By Patrick Stephan
Michael d’Orlando led the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship field down to the green with the ambient temp at 79F and the track in the low 120’s. Myles Rowe starting alongside slotted in to line as they went through Turn 1.
Nikita Johnson, starting 4th went off and into the gravel outside Turn 1, but was able to rejoin with a caution being needed.
As they completed Lap 1, d’Orlando was up to a 0.5 second lead over Rowe, then Denmark, Frazer, Christie, Hughes, Douglas, Nepveu, Jones and Garg is 10th.
Nicholas d’Orlando was got off course and then came slowly down the hill on the back side, pulling to an access road temporarily – which created just local yellows. He would pull to a different access road on Lap 3 to try and get out of the way of the field as he limped around the track, finally making it to the pits on Lap 4.
Frazer is up to 4th after starting 7th, with Jones to 8th from 11th. Lee and Dyszelski both picked up 5 spots to move in to 14th and 13th respectively.
A piece of debris on the front straight, just under the flag stand was causing surface flag for a couple laps until it could be retrieved be a track official.
Lap 5 and another car found the Turn 1 gravel – oh, it’s Frazer who was 4th and now is at the end of tail of the field. That changes the Top 5 to d’Orlando, Rowe, Denmark, Christie, and Hughes.
The 33 of Spike Kohlbecker pulled in to the pits on Lap 10 as d’Orlando leads by 1.1 over Rowe.
Lap 11 and Danny Dyszelski also goes off on that lap at Turn 4 – a review of that results in no action. Not sure who he may have been involved with, but I believe he was running 10th at the time.
d’Orlando is slowly gaining time on Rowe as he improves to a 1.5247 lead on Lap 13 of 20, with the Top 10 being d’Orlando, Rowe, Denmark, Hughes, Christie, Nepveu, Jones, Weir, Garg and Hays. Jackson Lee is 11th, with Johnson, Garciarce, Andersson, Papasavvas Frazer, Douglas, Dyszelski, Kohlbecker and Nicholas d’Orlando.
Frazer and Douglas move by Papasavvas and Johnson passes Lee for 11th. He then gets Hays for 10th.
d’Orlando’s lead has stabilized on Lap 16 at 1.555 seconds.
Lap 17 and it’s 1.6322 and on Lap 18 it’s 1.81.
Lap 19 and Myles Rowe goes off the track and back on at Turn 1 and we’ve got Johnson and Garg side by side with Johnson up to 8th as Rowe drops back to 3rd.
d’Orlando has a 3.1 second lead over Denmark now as they take the white flag.
Michael d’Orlando takes the checkered flag by 3.3 seconds to score his 3rd win of the season and 4th career at Mid-Ohio. This is his 7th career USF2000 victory which ties him for 11th all time.
As the field was coming to the checkered flag, Jorge Garciarce got off the track at Turn 11 (left hand kink) spun through the grass and came back again at the approach to the long righthander Turn 12 and slid right in to Jackson Lee – sending them both spinning in to the tire barrier.
And as often happens in these things, Lee’s car took the brunt of the damage when he back in to the barrier hard – and I think the rear wing was coming off before he even got there. When they hooked up the car, the right rear corner of Lee’s car was hanging, while Garciarce was eventually pulled out and able to drive his machine back to the pit area.
With this win, d’Orlando I believe closes Rowe’s point lead to 9 as he’ll 287 to Rowe’s 296, with Denmark 3rd with 264 – totally unofficially of course.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race #3 Results:
|1||4||Michael d’Orlando||20||LAP 20||1||Cape Motorsports|
|2||23||Jace Denmark||20||3.3923||3||Pabst Racing|
|3||22||Myles Rowe||20||5.7952||2||Pabst Racing|
|4||7||Lochie Hughes||20||9.2965||6||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|5||11||Dylan Christie||20||12.833||5||DEForce Racing|
|6||10||Thomas Nepveu||20||13.5478||8||DEForce Racing|
|7||3||Jagger Jones||20||13.8649||11||Cape Motorsports|
|8||17||Nikita Johnson||20||16.3401||4||VRD Racing|
|9||12||Bijoy Garg||20||17.6376||10||DEForce Racing|
|10||32||Christian Weir||20||18.2416||9||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|11||5||Nicky Hays||20||18.5656||13||Cape Motorsports|
|12||30||Viktor Andersson||20||20.5967||16||VRD Racing|
|13||90||Jacob Douglas||20||26.4309||12||Exclusive Autosport|
|14||92||Billy Frazer||20||29.8805||7||Exclusive Autosport|
|15||6||Evagoras Papasavvas||20||31.4134||20||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|16||8||Danny Dyszelski||20||59.6897||18||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|17||33||Spike Kohlbecker||20||78.0189||14||Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport|
|18||2||Jackson Lee||19||17.7722||19||Cape Motorsports|
|19||9||Jorge Garciarce||19||18.1269||17||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|20||61||Nicholas d’Orlando||2||Mechanical||15||VRD Racing|