronto just two weeks ago, where they won their first races in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Canadian Parker Thompson showed his tremendous skills in the sweep of the event, and he was ready to take on the next challenge when he arrived at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last Thursday. Thompson paced the opening practice session and would eventually post a pair of podium finishes, as a strong second in Race 1 on Friday was followed by a dominant race win on Saturday. The results have cemented his third-place position in the championship standings. The team’s trio of drivers all advanced from their starting position in both races, with the successful exception of Thompson’s Race 2 win from the pole. It was Exclusive Autosports’ finest overall outing of the season.
“It was another strong weekend for my Exclusive Autosport team. I can’t say enough about my amazing crew, our drivers, their parents and our sponsors,” offered Michael Duncalfe, team owner, commending his entire operation. “This is truly a team effort and everyone has been continuing to up their game and it’s showing. Parker once again showed what an incredible talent he is and also how quick the Exclusive Autosport USF2000 cars are. Qualifying nearly seven-tenths ahead of the field and coming away with another win and a second – which makes it three wins and four podiums in the last 4 races – is awesome.”
Thompson led the USF2000 time sheets in the one and only official practice of the weekend, using his track experience to fully leverage the car set-up provided by the Exclusive Autosport engineering staff. Qualifying for Race 1 on Friday morning was a mess, halted on several occasions for drivers going off-course. The track was damp and extremely slick. Thompson ended the run in fourth overall, but a penalty on Rinus VeeKay moved him to the inside of row two for the start of the opening race of the doubleheader.
The opening lap of Race 1 was hard-fought, as Thompson took control of third ahead of an aggressive VeeKay. Parker then went to work on Lucas Kohl for second, taking the position quickly after reaching his gearbox on lap three. Over the remainder of the run, he continued to push Askew through to a late-race caution, and then just wasn’t able to muster up enough front grip to get past the leader on the restart. Despite battling with aero push in his advances for the lead, Parker brought home an impressive second place finish.
The second race of the weekend was all Parker Thompson. The team had saved a set of sticker Cooper tires for the race, and after qualifying on pole, the Red Deer, Alberta phenom managed the race lead through a lap 16 restart to score a 1.171-second lead. Parker took all 33 of the available points by sweeping the action, qualifying on pole, leading all the laps, and turning the fast lap in the process.
The season finale for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda is now a month away, set for Labor Day weekend (September 1-3) at Watkins Glen International in New York. Thompson has secured the third position in the point standings, so he and the team will be aiming to make yet another statement by capping the season with a win, which would be their fourth victory in the last five races.
PARKER THOMPSON – USF2000 #90
Qualifying 1: 4th – 1:25.115
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:22.611
Race 1: Start – 3rd / Finish – 2nd
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “”There’s no better feeling in motorsports than coming to the checkered flag with your whole team on the pit wall celebrating with you! It’s a term not used much in racing, but for Race 2, I had the ‘perfect racecar’. It felt great to showcase to the field what Exclusive Autosport and I are capable of. We were pole by seven tenths of a second, and delivered a dominant race victory. All the blood, sweat and tears every member of this team has given was demonstrated by this weekend’s performance. I couldn’t be prouder of the #90 Openhwy team in Ohio.”
All-Canadian squad triumphant in home country races with Alberta’s Parker Thompson
TORONTO, ONTARIO (July 16, 2017) – Saskatoon, SK’s Exclusive Autosport is competing in its first season in the ultra-tough Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and they could not have asked for a better location for their breakout event. After working diligently through the opening half of the season to develop their set-ups and come up to speed on the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the team was victorious on home soil, triumphantly winning both ends of the doubleheader with their star Canadian driver Parker Thompson at the Toronto Indy event. Red Deer, Alberta’s Thompson dominated the opening race of the weekend on the 1.749-mile, 11-turn temporary street course set around Exhibition Place, qualifying on the pole and then managing his gap to earn a 0.873-second win. On Sunday, Parker and the team controlled their early pace in Race 2, identifying a feisty battle for the lead that was displaying signs of potential chaos. Thompson hung back in fourth, biding his time, and then took advantage of the anticipated contact between the leaders to slip through to the point and his second win of the weekend.
“Toronto was a massive weekend for the team, and I’m proud of them after they came together following our struggles on the oval at Iowa Speedway last weekend,” admitted Exclusive Autosport owner Michael Duncalfe. “We re-focused and got behind our drivers, and Parker showed his experience and poise to lead our drivers and crew forward. His performance on Saturday was tremendous, and it injected such confidence in the team. Sunday was a perfect race, as we were on the radio making sure that Parker knew how crazy it was getting up front. He was patient and stayed out of trouble, and took the win. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from Jayson and Dev. It was their first time on the track in Toronto in USF2000, they continued to get quicker, and they finished both races in the top-12.”
Thompson was quick out of the gate, topping the practice time sheet on Friday morning before earning his second pole position of the year with a great run in afternoon qualifying for Race 1.
Thompson turned in a flawless performance in the opening race, held on Saturday afternoon, which went green to checker without issue. Parker managed the gap back to point leader Oliver Askew, laying down a quicker lap when needed to extend the advantage. The win was emotional for Parker and the team, giving them their first series victory in the best place possible.
After qualifying fourth in a dynamic qualifying session for Race 2, Thompson settled into line at the start of the second event, running behind what quickly developed into a heated battle for the lead between Alex Baron and David Malukas. Thompson displayed patience in backing off a little, having sized up the situation ahead of him. As expected, the leader collected each other on the exit of turn three and pulled point leader Oliver Askew into the carnage, while Thompson slipped through to assume the lead. Parker managed the restart perfectly and went on to a 0.637-second win.
The sweep of the main events has thrust Thompson back into the championship chase, as he currently sits third, 75 points out of the lead. Momentum is on the team side, and they are all focused on continuing this level of performance in the final two weekends of the year. The next event on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda is just over a week away, on July 27-30 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Mansfield, Ohio.
PARKER THOMPSON – USF2000 #90Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:12.816
Qualifying 2: 4th – 1:12.452
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 4th / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “Nothing has ever felt better in my career than getting to hold the red and white maple leaf high in victory lane at my country’s only IndyCar race. The fact that I got to do it twice in one weekend makes this something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Getting these two wins for Exclusive Autosport is also a huge weight off my shoulders. It feels amazing to get Michael Duncalfe and his team some dominant victories, because they deserve them. None of this would be possible without the dedicated crew that forms Exclusive Autosport! I told the boys in black in red, if we stuck to perfecting the process, wins would come our way! This team has been 100% behind me all year, which makes this weekend even more special. Lastly, a huge thanks to my family, supporters, fans and sponsors. They have been with me through thick and thin this year, so I’m ecstatic I could prove them right on such a big weekend for us all. I owe so much to TriQuest NDT, Openhwy and Badlands Motorsports Resort.”