A third-place finish was enough for Scott Hargrove of Surrey to clinch the Cooper USF2000 series championship Saturday in Houston, Texas.
An 18 year-old student at Surrey Christian Secondary, Hargrove drives for the Cape Motorsports team with Wayne Taylor Racing. He won three of the first four races in the series, and maintained a lead in the points standings until clinching the championship on the weekend.
“We came into today with a good lead in the championship and I knew that I just needed a solid finish to end the championship today and that’s exactly what we did,” Hargrove told racer.com. “I went all out in qualifying and was able to get the pole on the last lap, which was pretty thrilling.”
Hargrove was leading until a caution late in the race forced a restart. Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Neil Alberieco took the lead on the restart on his way to a first-place finish.
“As soon as the yellow came out, I knew that I would be hard-pressed to keep the lead from Neil who wanted to win,” Hargrove said. “He got the jump and was able to win the race, but it didn’t matter to me. Finishing third feels like a win because of the championship we have won.”
Hargrove began racing go-karts in 2008, and last season was his first in the USF2000 open-wheel series. He finished the season strong, with three top-five finishes in the last four races.
The USF2000 Mazda Road To Indy series is part of the development system of the IZOD IndyCar Series. With the championship, Hargrove earned a $383,000 (US) scholarship prize from Mazda to advance to the Pro Mazda Championship, the next level in the IndyCar development system.