New Port Richey's RC Enerson wins USF2000 St. Petersburg race

RC Enerson of New Port Richey celebrates winning his first USF2000 race. It comes a day after finishing second and a month after winning two preseason races.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

RC Enerson of New Port Richey celebrates winning his first USF2000 race. It comes a day after finishing second and a month after winning two preseason races.

ST. PETERSBURG — The turnaround for New Port Richey's RC Enerson continued Sunday with a dominating run at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that led to his first victory in the USF2000 championship class.

"To get that first win is big," Enerson said. "To do it here at what I consider my home track is even better."

Enerson turned Sunday's race into a game of follow the leader after blowing past Saturday's winner, Victor Franzoni, and avoiding leftover debris from an opening-lap collision that involved eight of the 18 cars in the field.

Enerson, 17, led all 21 laps and finished 1.4289 seconds ahead of Franzoni. Franzoni was disqualified after his car failed post-race inspections. Jake Eidson of St. Petersburg-based Cape Motorsports moved up to second after finishing the race third.

"We had a pretty flawless race," said Enerson, who attended Gulf High for two years. "I took the lead at the start and was able to hold my gap a bit. A full-course yellow came out, but I made a good restart."

This is Enerson's third year in the series and second in the championship class. In 2013, he stood on the podium for the top three just twice and finished ninth in points.

But he emerged as one of this year's favorites after a strong performance at February's Winterfest, where he won two of the six preseason races and had two other top-three finishes.

"This is a great start to the season," said Enerson, who finished second on Saturday. "Hopefully, it continues."

Veach victorious: Zach Veach broke through for his first Indy Lights victory in the season-opener. Veach, who finished seventh in last year's standings, took the lead from pole-sitter Gabby Chaves after Lap 6 and won by 5.461 seconds.

"Last year didn't go exactly how we wanted it to," Veach said. "But my engineer (Doug Zister) never stopped helping me. This winter, I spent a lot of time trying to get more physically strong because I felt that was my weakness and spent a lot of time doing mental things and came into the season with a whole new attitude.

"My engineer definitely was on me a lot about saving tires. I was thinking, 'Just don't mess up. Just hit my marks; have clean laps.' "

Powerful Pigot: Spencer Pigot completed a perfect weekend with a victory in the Pro Mazda race. Pigot, who started on the pole, led all 23 laps and finished in 1:12.295. He also led throughout Saturday's abbreviated 17-lap race.

"We topped every (practice) session and won both races, so you can't do anything more than that," Pigot said. "I'm from Orlando and had a lot of people here to support me. Things are going well, and it has been a flawless performance from the team."

Cape Motorsports teammates Scott Hargrove and Neil Alberico finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

World Challenge: Tomas Enge, a newcomer in the GT class, edged Andy Pilgrim. Enge took the lead on Lap 29 of the 32-lap race by passing Pilgrim. In the GTS class, three-time series champion Lawson Aschenbach beat Tampa native Jack Baldwin, who won both of last year's races.

Stadium Super Trucks: PJ Jones won by about a truck length over series founder Robby Gordon. Jones has won two of the past three series races.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@tampabay.com.

New Port Richey's RC Enerson wins USF2000 St. Petersburg race 03/30/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014 9:17pm]

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