Hard-earned win for Cape Motorsports at Mid-Ohio
 July 5, 2022| 
  • Team News
Cape 2022 MO recap

All four Cape drivers finish in the top 10 in race two for the first time this season

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Michael d’Orlando led the four-car Cape Motorsports team into the Cooper Tires USF2000 tripleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, coming into the weekend as the series points leader.

But with d’Orlando encountering difficulties in race one, he found himself in second position in the title chase. Refusing to back down, he brought home a second-place finish in race two and the race win in the Saturday afternoon finale – his third win of the season – to cut the deficit to 12 points as the series enters the home stretch.

“Here we are closing in on the final two race weekends of the 2023 season,” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “As a team, we think everyone has done fantastic so far this year. We have eight out of 13 pole positions, so we have the speed, we just need to convert the qualifying into podiums and race wins. It is the critical time of the year: everything counts, you have to be perfect in order to give yourself the opportunity to take a crack at the championship – and the streets of Toronto circuit is a great place to make something happen.”

D’Orlando (Hartsdale, NY), Jagger Jones (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Nicky Hays (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and Jackson Lee (Avon, Ind.) each had their individual goals for the weekend but as a group, they had one thought in mind: put all four Cape drivers into the race-ending top 10. Coming in as the points leader, d’Orlando also hoped to hold off Pabst Racing’s Myles Rowe, who scored the race one pole, with d’Orlando right behind. Jones started 10th, Hays 15th and Lee 17th.

Race One

At the drop of the green, d’Orlando tucked behind Rowe and filled his mirrors, trying to pressure Rowe into a mistake. The New Yorker made a move to the inside on lap two but the two made contact, sending d’Orlando into pit lane for a new front wing. Meanwhile, Jones, Hays and Lee began their moves to the front, each gaining two positions on the opening two laps.

With smart passes and opportune positioning among multiple on-track incidents and a full course caution, Jones moved to fifth, Hays ninth and Lee 14th. Returning to the track a lap down, d’Orlando was a man on a mission, trying to get every point he could. He set the quickest lap of the race on lap 16, earning the valuable championship point. 

Jones continued the charge, gaining fourth position and into a hard fight with Billy Frazer to maintain the position. Frazer was able to shove his way past, putting Jones back in fifth at the drop of the checkered flag. The second-place car was sent to the back of the field after failing post-race technical inspection, which put Jones in fourth. Hays earned his best series finish to date with a smart seventh-place run, with Lee 12th.

Race Two

D’Orlando started the race on pole and made sure to establish distance between himself and Rowe in second right at the drop green flag. Jones, Hays and Lee all made solid jumps on that opening lap, with Jones up to seventh from 10th, Hays from 13th to eighth right behind his teammate, and Lee from 17th to 13th.

Unfortunately, two cars came together on lap four, bringing out a yellow flag. On the restart, Rowe and Denmark were able to get a jump and get by d’Orlando, with Rowe into  the lead. Denmark helped Rowe get away, though d’Orlando was able to get past to take second. Meanwhile. Hays made a move on Jones to take fifth position, while Lee moved up to P10 on lap eight.

A full-course caution with two laps remaining for a car off course set the finishing order, with d’Orlando second, Hays resetting his top series finishing position in fifth, Jones sixth and Lee 10th – the first all-top 10 finishing positions for the Cape team this year.

Race Three

Late Saturday afternoon, the final race took the green flag with D’Orlando getting safely away at the start to hold off Rowe and Denmark and retain the lead through the first two laps. As the field settled in, the big mover on the Cape team was Lee, up to 14th from 19th on lap three, with Jones up to 8th from 10th, and Hays up one position to run 12th.

As the race progressed, Jones held seventh while Hays moved into the top 10 and Lee battled to 12th – with d’Orlando leading the field and extending his advantage. The four Cape drivers were set to finish in that position until the penultimate corner, when another driver tagged Lee and sent both of them spinning into the tires. Both drivers exited their cars under their own power as d’Orlando took the checkered flag and the win – and by sweeping all 33 race points, put himself only 12 points behind Rowe in the standings.

Next up for Cape Motorsports and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will be the doubleheader on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 15-17, as the series heads north of the border for the first time in three years. Tune into USF2000.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

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

Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – th

Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 2nd

Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st

Championship standing:  2nd

“Last weekend was the whole color scale of emotions – it was a rough one. We had the pace that put us in a good position for all three races, so we had the car to be super consistent and super quick. In race one, Myles didn’t see me and the contact knocked out my wing. It was a racing incident, these things happen – but after I came into the pits for a new wing, I was down the charts. Not where I wanted to be. But Saturday was way better. The yellow hurt me in race two, it gave Myles the advantage with a car better set up for traffic. In the closing laps, I could see his front right tire going but I just couldn’t get close enough. But we really shined in race three, taking all the available points, with Myles back in third. It was a great way to end the weekend, with some momentum going into Toronto.”

JAGGER JONES – No. 3 TotalSim US / Apex Motor Club / Simcraft

Race 1: Start – 10th / Finish – 4th

Race 2: Start – 10th / Finish – 6th

Race 3: Start – 11th / Finish – 7th

Championship standing:  4th

“First off, it was a super tough qualifying for us, putting us 10th, 10th, and 11th starting in the three races. Race one went fairly well, moving up to P4 making great passes, we just lacked some pace to fight for a podium. The team and I put in a lot of work to find some speed for Saturday’s races but we weren't able to find what we were looking for. After some good opening laps I ended sixth and seventh. All in all, a weekend of learning with some average finishes, and I’m thankful for the 100% effort the team put in. Looking forward to Toronto with a level playing field since it will be a new track for the entire field.”

NICKY HAYS – No. 5 Touchstone Helicopters/Molecule Sports

Race 1: Start – 13th / Finish – 7th

Race 2: Start – 13th / Finish – 5th

Race 3: Start – 13th / Finish – 11th

Championship standing:  9th

“I had a decent start in race one and just barely caught up to fifth and sixth. But I ran out of laps in race two – though we had an equally strong first lap, and after the yellow worked my way.”

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

Race 1: Start – 17th / Finish – 12th

Race 2: Start – 17th / Finish – 10th

Race 3: Start – 19th / Finish – 18th

Championship standing:  14th

“Mid-Ohio could have gone better for us, that's for sure. Unfortunately, part of racing is being able to accept but more importantly adapt to the uncontrollable. We will keep working and I will be back in the car very soon. Thanks to Cape Motorsports for all their hard work.”

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