Minnesota-based squad now second in USF2000 Championship title fight after impressive outing in Rounds Three and Four
MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (March 27, 2013) – Afterburner Autosport showcased its championship-winning pedigree over the weekend (March 23-24), with an impressive double visit to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda podium in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rookie Wyatt Gooden positioned himself as a 2013 title contender with two impressive runner-up finishes at the Florida street circuit, while fellow first-year series racer Brandon Newey also showcased his talents with a top-five and top-10 result. Jake Eidson did not garner the results desired, but he battled through adversity to further display his talents behind the wheel. Afterburner Autosport now lies second in both the driver and team standings, poised to fight for top honors when the action resumes in late May with the lone oval on the championship calendar.
After a solid launch to the 2013 edition of the USF2000 Championship - the first-rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program - at Sebring just one week prior, the entire Afterburner Autosport squad was excited to take on the challenges of street racing in St. Petersburg. Despite having three series rookies behind the wheel, everyone under the team awning was confident of success.
It didn't take long for the Afterburner Autosport name to begin showing up near the top of 31-car scorsheets, as despite focusing on getting acclimatized to the concrete lined 1.8-mile track and working on car setups, Gooden was third and fifth fastest in the two practice runs, and Eidson's No. 18 Eidson Enterprises/Afterburner Autosport racer was sixth quickest in the opening session.
Aware that starting positions would likely play a key ingredient in success during the twin bill run in conjunction with the IndyCar Series season-opener, all three Afterburner Autosport drivers were keen to post multiple quick laps in the sole qualifying session. For Gooden,...
MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (January 31, 2012) – Afterburner Autosport is very pleased to announce
that junior formula car up-and-comers Wyatt Gooden and Jake Eidson will be behind the wheels
for the Minnesota-based team when the 2013 season gets underway via the Cooper Tires
Winterfest in Florida. The race-winning duo will make their USF2000 Championship debuts in
the 'off-season' championship, giving Afterburner Autosport one of the most dynamic driver line-
ups in the Mazda Road to Indy series.
After a solid rookie campaign in the USF2000 Championship that featured four top-10s,
Afterburner Autosport enters its second season of series action focused on joining the front-
running ranks and challenging for race wins. In signing F2000 Championship Series runner-
up Gooden and Skip Barber Summer Series Champion Edison as part of an expanded multi-
car effort in the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program, the two-time SCCA Formula
Continental National Championship-winning team is poised to do just that. Add in the fact that
Eidson was fourth fastest in the year-end Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gooden has impressed in private testing, and the team is
enhancing its engineering department - to be announced shortly - the stage is set for a breakout
"We are very excited to have Jake and Wyatt behind the wheels when the Winterfest gets
underway at Sebring," stated team principal Tim Walsh. "Both drivers are extremely talented
and have impressed us with their maturity and attitude. The goal now is to give them all the tools
needed to challenge for race wins."
"Running the Winterfest at Sebring will be a great opportunity for Afterburner and I to get a head
start on the season, and see where we stand," commented Gooden. "We work well together, and
I know they're going to provide a good car, so I'm looking forward to the task next week."
"I'm very excited to do the first round of the USF2000 Winterfest with...
Oklahoma City, OK (Nov. 18, 2012) -- Wyatt Gooden capped an outstanding first year of F2000 Championship Series competition with a pair of podium finishes in the Oct. 13-14 season-ending races at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York, which saw a huge, nearly 40-car field turn out for the final two rounds of the 14-race 2012 season.
A third-place finish in Saturday’s opening race in his Quantum Racing Services Van Diemen, combined with a second in Sunday’s finale, was more than enough for the 23-year-old from suburban Cleveland to claim second in the final F2000 Championship points standings and series Rookie of the Year honors in his first full year of open-wheel racing.
Starting on the outside of the front row, second, to newly-crowned series champion Robert La Rocca, Gooden got the better start in Saturday’s 14-lap race to take the early lead. Although he was unable to hang on to the lead, Gooden continued to run a strong second and would get one more chance at victory when a late-race caution brought the field together for a one-lap shootout.
But when the green and white flags waved to turn the field loose for the final lap, contact between Gooden and La Rocca knocked off the front shock cover of the Quantum Van Diemen, which then flew back and heavily damaged the rear wing. With no rear downforce as a result of the contact and wing damage, Gooden still managed to bring his stricken car to the checkers in third place.
“I’m not sure what happened on that restart,” Gooden said. “As he’s done several times this year, Robert drove down to the inside and I tried to dart out to the outside at the last second. Maybe I misjudged it a little bit, but we definitely made contact, and the car was a real handful on that last lap with the wing damage.”Gooden again qualified second for Sunday’s race, but was unable to match leader La Rocca’s pace when a minor gear selection issue arose, and instead settled in for a comfortable second-place...
Oklahoma City, OK (July 30, 2012) -- Wyatt Gooden capped another strong F2000 Championship Series weekend with podium finishes in both races at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, including his second victory of the 2012 season in Sunday’s weekend-ending event.
After finishing third in a come-from-behind charge in Saturday’s opening race, Gooden took the win in Sunday’s 18-lap event around the 2.5-mile Mid-Ohio circuit with a decisive pass of championship points leader Robert La Rocca on a Lap 7 restart, leading the rest of the way to take the checkers in his Perfect Pedal/Quantum Racing Services Van Diemen in front of a 33-car field, one of largest of the 2012 season.
“It’s great to score another win at my home track,” said the 23-year-old Gooden, who hails from the Cleveland suburb of Gates Mills, Ohio. “The car was perfect today. We’ve been improving all season and it‘s nice to see our hard work paying off. Thanks to my sponsors Perfect Pedal, KLN Logistics and S.A. Comunale for making this win possible!”
Starting from the outside front row, Gooden slotted into second behind La Rocca on the opening lap. Just behind, third-starting John LaRue was tipped into a wild flip after light contact with Niki Coello in Turn Seven. The crash resulted in a full-course caution while track workers freed the uninjured LaRue from his overturned car.
On the restart, Gooden was able to close on La Rocca as the leader momentarily lost the back of his car in Turn One. On the run to the Turn Three “Keyhole” corner, La Rocca moved to the right to block the inside, so Gooden went left and pulled alongside as La Rocca moved back to the left, pushing Gooden to the far outside edge of the circuit.
Still, Gooden completed the pass and drove in extremely deep on the brakes, hoping he had enough room behind him as he went through the turn with the tail of the black and yellow Quantum Van Diemen hanging out. Meanwhile, La Rocca’s move to the left opened up the inside and...