Victory for Cape Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park
 May 3, 2022| 
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Jagger Jones captures his first series victory as Michael d’Orlando vaults to the top of the point standings with a double podium weekend

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Cape Motorsports team entered the championship conversation in style this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, securing a victory, two podiums and a position atop the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship standings.

Rookie Jagger Jones – grandson of the legendary Parnelli Jones – took the lessons learned from a move that didn’t work in Saturday’s race to launch himself from third to first on the first lap of Sunday’s event, while teammate Michael d’Orlando scored podium finishes in both races to put himself into a tie for the series championship title. Jones now lies in third in the standings.

The 2022 USF2000 champion will earn a scholarship valued at over $400,000 which guarantees a ride in the 2023 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

“We have tried so hard as a team this year – we've had the speed, but we just couldn't seem to get it all together for one reason or another,” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “But this weekend really came to us. As a group, everyone worked really hard towards one common goal, the cars had good pace and the drivers were giving it one in every session. Finally it all came together in the final race. A big thanks to Jagger, Michael, Jackson and Nicky for fighting to the bitter end, and our crew Reggie, Jeremy, Brendan, Michael and Cassie for their “never give up” attitude – big respect to the whole team, it's Game On!!!!”

The Cape quartet of d’Orlando (Hartsdale, NY), Jones (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Nicky Hays (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and Jackson Lee (Avon, Ind.) managed everything the weekend threw at them on the weekend, including torrential rains that delayed Sunday’s race. All four drivers came away from the weekend with valuable championship points and plenty of confidence as the season gains momentum.

The drivers had only one practice session to find the balance between speed and grip before race one qualifying on Friday afternoon. Jones set the third-quickest lap time, with d’Orlando grabbing the fifth starting position while Hays would start ninth and Lee 14th.

Race One

As the field came to the green, cars midfield checked up, causing Lee to take evasive action. Unfortunately, the rulebook dictates that cars remain in two-by-two formation until the green flag waves, so Lee was forced to take a drive-through penalty once the race was underway.

Jones made his move at the drop of that green, passing for second and taking off after leader Myles Rowe. Jones got a nose ahead but coming down the straight and into the hard-left turn five, he found himself on the outside and in the grass. Gathering himself quickly, Jones slotted into ninth right behind teammate Hays. On lap 17, d’Orlando deftly moved into position as the leader and second place car tangled, with the New Yorker moving into third place. With the white flag flying, d’Orlando put his nose right on the rear wing of second position, setting the quickest race lap along the way but not able to get by before the checkered flag. Earning valuable points, d’Orlando finished in third, with Hays eighth, Jones ninth and Lee 17th.

At the end of the day, the series returned to the track for race two qualifying, with Jones and d’Orlando once again starting third and fifth, respectively, with Lee 10th and Hays 11th.

Race two

A storm front slid through the Birmingham area on Sunday morning, with thunder, lightning and significant rain delaying the morning’s races. Once the cell passed, crews returned the track surface to racing shape quickly, and the green flag flew just after 11:00 a.m. At the drop of that green, Jones and d’Orlando set their sights on the front, making the tandem move past pole-sitter Christian Weir and Rowe on the outside in turn three.

The pair paced the field for 15 laps, with d’Orlando unable to get a nose inside his teammate. Jones took the checkered flag for his first series win and second podium in four races, with d’Orlando second, Hays eighth and Lee 17th.

Next up for Cape Motorsports and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will be the tripleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 12-14. Tune into for all the action!


MICHAEL D’ORLANDO – No. 4 Focused Project Management/UFC Gym

Race 1: Start – 5th / Finish – 3rd

Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 2nd

Championship standing:  1st

“My race one start wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better. I wasn’t in the best position in P5, I got stuck at the start. I fell back but chased guys down, driving smooth and safely. When the guys ahead of me went off, I was able to capitalize so I was super proud of that race. But race two - what a race! Lap one 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, 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.”


Race 1: Start – 3rd / Finish – 9th

Race 2: Start – 3rd / Finish – 1st

Championship standing:  3rd

“I had a great start in the first race and was able to get side-by-side with the leader going into turn five – I tried to hold the outside, it was a good chance to take the lead, but I put myself into a vulnerable spot and got pushed off. I was glad to come back for ninth. But Sunday proved that we’d 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.

“Lap one was pretty crazy. The track had been soaking wet when we headed for 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 two and three and was out in front by turn five – basically, I repeated the move from Saturday but made it work this time. 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. Just so happy to get my first series win, hopefully more to come.” 

NICKY HAYS – No. 5 Touchstone Helicopters/Molecule Sports

Race 1: Start – 9th / Finish – 8th

Race 2: Start – 11th / Finish – 7th

Championship standing:  10th

“This is super technical track and the field is so tight – we were 4/10s off pole, but in 11th place. That tightness carries over to the race: it’s hard to pass, so even if you’re a bit quicker, you match the speed of the guy in front of you once you’re on his rear wing. Race one was a good race, no mistakes, and I could see Jagger behind me for most of the race – I was trying to attack and focus forward and look in my mirrors! It was good consistency. Starting outside the top 10 in race two, so we had to take advantage of the opening laps, and we did just that, finding a few wet spots and got up to seventh. A mistake in turn one put me back to ninth, but I capitalized and make the move back to seventh. Overall, a good recovery!”

JACKSON LEE – No. 2 IU Simon Cancer Center / Browning Chapman / Race for RP

Race 1: Start – 14th / Finish – 17th

Race 2: Start – 10th / Finish – 9th

Championship standing:  12th

“In race one, two cars ahead of me ran into each other and checked up quick – I thought they’d stop on track, so I pulled out of line. I tried to hold my position, so I didn’t pass guys and get a penalty, but once I pulled out of line, it was over. But we were able to run good lap times, so I was hopeful for Sunday. We know we have the pace and everyone at Cape has been doing a great job to get us up there. Sunday morning was tough, with the changing conditions, but the Cape boys did a great job to insure we had the best possible scenario. Unfortunately, the track was very green, with not much grip, so it was tough to pass. I tried to force the guys ahead into mistakes, but it just didn’t happen.” 

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