ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 29, 2021) – Michael Myers Racing (MMR) made its Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship debut last weekend in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, beginning a new chapter in the team’s development on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
Michael Myers, 19, from Indianapolis, Ind., competed in eight USF2000 in 2020 with Legacy Autosport, but decided that for 2021, he would return to the family-based team that had helped him to numerous regional and national cross country off-road championships.
“There were a lot of factors involved in the decision,” said Myers. “We own our own Tatuus USF-17, so it allows us to control testing time, budget, etc. My dad owns automotive repair shops in Indiana and he understands the mechanics, so he runs the car and I run the team. I handle all the networking with sponsors, logistics, etc. It’s definitely a team effort, with Gary Dunford working on the car as well. We’re looking to hire an engineer and we’ll have an additional mechanic as we head toward Indianapolis in May. We know it’s a learning process but we feel as though this is the best way to grow myself as a driver.
“We’ve been running our own team since I started racing off-road ATVs in 2011,” Myers continued. “My family was my team. Granted, it wasn’t nearly as involved as it is now but it’s the same thing at the end of the day, just at a different level. We took our existing knowledge, leveled it up, and applied it to what we’re doing now. Coming out of the gate at St. Pete, our times were competitive, but the lack of technical information did hurt us in the end. We’ll fix that as we move forward.”
Having raced at St. Pete in 2020, Myers knew the challenge ahead. Getting up to speed quickly in the lone practice session Friday morning, he qualified 15th for race one. In race two qualifying in very warm and humid conditions at the end of the day Friday, the team battled the circumstances, the setup and a late red flag, settling for P23.
Coming off the wide-open spaces of the St. Pete airport circuit front stretch into a tight and twisty Turn One and Two complex always makes for a challenging opening lap, and Saturday’s race one was no different. On the start, a total of six cars came together, bringing out a red flag. On the restart, two more cars found the wall in Turn One. Myers deftly avoided both incidents and focused on reaching the top 10. Unfortunately, another car spun and collected him on Lap 13, putting him out of the race with a severely damaged race car.
The team immediately set to work and with only an hour to spare, put the car on the starting grid for race two late on Saturday afternoon. However, with the temperatures even warmer and with rubber from multiple series on the racetrack, the setup did not fully match the conditions. The team’s race came to an end with four laps remaining as Myers tapped the wall, but with the amount of knowledge gained over the three days, the team considered the weekend a success.
“Over the entirety of the weekend, we found our limitations with the little technical information we have as a new team,” said Myers. “Constantly learning and adapting was a goal moving going into the event but being competitive was the focus. Overall, the weekend was a major success for MMR as we know exactly what we need for the upcoming Indy GP in May.”
Next up for Michael Myers Racing will be the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 13-15. Each session will be live-streamed at USF2000.com and the Road to Indy TV app!