USF2000 learning curve continues for DC Autosport
 July 5, 2023| 
  • Team News
DCA MO USF

Dual top-10 finishes for Ethan Ho while Carson Etter showed well in his first series weekend

LEXINGTON, Ohio – The DC Autosport duo of Ethan Ho and Carson Etter continued their march toward 2024 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend, gaining valuable information for their collective databases in the USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires tripleheader – part of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ Honda Indy 200.

Both Ho (Los Angeles) and Etter (Villa Park, Calif.) are full season competitors in the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires series. But both are also planning to move up the ladder system to USF2000 in 2024 and are taking the opportunity to compete at select weekends – but since the USF Juniors will contest two races at Mid-Ohio this upcoming weekend, both are hoping they also gained an advantage.

“With the team not having run the USF2000 car at Mid-Ohio before, we were just looking to catch up to the other teams,” said team principal Don Conner. “It was great to see Ethan start on the front row after qualifying and get some top-seven finishes. Carson did a fantastic job in his first USF2000 event, beating guys with far more experience in these cars.”

Etter, a rookie in the USF Juniors series, saw his first USF2000 series action on the weekend, focusing both on learning the car and learning another new racetrack. The task was made somewhat easier by the fact that the USF Juniors car, the JR-23, shares the same base chassis as the USF2000’s Tatuus USF-22 – thus, Etter was able to drive the same chassis in the USF2000 tripleheader that he has raced in USF Juniors all season.

Air quality was an issue for all the teams during Wednesday set-up and Thursday’s test day, with smoke from the Canadian wildfires continuing to cover the Midwest. But overnight rain Thursday cleared the air ahead of qualifying. Ho worked on getting the rhythm of the track and on the setup while Etter, hampered by a large blister on his right hand, came to grips (literally) with the higher horsepower USF2000 car. Ho qualified third but was promoted to second when the pole sitter received a two-grid spot penalty for missing the checkered flag, with Etter starting in 22nd position.

Race One (Friday afternoon)

Ho took the green on the outside of row one but did not get the jump he wanted. He held the outside through the first corners but the outside did not prove to be the fastest lane, as several cars squeezed through on the inside, putting Ho back into fifth. When three cars made contact in Turn Six, Etter moved up to 19th.

Experiencing understeer, Ho fell back a bit on the restart but quickly rejoined the leaders and established separation to the cars behind – but the lead draft slowly edged forward as the race remained green. At the checkered flag, Ho had scored a sixth-place finish, with Etter holding 19th.

Race Two (Saturday morning)

Ho took the start from seventh position, on the more advantageous inside position through Turn One but in the middle of an immediate scrum at the drop of the green. Opting for caution over aggression on the first lap, he slotted into eighth. Etter took advantage of mistakes ahead, powering up to 17th before the race went full course yellow at the end of Lap 1.

The green flag returned on Lap 5, with Ho and Etter both making clean, strategic passes. A Lap 18 incident between the two leaders sent the race into another full course caution and set up a two-lap dash for the finish, with Ho bringing it home in ninth and Etter 14th.

Race Three (Saturday afternoon

With two drivers in the top six having mechanical issues, Ho started fifth with Etter 20th as the green flag finally flew on Lap 3. With his best start of the weekend, Ho was in the thick of the fight. Several cars came together in the rear of the field while up front, Ho found himself shoved off in Turn Six as the yellow came out. As the field circulated under caution, Ho sat in 10th with Etter only a few positions back in P12.

The green flew once again on Lap 7, with Ho battling for eighth but once again, was run wide and had to slide off track to avoid an incident as his teammate slid past. Ho came back on track in 14th and battled back to 12th, with Etter coming home 14th.

Next up for DC Autosport will be the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader at this same Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next weekend, July 6-8. Tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

ETHAN HO – No. 68 Triple S Suspensions

Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 6th

Race 2: Start – 7th / Finish – 9th

Race 3: Start – 7th / Finish – 12th

“We had good qualifying pace so now we need to work on race setups and race pace. Race One, I hung back a bit too much on the start. I was struggling a bit with understeer so it was really survival mode. I wasn’t feeling well during Saturday morning’s race and that hurt me a bit. I had my best start of the weekend in Race Three and twice got hit – the second one was a dive bomb that really put me back in the pack.

“But overall, a good weekend – and a chance to work on the technical aspects of the track, since we’ll see it again in just a couple of days. Both series are so competitive, and everyone is so close that qualifying is really important – but race pace is equally important, so we’ll keep on working on that.”

CARSON ETTER – No. 57 Priority Workforce

Race 1: Start – 21st / Finish – 19th

Race 2: Start – 22nd / Finish – 13th

Race 3: Start – 22nd / Finish – 14th

“There was no shortage of chaos last weekend! This weekend was really about settling into the car, putting in consistent lap times, and keeping our nose clean. I learned a lot, it was a good chance to dip my feet in the series. I had some good battles, including a good one with my teammate! Ethan knows how to overtake, and that experience helped my defensive abilities a great deal.

“But primarily, it was a way to learn all the intricacies of the track – where you should push and where you shouldn’t. The car handled very similarly to the USF Juniors car, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Having the Juniors knowledge was a huge help, you  just bump that speed up a bit.”

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