Hunter McElrea sealed third in this year’s Indy Pro 2000 series after P7 and P6 finishes in the last two races of the season at Mid-Ohio.
McElrea qualified a lowly tenth for race one, significantly down on his expectations.
A wayward set of tyres in qualifying affected McElrea’s feel for the car. The Pabst Racing team reverted to a different set of tyres for the race, seemingly resolving the issue.
But the damage was already done. Mid-Ohio can be challenging to overtake at, and McElrea could only make his way up to seventh at the chequered flag.
The Kiwi’s biggest positive was that he set the race’s fastest lap and claimed some bonus points.
Sunday morning had the heavens open, and qualifying for race two was held in treacherous conditions.
But a dominant McElrea put himself on pole by a mammoth one-second to P2. It was his fifth pole of the season and his third in four races.
However, the circuit was still very slippery for the race, highlighted by Artem Petrov sliding into the sand trap on lap one.
McElrea’s qualifying pace struggled to translate into race speed, and he dropped to fourth. A slight mistake after a safety car restart meant he came home in P6.
Despite McElrea’s sublime championship comeback the last few rounds, he couldn’t stop Danish rookie Christian Rasmussen from wrapping up the series title.
Rasmussen won seven races this season, six coming in the spree of eight events.
McElrea’s third in the championship is two places higher than where he finished last season. He is yet to announce what his intentions for 2022 are.
Billy Frazer earned the Hard Charger award in both USF2000 races this weekend.
The 2019/20 New Zealand Formula Ford champion qualified 19th for race one but finished an impressive eighth.
Sunday was a similar story, with Frazer qualifying 18th for a wet race two.
Surviving the chaos ahead of him, Frazer came home in ninth.
Frazer ended his rookie season with three top-ten finishes in the last three races and a best result of fourth, which he claimed twice.
He finishes 12th in the driver’s standings and the fourth best-placed rookie driver.