Elkhart, Wis. — After having a few problems with starts and restarts in Race 1 (Round 8) of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Mazda Road to Indy race at Road America, John Cummiskey Racing driver Ayla Agren was determined to fix that in Race 2.
It worked. Agren, the driver of the No. 33 Energima car, gained three spots on the opening lap of the 30-minute race, and moved up one more spot later on to roll to a Mazda Road to Indy career-best fourth place finish.
The 23-year-old from Norway started and finished eighth in Race 1.
As the field took the green flag and headed to Turn 1, there were plenty of aggressive moves as the drivers jockeyed for position. Agren drove hard into the corner and moved up from her eighth starting spot into the Top 5, holding that spot for the next 10 laps around the 4-mile Road America circuit until Jordan Lloyd, running second, went off track with about five minutes to go in the race to move up to fourth.
“It’s been a good weekend in general,” Agren said. “Qualifying wasn’t the best, but the races were good. I had a really good start in the second race and kept pushing. You don’t want to be P4 because it’s outside the podium but if we keep working hard we will get there.
“Getting a good start is something we have been talking about, and we gained three spots instead of losing them.”
Agren now has seven Top 10 finishes in the nine USF2000 races this season.
“We’re just getting more confident in the car, and it is paying off,” Agren said.
Agren also started Race 1 in eighth position and ran as high as sixth, but with two yellow flags bunching up the field, struggled with restarts and ended the 30-minute session in the same place she had started.
“The speed was there, I just did a mistake and in the final restart dropped back,” Agren said.
Ayla Agren, #34 Energima car
Race 1: Qualified 8th, Finished 8th
Race 2: Qualified 8th, Finished 4th