Top-10 in USF2000 Debut for Nicholas d'Orlando
 June 21, 2022| 
  • Team News
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HARTSDALE, N.Y. – It was a big debut weekend for Nicholas d’Orlando in the Road to Indy’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. In a field consisting of some well-seasoned veterans, including his older brother Michael, track time and experience was the goal for the 19-year-old Hartsdale, N.Y., native, and to develop his skills under the direction of VRD Racing’s Dan Mitchell.  The top-10 result, fast lap honors and a performance indicative of a hard charger, was an added bonus.

After two challenging practice sessions prior to the main events, d’Orlando’s competitive nature set in quickly. Ultimately his qualifying results for each of Race 1 (18th) and Race 2 (20th) meant it was time to now kick it up a notch for some head-to-head racing.

With the tough starting positions for each race, making moves forward was now the mission. d’Orlando made quick work in the opening laps of Race 1, eventually leading to an impressive top-10 finish. And to put the icing on the cake, he earned Fast Lap honors for the race with a strong run at a hard charger effort, officially gaining eight positions.

A similar performance would flow over to Race 2 while also test d’Orlando’s patience and inexperience. In the thick of mid-pack battles throughout the 11-lap event, racing action would be put on hold just over half way through the race, sending all drivers to pit lane to wait out a finicky rain delay. These delays, just sitting in a car in pit lane and waiting, and the swiftly changing track conditions once the racing action would begin again, would test any driver’s mental focus and adaptability. Like a veteran, d'Orlando continued his poise and focus to remain in the battles and bring the car home for a 13th-place result, gaining another seven positions for the day. It was a solid showing in the first race day of his USF2000 career.

“Road America was a weekend of new things across the board,” stated d’Orlando. “Thursday was my first time in the car, and the first day with VRD, so as we imagined there was a lot of learning to be done. We struggled a bit through practice and qualifying but when it came to the races the team and I were on point, making up a total of 15 positions in two races. It was a great feeling to also bring home that extra point in the drivers’ championship with the fastest race lap. I definitely learned a lot in just a few days and look forward to continuing that progress for the rest of the season.” 

Nicholas d'Orlando returns to USF2000 action at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on June 30-July 3.
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