Back-to-Back Top Fives for Keane in Portland Debut
 September 10, 2019| 
  • Team News

Series sophomore gains valuable experience at the iconic Pacific Northwest circuit

PORTLAND, Ore. – Florida’s Darren Keane made his debut at the 1.964-mile, 12-turn road course of Portland International Raceway this past weekend in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. The weekend enjoyed perfect weather for Cape Motorsport’s driver to hustle his Tatuus USF-17 car around the iconic track, posting impressively fast laps during Rounds 12 and 13 of the series.

The event kicked off on Thursday with a series promoters test, followed by the usual Friday to Sunday doubleheader weekend. Keane fought hard all weekend and used his racecraft to move forward in both races, scoring a pair of fifth-place finishes to strengthen his fight for third in the series standings.

The weekend started on Thursday morning with an official Promoters Test day, where Keane was able to learn the track and post some of the fastest laps in all three of the USF2000 test sessions. Friday kicked off the official Grand Prix of Portland weekend with the USF2000 drivers’ one and only practice, followed by qualifying for Race 1. Due to a lengthy red flag in practice, drivers would only get a total of 12 minutes, instead of the 25 minutes that was scheduled. By the end of the run, Keane had clicked off the sixth fastest time. Qualifying for Race 1 saw a clean track the whole session, in which the 19-year-old Keane flirted with a top-3 starting spot. Darren was bumped back over the last couple laps and would have to settle for the seventh starting position for Race 1.

The beautiful Pacific Northwest did not disappoint with the weekend weather. Saturday was sunny and warm for the morning’s Race 2 qualifying session. This again was another clean session and again Darren would fight for a spot on the front two rows. The whole line-up was super tight and, in the end, he would grab a position on the outside of Row 3, just 0.533 seconds off the polesitter.

Race 1 took place on Saturday afternoon at the peak of the heat. Turn 1 was expected to be chaotic, but all the drivers would make it through with minor damage. Darren slotted into the seventh position after the green and would remain there until lap 20, when his car really came alive. He was finally able to get past Manual Sulaiman going into the tricky Turn 1, who had been holding him up. As soon as Darren moved past, he was on a mission and within one lap had caught his Cape Motorsports teammate Jak Crawford. Keane pressured Crawford relentlessly and eventually used the run into turn 1 again to grab the fifth position. Keane was closing rapidly on Colin Kaminsky for fourth, but he ran out of time as the checkered flag would fly just three laps later. Keane was officially classified in fifth.

Sunday’s action would have to wait until the very end of the day, after all the other final events had taken place, including the IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland. The track was hot and had tons of rubber, which made things surprisingly slick. The USF2000 drivers were out to impress this weekend, being the only series to have two clean starts going through the Shelton Chicane. Darren got shuffled back at the start, but in just the first two laps he was able to gain three positions back, and on lap six was able to capitalize on the backstraight, making an aggressive move to the inside of turn 9 to pass Crawford for fifth. After finally making it back into the top-five, the field had spread out so much that he was unable to catch the front pack. Ultimately finishing fifth, Darren posted the fastest times out of all his Cape Motorsports teammates in both Race 1 and Race 2. Keane left Portland sitting third in the championship standing and ready to fight for the spot at the season finale.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will now move on to the picturesque hills of Monterey, California for a doubleheader to finish off the season at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Follow along on Darren’s social media channels and the Road To Indy TV app.


USF2000 – ROUNDS 12/13 – AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 1, 2019



Qualifying 1: 7th – 1:12.152

Qualifying 2: 6th – 1:11.449

Race 1: Start – 7th / Finish – 5th      

Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 5th    

Quote: “Portland was a solid weekend for myself and the team. Two clean races and two fifth place finishes yielded some good championship points heading into the last round. Race 1 was pretty quiet for the first half, but the car really came alive in the closing stages and I was able to gain a couple spots. I wished there was a couple more laps to get past fourth, but unfortunately, that is not up to me. In Race 2, I got bumped back on the start but was able to gain three spots back in the first two laps, and eventually take over fifth position around lap 5. Unfortunately, by the time I got into fifth, the cars in front were pretty far ahead, and since the field was so close, I wasn’t able to join the battle for third place. I’m hoping for a better weekend in Laguna. Huge thanks to Cape Motorsports, Ozz Negri and In2itive Media Management.”

  • Evirum
    • Series News
  • Kohlbecker_Toronto (6)
    • Team News
  • JHDD_Papasavvas (2)
    • Team News
  • Evagoras
    • Team News
  • Cape TO 2022 Recap
    • Team News