Two seasons of dedication and hard work has paid dividends for Jacob Douglas at Portland International Raceway this afternoon as the Kiwi stormed to his maiden USF2000 victory.
Having qualified on pole, Douglas led from lights to flag, controlling the race from the start and over two restarts on his way to a well-earned win.
“I feel great,” Douglas said on the podium following the race. “A massive thank you to Pabst Racing, who gave me an amazing car. Ever since I joined them about six months ago, they’ve been amazing, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Douglas got to an excellent start off the front row, pulling clear of teammate Simon Sikes into Turn 1 to control the opening lap. That would be short-lived, with an early Safety Car bringing the field together for a Turn 3 incident in the mid-pack.
Douglas again kept Sikes at bay off the restart, leading through the middle stages until a second Safety Car was called for debris on the back straight. The Kiwi again controlled the restart well, coming home for a well-deserved maiden win.
Evagoras Papasavvas passed Sikes off the second restart and remained with the Kiwi, but Douglas held firm for a 0.5286-second winning margin. Sikes finished third, which was enough for him to be crowned 2023 USF2000 champion.
“I was just taking it all in,” said Douglas when asked how the cooldown lap felt. “It was nice to have a lap without a bit of pressure and to just think about the race and how far we’ve come.”
“Massive thanks to them,” Douglas added when asked about his family, who were watching from New Zealand. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They’ve been by my side since I started, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Douglas will also start tomorrow’s race on pole based on his second-fastest qualifying time. Race 2 begins at 9.15 am (NZ time) on Sunday, before the season-finale on Monday at 11.20 am.