Cameron Shields takes out the Freedom 75 in maiden USF2000 win
Australian Cameron Shields has broken through in the USF2000 Series, taking the race win at Lucas Oil Raceway as part of the Dave Steele Carb Night Classic. Shields, anexperienced open-wheel driver, competed alongside Hunter McElrea in the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2018, with McElrea guaranteed a USF2000 race seat with his win in the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout.
Shields had been unlucky not to stand on the podium so far this season, and finished with a season-high P4 last week on the Indy road course, before the Cooper Tires Road to Indy headed to Lucas Oil Raceway as the curtain-raiser for this weekend’s Indy 500.
The Toowoomba native started second and took the lead off the start, pulling a three-second gap ahead of his rivals before a collision behind him saw his lead evaporate with a safety-car period on lap 43 of 75. Shields held steady and gradually pulled away once again, but it was for naught as Jack William Miller spun and crashed out of seventh place, leading to another interruption ten laps later.
Shields pulled away from the field once more on the restart and lead the 78-lap race to the chequered flag, for his first podium and first victory of the season.
The race victory brings Shields up to sixth in the USF2000 championship standings.
That was absolutely incredible, I just can’t believe it. I’ve worked so hard to get here, and even to finish the year I have to work really hard to make that happen. It was a really, really tough race – my mental state changed quite a lot. I had such a big lead and, all of the sudden, the yellow comes out and everything changed. There was a bit of panic but I recouped and did a good job to keep the guys behind me. I really have to thank the team; they gave me a perfect car to do it and taught me well how to drive an oval. My driving style is very smooth and sometimes on the road courses, I’m not aggressive enough so right now, this couldn’t suit me any better. I’m so happy to do this with fellow Aussies here, especially the Australian Consul-General, it was so special to have them here to witness this win.
Fellow Australian Hunter McElrea finished in P11, while championship leader Braden Eves could only manage P5. Eves has won, and McElrea has been on the podium in all four previous races, meaning the results from the Friday evening race have shaken things up in the USF2000 paddock.
USF2000 will return June 22-23 at Road America.