Speedster Epps continues to flourish in the States

Michael Epps in action in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. Picture (c) Photograffics.com
Michael Epps in action in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. Picture (c) Photograffics.com

Hemel Hempstead driver Michael Epps put in another promising display as he returned to the cockpit in the highly-regarded Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The Belardi Auto Racing rookie moved forward in all three races of the lone series triple-header, finishing rounds eight, nine and ten with both a top-five and additional top-10 finish.

Epps is now focussed on continuing his push for top honours when action resumes in northern California in September.

For Epps, the triple bill at Mid-Ohio as part of an IZOD IndyCar Series event was an ideal opportunity to further showcase his talents behind the wheel, with the technical undulating road course being more familiar to his European racing background.

When the USF2000 Championship cars took to the course after two test sessions and a lone practice run, a new obstacle awaited as overnight and early morning showers meant very slick conditions.

Epps, however, excelled in a race that only featured three green flag laps – and the former British Formula Vee Championship runner-up impressively charged from mid-pack all the way to fifth, earning the Tilton Hard Charger award.

Given the performance in the opening affair, Epps and the Belardi Auto Racing crew were excited about going back racing only a few hours later.

Unlike race one, however, round nine featured a dry track under sunny skies. Getting the green flag from row seven, the dual British-New Zealand citizen again began working his way forward via some bold overtaking manoeuvres.

Unfortunately, a brief collision that affected the handling of his car resulted in a loss of positions, but Epps recovered to take 12th place at the checkered flag.

Epps’ final run in Ohio got underway on Sunday morning, with the up-and-comer getting the green flag from row eight.

It was just after the flag waved that chaos ensued, though, with an incident among the leaders triggering a dramatic 11-car accident.

Epps, thanks to some impressive car control and a little luck, managed to avoid the carnage. When the debris was cleared and the shortened race resumed, he once again highlighted his racecraft skills, executing multiple passes en route to a seventh-placed result, and the fifth-best lap time.

“It was yet another progressive weekend for me and the Belardi team,” said Epps. “We are still a very young partnership, so things are still growing, and pace is still being found.

“I think in the last few outings on the track we began to find a new balance with the car that I was pretty comfortable with.

“I can’t wait to head over to California now and race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where we can take it even further.

“Laguna Seca was probably my favourite race track on all the racing games I played when I was younger, so to drive it now will be another box checked off, and hopefully I’ll be able to check off the podium box too!”