Cape Motorsports and Kirkwood Score Season Opener
 March 13, 2018| 
  • Team News
Cape USF StP 2018 Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – With seven straight series championships on their record, Cape Motorsports began their defense of the crown in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda this past weekend with Jupiter, Florida’s Kyle Kirkwood at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Kirkwood quickly came up to speed on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit, expertly navigating the concrete wall lined course to qualify second for the opening race of the doubleheader, a starting position that he leveraged to pull away to a 5.494-second triumph in his series debut. The reigning F4 US champion came back on Sunday and carded a fifth-place finish which puts him at the top of the championship standings leaving St. Pete with a seven-point lead over the second-place driver.

“It was a great way for Kyle and the boys to kick off the season,” commented Dominic and Nicholas Cape, the co-owners of the powerhouse team. “Street circuits are always a crap shoot and anything can happen. There were plenty of crazy attempts at passing, so to leave St. Pete with the points lead is a good start and we can build on this as a team for the next race.”

Kirkwood’s debut in the USF2000 program was strong from the very first session, which was run at 7:30 am on Friday morning. Kyle was third in the first official practice of the year, taking his time to learn the challenging street circuit, which was difficult considering the cooler morning temperatures (53ºF) and the dirty nature of the green track. Kirkwood picked up the track layout quickly and was in the top-three in both qualifying sessions, timing in second for Race 1 in the Friday afternoon session and third for Race 2 in Saturday morning’s second qualifying run.

As they showed last year, Cape Motorsports has a very good handle on the Tatuus USF-17 and they provided Kirkwood with an excellent car for the first race of the 2018 USF2000 season.  Kyle worked his way past leader Jose Sierra through the turn one chaos that ensued, holding the outside line as Kaylen Frederick overshot the apex on an unsuccessful late braking attempt. Once clear and into the lead, Kirkwood defended all challengers on the restart and then powered away to a 5.494-second win to begin his Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career off in fine style.

The second race of the doubleheader was the final race on the weekend schedule on Sunday afternoon, coming after the Verizon IndyCar Series main event. Kirkwood took the green from the inside of row two and dropped a pair of spots on the initial circuit to reset his race in fifth.  Kyle put pressure on the driver in front of him – Lucas Kohl – on a number of occasions and he was also challenged aggressively from behind, but after a long 25-lap battle, he held station and came home with a strong fifth place finish which was enough to give him the overall points lead.

Armed with that lead, Kirkwood now has almost two months at that post until the series reconvenes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend on the track’s road course on May 10-12.


USF2000 – ROUNDS 1/2 – MARCH 9-11, 2018



Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:12.8613

Qualifying 2: 3rd – 1:12.704

Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st   

Race 2: Start – 3rd Finish – 5th  

Driver Quote: “Overall, the weekend couldn’t have worked out any better. I am still a little disappointed with our fifth-place finish on Sunday, with probably the fastest car that Cape Motorsports provided me. But actually, I am completely satisfied leaving the weekend with a seven-point lead and having the car in one piece!”

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