Cape Motorsports' Askew Sweeps Barber Weekend
 April 25, 2017| 
  • Team News
Rookie driver turns in flawless performance to extend championship points lead

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Having won the last six Driver and Team Championships in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, Cape Motorsports is off to a strong start in the chase for a seventh straight title. Team driver Oliver Askew dominated the action this past weekend on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park layout, piloting his ‘Soul Red’ Mazda Driver Scholarship USF-17 to wins in both ends of the doubleheader. Askew qualified on the pole for both races to extend his lead in the championship standings to 34 points as he and the team head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the road course event in mid-May. Askew’s rookie teammate Ricky Donison posted solid qualifying efforts but was caught up in on-track incidents in both main events.

"It was an awesome weekend for the team, as everyone worked really hard with one common goal,” commented Dominic and Nicholas Cape, team owners. “Oliver really stepped up when we asked him to. Unfortunately for Ricky, in the second race, he was driven over by another competitor under the yellow and sustained too much damage to carry on. Were all really looking forward to IMS, as it should be another hard weekend. We want to say a big thanks to the whole team for a great effort."

Askew was quick right out of the gate at Barber, topping the second of two promoter test sessions on Thursday morning. The team continued to fine-tune the set-up and the balance of the car for the single official practice session on Thursday afternoon. This was Donison’s first experience at Barber, as he did not attend the test, and he did extremely well to acclimatize himself with the challenging circuit. He was able to cut considerable time off his pace during the three sessions that were run on Thursday.

Qualifying for Race One was held on Friday morning and the session was extremely tight throughout the 30 minutes. Askew bounced inside the top-five on the speed charts until the final minutes when he laid down a tremendous lap to earn his first career USF2000 pole. Donison was 14th, less than a half-second off a top-10 time.

The opening race of the doubleheader was held under blue skies on Friday afternoon and Askew did not skip a beat, pulling out quickly to a manageable lead. Donison had a great start as well and was on the move, but while making a pass on Luke Gabin for 11th in Turn One on lap two, he suffered exit oversteer and spun the car, dropping to the tail of the field. Askew continued to maintain his tremendous pace to lead the race over Kaylen Frederick until a lap-12 caution came out when Donison went wide and off-track into the gravel trap on the exit of Turn 17. Askew handled the restart masterfully and would not be challenged, driving to a narrow 0.2273-second win over Frederick. Donison continued after his spin and was officially classified in 21st.

Saturday morning’s qualifying run for Race two was a carbon copy of Friday’s action as Askew again waited until late in the session to show his hand and record a flyer. The 20-year-old Floridian put over three tenths on the field to again secure a position on the inside of the front row for the race. Donison maintained his pace and would start the second race of the weekend from the outside of row seven once again.

The leaders got through the opening corners cleanly to begin the second race of the weekend, but chaos ensued as multiple incidents, one involving Donison, quickly brought out the full-course caution. After avoiding the initial melee in Turn Three, Donison was run over by Calvin Ming heading into the downhill Turn 8-9-10 complex, ending his race early. When the field went back to green, Askew quickly built a small gap on Team Pelfrey’s Kaylen Frederick and held that advantage through to the checkered flag to score a 3.8037-second win, his third of the season.

Cape Motorsports, Oliver Askew and Ricky Donison will return to competition in just three weeks when they head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 11-13.

ROUND #2 - APRIL 21-23, 2017

Qualifying 1
: 1st – 1:23.5715
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:23.1597
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: 1st  

Driver Quote: “Having little car racing experience, I find that every day I spend in the car and at the race track I become much more comfortable and competitive. Having a team like Cape Motorsports behind me has played a massive role in my success early this season. I knew Barber was going to be a really good stop for us, as I feel strong there and so does the team. I will be keeping my head down moving forward. This is not the time to be complacent; it is still very early in the season.”

Qualifying 1
: 12th – 1:24.7728
Qualifying 2: 13th – 1:24.4220
Race 1: 21st
Race 2: 23rd

Driver Quote: "Coming into the round, I was prepared physically and mentally. The first round in St. Petersburg was an eye-opener and I knew that I can’t take this championship lightly as the level of competition was extremely high and the entire field of cars are separated by under a couple of seconds. I was one of the only drivers going into Barber with no knowledge of the track, as I have never driven it before and did not attend the test held there last year, so I knew it was going to be very difficult for me to get up to speed in three sessions. I had a lot to work on so I got back to the hotel after the first day and watched my onboard videos and went through the data compared to my teammate who was the fastest in two out of the three practice sessions. I had to be up at 6:00 am the next day and having only landed from India on Wednesday, I was still quite jet lagged.

"The first race started off really well as I got up to 10th after the first lap, however, at the first corner of the second lap I tried making a move for ninth and ended up spinning off the track and dropping off to the back of the grid. I was very disappointed with myself as I have always been told not to try to win a race on the first lap and that’s exactly what I tried doing. My team helped me out and talked me through race starts and how to make the right overtakes. Barber is extremely difficult for overtaking as most of the corners are fast and flowing.

"On the final day, I qualified 14th again, however I set my personal best lap-time all weekend and managed to get within one second of the rest of the field, so I was looking forward to the final race of the weekend. The start of the race was good and I managed to make up over five positions, however, at Turn Nine on the first lap, another driver climbed over my car and I was forced to retire from the race because of the damage done to my car. It was not a great weekend for me, although I’m extremely happy for the team and Oliver for winning both races. I’ve learned a lot and I can’t wait for the next race in Indiana. I’ll be a lot more prepared for the next round and expect to be much higher up in the order."

About Cape Motorsports:
Cape Motorsports campaigns cars in the F4 US Championship, Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The team is the winningest operation in USF2000 history, having won the last six Driver and Team Championships with pilots like Matthew Brabham, Petri Suvanto, Scott Hargrove, Florian LaTorre, Nico Jamin and Anthony Martin. The goal of Cape Motorsports is to provide unmatched driver development both on and off the track.  It is difficult for a young driver to jump into a professional series and win, regardless of talent.  Through coaching and mentoring, Cape Motorsports provides young drivers with as much knowledge of motorsports to become as successful as possible.
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