Rowe Seeks to Make History at Cooper Tires GP of Portland
 August 30, 2022| 
  • Series News
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PALMETTO, Fla. – Myles Rowe enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2021. Now he is on the verge of creating another piece of history.

The 22-year-old from Atlanta, Ga., last year became the first Black driver to win a race on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel driver development ladder. He achieved that feat at New Jersey Motorsports Park with the Black-owned Force Indy team as part of INDYCAR’s new Race for Equality & Change program. Fast forward 12 months and Rowe is on the cusp of winning the prestigious Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, along with a scholarship valued at almost $407,000, to ensure graduation onto the next step, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, in 2023.

Rowe, who recently graduated with a film studies major from Pace University in New York, has won five times this year since joining forces with the vastly experienced Pabst Racing team. He holds a 23-point lead in the championship standings with only this weekend’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Portland triple-header remaining on the 18-race schedule.

The championship permutations are virtually endless, but if he can extend his current streak of 10 top-six finishes among an extremely competitive field, Rowe will have an excellent opportunity to achieve his goal of becoming the first Black Road to Indy series champion.

But he faces no easy task. Two other drivers, Michael d’Orlando and Jace Denmark, remain hot on his heels.

D’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y., drives for Cape Motorsports, which guided drivers to nine consecutive USF2000 championships between 2011 and 2019. The team also claimed four more titles during the pre-Road to Indy era. The 20-year-old d’Orlando finished as runner-up in the 2021 title-chase and has been on a mission to go one better this year. He currently has three wins and a series high five pole positions to his credit.

The other primary title contender, Denmark, runs underneath the same umbrella as Rowe with Pabst Racing, which is still seeking its first drivers’ crown. Denmark, 18, from Scottsdale, Ariz., has won three times, including the most recent race on the streets of Toronto, Ont., Canada. Denmark’s hot streak includes podium finishes in six of his last seven starts.

While the main focus will be on the championship battle, a host of other talented young drivers also will be looking to make their mark at Portland, perhaps in preparation for their own title challenges in 2023. Among them is third-generation racer Jagger Jones, 20, also from Scottsdale, Ariz., who lies fourth in points. This year’s top rookie, grandson of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, secured his first victory at Indianapolis and has been a regular podium contender.

New Zealander Billy Frazer has endured a series of misfortunes in recent races but has finished six times among the top three for Exclusive Autosport and is still seeking that elusive first victory.

A field of 20 cars is expected for the season finale, including newcomers Mac Clark (DEForce Racing), from Milton, Ont., Canada, who currently leads the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires title-chase with one event remaining, countryman Lucas Mann (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Oakville, Ont., Canada, and Ethan Ho (VRD Racing), from Los Angeles, Calif., all of whom are seeking to gain some insight prior to expected challenges in 2023.

Two 45-minute test sessions on Thursday, September 1, will allow the drivers to gain some experience on the 1.964-mile road course prior to the first official practice session at 1:45 p.m. Qualifying at 9:05 a.m. on Friday will set the grid for Race One at 11:20 a.m., with an additional race slated for later in the afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and the finale at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. All times are PDT.

Global live streaming can be found at RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App as well as usf2000.com.
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