Michael d'Orlando Sweeps the Freedom 75
 June 4, 2021| 
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HARTSDALE, N.Y. - Michael d’Orlando is the Carb Night Classic Freedom 75 winner! Part of the famed month of May in Indianapolis, Ind., alongside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES' premier event, the Indianapolis 500, d’Orlando swept the weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway Park just up the road from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He took the pole position in the qualifying session and never looked back in a nail-biting battle in the 75-lap main event of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The one and only oval race of the year for the USF2000 series commenced over two days beginning on Thursday, May 27, on the 0.686 mile oval, with sunny skies and two practice sessions before the single-car format qualifying session began that afternoon for the 24-car field. d’Orlando showed great poise in his two-lap qualifying session, earning his first pole position in his car racing career, by being the only driver posting two 22.5s lap times, separated by only 16 thousandths, and with the highest average two-lap speed of 109.352 mph.  

The weather Friday afternoon wreaked havoc at Lucas Oil Raceway Park as the series officials and event organizers consistently made attempts to fit in the days’ schedule between severe weather systems and the time required to provide a dry racing surface. Due to safety concerns, races do not commence in wet conditions on oval circuits, so after a long afternoon and late evening of waiting, the main event was ultimately postponed to the following day.

Returning to the circuit on Saturday morning, d’Orlando and his Cape Motorsports team stepped right into racing action with their DB Collaborative #4 Tatuus17 machine. Taking the jump at the green flag, d’Orlando’s confidence and race craft showed lap after lap, consistently warding off continued pressure from the second-place driver, Prescott Campbell. The battle intensified later in the race as the leaders started lapping slower traffic, and at one point the duo had a heart-stopping moment when the right front tire of Campbell and the rear left tire of d’Orlando became entangled together, each car dragging the other through the exit of Turn Two. Quick thinking and skill was evident as the leaders quickly and carefully executed a synchronized maneuver to separate the cars, thus escaping what could have been catastrophic for both drivers. d’Orlando continued his point position in the field for the duration of the entire race, leading from flag to flag. The exciting victory is d’Orlando’s second career victory and his third podium of the 2021 season.

“Crossing the line to realize I’m a winner on an oval in the month of May was so awesome!” exclaimed d’Orlando. “Oval racing is a completely different sport than the regular road circuits. And Prescott gave me such a good fight the entire time. When our two tires got locked together with 10 laps to go, my heart just dropped. I was defending my position a bit, but he got his wheel underneath, so I tried to move up and I just held on. That whole race was awesome, all 75 laps on the edge of my seat. It was incredible. Huge thanks to the Cape Motorsports team, Dominic (Cape) and Nick (Cape), my mechanic Jeremy (Brawner) and my spotter Matt (Brabham). They really had the car dialed in. And also a special thanks to Rising Star Racing, all my sponsors and supporters for continuing to help make these opportunities happen for me.”

The Road to Indy Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will take a brief break in action for a couple weeks, until June 17-20, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
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