Clermont, Ind. – Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver Trent Hindman scored his third Top 5 finish in a row in his first ever oval race at the annual Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The finish capped a weekend that saw the Wayside, N.J. driver lead the Indy Lights field around the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway in front of the largest crowd he’s ever driven in front of.
Hindman and the other USF2000 drivers braved 90 plus degree air temperatures and a blazing sun Saturday afternoon for qualifying. Based on a random draw, Hindman was in the last third of the qualifying line when he rolled out for his two-lap attempt. Clocking in with a 45.216 sec. (109.236 MPH) lap, he qualified fourth and, because of the unique nature of Lucas Oil Raceway, started on the inside of Row 2, next to third qualifying Roman Lagudi.
“The car felt really good in qualifying”, said Hindman in pit lane after his attempt. “We were quick in Friday testing but chased an issue in Practice earlier on Saturday. Once we figured out what it was, the car came alive.”
At the start, Hindman dropped into line behind Lagudi and prepared to stay with the leaders until later in the run. His plan worked for just over a lap before an incident in Turn 2 on Lap 2 took out eight cars and required an extended caution period. Soon after the restart, Hindman lost a position to the charging Scott Anderson and spent the balance of the race getting comfortable with the art of oval racing. Due to time constraints and the extended caution, the race length was reduced from 75 laps to 46, so while Hindman held off Luca Forgeois for his third Top 5 in a row, he ran out of time to challenge the cars in front of him.
“My car started out good; as good as it was during Qualifying. As the race progressed and I got more comfortable, it kept getting better. (Hindman ran his quickest lap on Lap 41 of 46) With more laps I’m sure I could have moved closer to the front and perhaps joined my teammates on the podium.”
The fifth place finish moves Trent Hindman up to seventh in USF2000 points ahead of the next event, August 3-5 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after which the season will finish in a flourish with four events (nine races) in the span of seven weeks, all on road course or street circuits.
“I’m happy to get my first oval race under my belt and to bring the car home in one piece, but I can’t wait to get back to turning left and right again.”
Top 5 – 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, after Round 5 of 14
1. Spencer Pigot, 146 points
2. Matthew Brabham, -6
3. Roman Lagudi, -38
4. Thomas McGregor, -76
5. Matthew DiLeo, -80
7. Trent Hindman, -91