Cape Motorsports captures the points lead at Indy
 May 16, 2022| 
  • Team News
Cape Indy Recap 2022

Jagger Jones, grandson of Indy legend Parnelli Jones, came away from the tripleheader with the points lead, as the team earns three podiums and three poles on the weekend

SPEEDWAY, Ind. Cape Motorsports came away from the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Indianapolis with a solid tally of successes: three podiums and the points lead in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

But it is a testament to the expectation level of the 13-time series champions that they came away from the weekend with thoughts of what might have been in the team’s home race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after a race two incident saw two team drivers – the top two in series points – sent to the sidelines in an incident.

“How could it not be awesome racing at Indianapolis?” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “It was another great weekend for us. Although we didn't win a race, we came close, got some well-deserved podium finishes, and three pole positions. We are very proud of the work put in by our drivers and crew so far this year as the month of May rolls on. We are excited to run at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, it’s always a good event.”

Jagger Jones (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Michael d’Orlando (Hartsdale, NY), Nicky Hays (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and Jackson Lee (Avon, Ind.) had more than their share of ups and downs through the weekend, but each driver gained in experience and knowledge despite bouts of adversity.

With a tightly packed schedule as part of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ GMR Grand Prix, the series held a single qualifying session, setting pole for race one (pole for race two would be set by the second-quickest lap in qualifying or the quickest lap in race one, with the quickest lap in race two). With the quickest lap in qualifying and solid laps in both race two and three, Jones secured the pole position (and valuable bonus points) in all three races.

Race One

At the drop of the green flag, Jones shot ahead and held the lead as 23 Tatuus USF-22s drafted into Turn One. Unfortunately, Hays and Lee both suffered damage to their front wings in unrelated incidents, with debris bringing out a full course caution. Hays ducked in immediately to get a new wing, while Lee came in the following lap. D’Orlando had his own battles but held onto fourth position.

The green flag flew again and Jones – a virtual sitting duck in the draft going into Turn One – was swarmed by Turn Seven, wisely taking his lumps and tucking into third. The new leader, Alex Quinn, went side-by-side with Rowe in Turn One on lap five, and Jones, who had been stapled to Quinn’s rear wing, made the over-under stick to slide back into the lead. Behind Jones, Billy Frazer dove inside Rowe on lap six to take second position, and d’Orlando tried to follow him through – but Rowe and d’Orlando made contact in Turn Four and went off course, taking the two championship leaders out of the race.

Quinn and Jones exchanged the lead back and forth several times, until a late full course caution gathered up the field. Back to green with three to go, Frazer set up Jones going into turn one and grabbed second, slotting Jones back to third. But Jones would not relent, sticking to Frazer as the white flag flew. With the pair running side by side, contact between them sent Jones into the grass, doing a masterful job to hang onto third. Race control reviewed the move post-race, and gave Frazer a penalty, moving Jones into second position. Hayes came home 13th, Lee 16th and d’Orlando 21st.

Race two

Jones pushed through a four-wide start to hold onto the lead, with d’Orlando getting around the outside of Quinn into Turn One to grab second. But a full course caution on lap two for a car stopped on course halted the battle between Jones and d’Orlando and the progress up the field for Hays and Lee, who lay in 12th and 14th respectively.

On the restart, d’Orlando took advantage of the draft and pulled alongside Jones at the yard of bricks, taking the lead into Turn One. Hays began a charge with steady progress forward, reaching the top 10 by lap 10, with Lee just behind in 12th.

On lap 12, Jones pulled alongside d’Orlando at that same yard of bricks but wasn’t able to make the pass stick into Turn One and wisely slide back behind his teammate in Turn Two. But with three laps to go, Jones broke deep and could not avoid tagging d’Orlando, spinning the No. 4 car around and garnering a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact. Hays showed the experience he had gained in the first five races of the year, managing his overtakes and moving from P14 to eighth at the checker, with Lee also making solid passes to finish 11th. D’Orlando made a solid recovery to come home fifth.

