DC Autosport scores season-best finish at Indy
 May 16, 2023| 
  • Team News
Ethan Ho_450
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – DC Autosport and Ethan Ho found their USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires groove Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, taking a hard-fought fifth-place finish in race three of the triple header Discount Tire Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

In race three, the 17-year-old Los Angeles native found the outside line he’d been looking for through the first two races and drove from 11th on the starting grid to bring home the Brownsburg, Ind.-based team’s top result of the season.

"We had a great end to the team's first USF2000 race event at IMS,” said team principal Don Conner. “Ethan did a great job staying out of trouble and raced hard at the end for a strong result, and the team was happy to see it.”

When a race fan hears “May” that means only one thing: Indianapolis. The top two levels of the USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires joined the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to contest the road course weekend that kicks off the month’s festivities – culminating with the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 later this month.

For Ho and DC Autosport, the weekend marked their second USF2000 weekend of the season, having competed in the series in March at Sebring. The 17-year-old plans to enter select USF2000 events as he focuses on a full USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires season.

Ho first experienced the wide-open spaces of the IMS road course in 2021, at the series’ Chris Griffis Memorial Test in late October. Putting that knowledge to work, he came out quickly in the two series test sessions on Thursday, setting the fifth-quickest time in the first session and ninth in the second test. In the official series practice late in the afternoon, Ho consistently paced in the top six, continuing to learn the intricacies of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit.

Cloudy and damp conditions greeted the drivers early Friday morning, as a downpour hit IMS an hour before the lone qualifying session began. Ho took to the track shod with Cooper rain tires while continuing to focus on balance and precision while setting early quick laps that placed him among the leaders. But as the tires began to degrade – and with the track not dry enough for slick tires – Ho worked hard to find those last few tenths. At the checkered flag, he had placed himself in 10th position to start the afternoon’s race one.

Race One (Friday afternoon)
The rain was long gone as race one took the green. Ho kept to the inside in turn one but when a car ahead spun, Ho had to perform quick avoidance maneuvers, then was bottlenecked in the group behind and lost two positions, slotting back into 10th.

Ho held the inside on the restart and made a move through the turns two-three-four complex, grabbing two positions. But the race stayed green for only one lap, with a car sailing into the turn seven tires after slamming into the car ahead and bouncing perilously close to Ho, who then had contact with another car and had to pit for a new nose, sending him back to 15th. When the green finally flew with four laps remaining, Ho set about taking those positions back, passing his way to 13th at the white flag and moving up to eighth as the checkered flag flew.

Race Two (Saturday morning)
Ho again kept to the inside in turn one and avoided an early incident, despite two cars on the outside making it three-wide. On lap four, Ho began to battle with Chase Gardner, as the duo swapped the eighth position until another yellow slowed the field for three laps. They re-engaged the battle on the restart, pacing side-by-side through the first three corners until Ho was able to get clear ahead.

At the drop of the green flag, positions eight through 12 began swapping positions and running side-by-side, exchanging positions seemingly through every corner. Again, Ho was boxed in and lost three positions. At the checkered flag, Ho brought his Tatuus USF-22 home in 11th position – and just as importantly, in perfect condition for race two less than four hours later.

Race Three (Saturday afternoon)
Ho tried to get to the outside at the green flag, but wasn’t able to muscle through, once again stuck in the bottleneck and losing positions in the turn one scramble. Two cars came together in turn 10 to bring out the yellow, with Ho in 12th. He quickly began to work his way back forward, taking 11th on lap five and moving into ninth on lap six – but when two cars came together, Ho went into seventh as the yellow came back out. On the restart, Ho was determined to get away from the inside of turn one, passing two cars on the front straight and sliding to the outside in turn one, briefly taking fifth before settling into sixth.

Ho took the checkers in sixth, his best finish in USF2000, but moved up to fifth when the car ahead received a post-race penalty.

Next up for DC Autosport will be the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires tripleheader at VIRginia International Raceway June 2-4, 2023. Tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action!

ETHAN HO – No. 68 Triple S Suspensions
Race 1
: Start – 9th / Finish – 8th
Race 2: Start – 9th / Finish – 11th
Race 3: Start – 11th / Finish – 5th

“The key is balance, and I’m really learning that – not being so conservative that I miss opportunities, but not being so aggressive that I get in a bad position. I was really aggressive in race one, then too conservative in race two – but I had a much better finish in race one. And race three was a nice balance, getting into the top five.

“But all in all, an awesome experience. This is the most spectators we compete in front of and it’s great to compete at Indy – I’ve watched dozens of Indy 500s and while, yes, we’re not going in the oval direction (the road course is clockwise, while the oval is counter-clockwise) but to have a portion of the circuit on the historic oval is really cool. This circuit is so consistent: you have to do each corner perfectly and you immediately know if you’ve got it wrong. You have to nail that one thing in order to be fast, but once you get it, it’s actually pretty simple.”
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