Jones Makes His Mark with First Career Win at Barber Motorsports Park
 May 1, 2022| 
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - With a familiar last name to racing fans around the world, Jagger Jones has begun carving his own niche in the open-wheel ranks. The 19-year-old grandson of Parnelli Jones claimed his first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship victory today driving for Cape Motorsports with an impressive run at Barber Motorsports Park.

It is the second podium finish in four starts for the Scottsdale, Ariz., resident.

Teammate Michael d’Orlando made his second visit to the podium at the Birmingham, Ala., circuit, albeit going one better than yesterday with a second-place result. Christian Weir, from Naperville, Ill., who secured his first-ever Cooper Tires Pole Award in qualifying yesterday, completed the podium for Turn 3 Motorsport.

The 25-lap race originally scheduled for 9:00 am CDT was delayed due to a heavy thunderstorm and lightning in the area. The reshuffled schedule allowed the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field to take to the track first to accommodate a television window. The green flag for USF2000’s Race 2 of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Alabama – shortened to 25 minutes – slotted in at 11:10 am under sunny skies.

The opening laps bore witness to tremendous battles throughout the field with the front row of Weir and yesterday’s race winner Myles Rowe of Pabst Racing displaced to third and fourth respectively as the Cape Motorsports train of Jones and d’Orlando took over the top positions.

The field began settling in at the front but the reminder of the grid continued to jockey for position. The biggest mover was Nicky Hays in a fourth Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-22, who started 11th and claimed his career best finish to date with a seventh-place run to earn the Tilton Hard Charger Award.

The first and only yellow flag for both USF2000 and the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires to date this weekend occurred on Lap 13 when Danny Dyszelski, making only his second career start for Jay Howard Driver Development, had an off in Turn 4.

Jones, who at that stage had amassed a 1.4-second gap over his teammate, was unchallenged as the green flag waved the following lap. He ended the 17-lap race with a half-second advantage and earned team owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape their first PFC Award of the season.

Billy Frazer of Exclusive Autosport recovered from a pit stop for front wing damage in the opening turns to post the fastest lap of the race.

Rowe and Simon Sikes (Legacy Autosport) rounded out the top five.

Jace Denmark (Pabst Racing), who was tied in points yesterday with Rowe for the championship lead, finished two laps down after contact with Jacob Douglas of Exclusive Autosport in the closing stages.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will return to action in two weeks’ time with a tripleheader event, once again in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit on May 13/14.

Provisional Points after 4 of 18 Rounds:
1. Myles Rowe, 86
2. Michael d’Orlando, 86
3. Jagger Jones, 78
4. Jace Demark, 70
5. Billy Frazer, 70
6. Simon Sikes, 63
7. Bijoy Garg, 57
8. Christian Weir, 55
9. Thomas Nepveu, 53
10. Nicky Hays, 46

Jagger Jones (#3 Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-22): “We’ve had the pace all weekend, and we finally did it. That’s what it came down to – me putting it all together – getting a good start and getting into the lead. I made sure to make no mistakes. The Cape brothers gave me such a good car. All I had to do was hit my marks, keep it on track and not do anything extravagant. And that’s what got me to victory lane.

“Lap One was pretty crazy. The track had been soaking wet when we headed for the false grid but it was much drier than we thought it would be once we got out on track. I realized that on the pace laps, and at the green flag the guys in front checked up super early, so I made a move around the outside in Turns 2 and 3 and was out in front by Turn 5 – basically, I repeated the move from Saturday but made it work this time. Just so happy to get my first series win with hopefully more to come.”

Michael d’Orlando (#4 Focused Project Management/Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-22): “What a race! Lap One was really hectic. It got really backed up ahead of me and I went right around the two cars ahead on the outside – I just followed Jagger all the way through. The Cape Motorsports team really put it on top today. A huge thank you to all the guys on the team who put a wet setup on the car this morning, only to have to put the dry setup back on in a hurry just before the race. The car was insanely fast but Jagger was quick as well, so big congratulations to him, he deserved that. We have one more step to get up on, but these are good points.”

Christian Weir (#32 3 Motorsport Tatuus USF-22): “I was fully confident going into the race, wet or dry, though the pole position is different in the wet. In the wet you’re more of a sitting duck at the green. It was a tough first lap. Myles and I contested Turn One and after that, I had contact with Jagger in Turn Five and lost two positions. That was pretty scary, so I’m glad to bring this home. The contact made the car feel a bit different through the corners, so it was nerve wracking and fun at the same time at the end of 17 laps. Really proud of the entire team, they nailed the setup up and got me the pole, so a good weekend.”

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