Race Three

Jones got a solid jump at the green flag but Quinn once again grabbed the draft going into Turn One and took the lead, bringing d’Orlando behind him right up to Jones’ rear wing. The drivers appeared to have learned a lesson from the chaotic race two earlier in the day, settling into running order with Hays 12th and Lee 13th – until Lee got tagged in the now-infamous Turn One, sending him into a spin and to the back of the field.

D’Orlando stalked his teammate but with the earlier contact in mind, waited until a solid opportunity presented itself to try and get by, which it did mid-race. Jones stayed on the rear wing of d’Orlando, with the duo trying to catch Quinn, but it was not to be. Quinn took the win with d’Orlando second and Jones third, each garnering valuable championship points. Hays, who had battled mid-field through the entire race, came home 11th with Lee 16th.

Next up for Cape Motorsports and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will be the Freedom 75, part of the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, May 26-27. Tune into USF2000.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

JAGGER JONES – No. 3 

Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 2nd

Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 18th

Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 3rd

Championship standing:  1st

“The racing is super intense here, with the long straightaways. I started every race on pole and had great speed, but it’s hard to manage the jump on the field, especially going into turn one. I lost the lead in race one, got back to the lead, built a gap and a yellow came out – and then I was back in the same position of defending on the restart. The cars behind have such an advantage going into turn one. Frustrating, because I knew the win was possible, if I’d managed the racecraft better.

“I had great pace again in race two and was sitting in second, but I just made a mistake – and unfortunately, it was at the cost of a teammate, and of my race as well. It’s easy to make a mistake in the hard braking into Turn One, we saw that a lot in the Indy Lights race. So in the finale, I just wanted a clean race, though I made a mistake that cost me second. All in all, a good weekend, with two poles and two podiums. We have a lot of confidence, we know we’re fast, we just have to clean some things up and go for the win on the oval in a couple of weeks.

MICHAEL D’ORLANDO – No. 4 Focused Project Management/UFC Gym

Race 1: Start – 5th / Finish – 21st

Race 2: Start – 3rd / Finish – 5th

Race 3: Start – 3rd / Finish – 2nd

Championship standing:  3rd

“Friday’s race was tough – Myles and I got together early in the race. I’ve known Myles for a long time, we’re good friends, and while I could have waited to make the pass, I feel as though he didn’t see me. But stuff happens, it was a racing incident. Today’s first race was exciting, to say the least. I made my way to the front and was just putting down the laps, but unfortunately, Jagger and I collided in Turn One. He hit me in the rear but what can you do – that’s racing. Race two was difficult. It was the most “boring” race of the weekend but after the first two races, I was looking forward to that! It could have been one spot better today but Cape Motorsports gave me a great car, it was super fast.”

NICKY HAYS – No. 5 Touchstone Helicopters/Molecule Sports

Race 1: Start – 18th / Finish – 13th

Race 2: Start – 14th / Finish – 8th

Race 2: Start – 14th / Finish – 11th

Championship standing:  12th

“In race one, on the start I made a misjudgment and knocked my wing off by contact with car in front of me. Luckily, we got the nose changed and got up to 13th. But it was a crazy race! Race two was a decent recovery to P8 after starting 14th. I just took my time and picked off cars one by one as the race went on, which was fun. Race three was also a fun battle, with lots of good racing. I learned a great deal about how to manage in traffic and how to handle overtaking. Every race has been a good learning experience so far this year!”

JACKSON LEE – No. 2 IU Simon Cancer Center / Browning Chapman / Race for RP

Race 1: Start – 12th / Finish – 16th

Race 2: Start – 16th / Finish – 11th

Race 3: Start – 16th / Finish – 15th

Championship standing:  13th

“Just the way it goes sometimes. It hurts more this weekend because we had a super good car. I honestly think the car was capable of a top five. There was a lot going on out there but that’s just the nature of this track. With the long straightaways, there’s a lot of passing and a lot going on so it’s just a matter of putting yourself in the best position. I feel as though we were able to do that until we got hit late in that last race. Just move on and be ready to race on the oval!”

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