By Steve Wittich
Cape Motorsports veteran, Michael d’Orlando, needs all 66 points on offer to have an opportunity to erase a 49 points gap to points leader Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing).
The 19-year-old from Hartsdale, NY, turned a lap of 80.1824 seconds, breaking a nine-year-old track record set by another Cape Motorsports driver, Matthew Brabham, in 2012.
The pole is d’Orlando’s fourth of the season and his third in a row.
The pole is the 29th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Cape Motorsports.
Starting on the outside of d’Orlando, who also turned a lap below the track record, is Pabst Racing veteran Yuven Sundaramoorthy.
Hyperco Rookie Of The Year candidate Jace Denmark will start inside the second row beside DEForce Racing veteran Prescott Campbell.
Championship leader Kiko Porto will start on the outside of row three.
The top ten were all within a half-second of pole winner d’Orlando.
After an early morning practice, the 22 USF2000 entries had 155-minutes to prepare for the penultimate qualifying session.
Pabst Racing rookie Jace Denmark led the first practice, but the top four drivers were within a tenth-of-a second, making a mistake-free lap paramount to a good starting spot.
Early in the session, Sundaramoorthy was the quickest driver, but with 11-minutes remaining in the 20-minute session, d’Orlando, who needs every point he can get, went to the provisional pole.
d’Orlando’s lap of 80.7415 seconds led the way at the halfway point of the session, but once again, things were close, with Denmark, Campbell, Siegel, and Sundaramoorthy all within a tenth-of-a-second of the Cape Motorsports veteran.
Championship leader Porto was the seventh quickest driver at the halfway point of qualifying for Race #1.
Many drivers came to pit road for a fresh set of Cooper Tire slicks and adjustments before returning to the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course to try and improve on the best lap time.
The top five remained static for the next five minutes, with Sundaramoorthy improving on his best lap, going to four-hundredths of a second of d’Orlando with five minutes remaining.
On his next lap, the Pabst Racing veteran went even quicker on his seventh lap of qualifying, getting to within a quarter second of the nine-year-old track record.
Porto spent most of the session floating around tenth before jumping up to second with three minutes remaining, but positions in the top ten changed as each driver crossed the timing line.
With one minute remaining in qualifying, Matthew Brabham’s nine-year-old USF2000 track record fell when a driver the series champion is coaching, d’Orlando, turned a lap below the 80.250-second track record set in August 2012.
Sundaramoorthy, who was looking for his fourth pole of the season, also went below the track record, with a lap that was only 0.0618 seconds off d’Orlando.
Championship note: If d’Orlando outscores Porto by 17 points in Race #1, the championship will be decided on Sunday. If Porto is within 16 points of d’Orlando in Race #1, the Brazilian gets the $401,305 scholarship.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by VP Stay Frosty Qualifying #1
|1||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||1:20.1824||——|
|2||22||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||1:20.2442||0.0618|
|3||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||1:20.2845||0.1021|
|4||11||Prescott Campbell||DEForce Racing||1:20.3839||0.2015|
|5||33||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:20.4775||0.2951|
|6||12||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1:20.5068||0.3244|
|7||10||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||1:20.5199||0.3375|
|8||24||Josh Pierson||Pabst Racing||1:20.5645||0.3821|
|9||2||Thomas Nepveu||Cape Motorsports||1:20.6546||0.4722|
|10||99||Myles Rowe||Force Indy||1:20.6576||0.4752|
|11||5||Spike Kohlbecker||Ignite Autosports w/Cape Motorsports||1:20.7136||0.5312|
|12||32||Christian Weir||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:20.9013||0.7189|
|13||34||Dylan Christie||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:20.9648||0.7824|
|14||1||Ely Navarro||DEForce Racing||1:21.1818||0.9994|
|15||3||Evan Stamer||Ignite Autosports w/Cape Motorsports||1:21.2432||1.0608|
|16||6||Bijoy Garg||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.3509||1.1685|
|17||19||Andre Castro||Legacy Autosport||1:21.4259||1.2435|
|18||8||Jackson Lee||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:21.4974||1.3150|
|19||91||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||1:21.5977||1.4153|
|20||16||Kent Vaccaro||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:21.7585||1.5761|
|21||63||Trey Burke||Joe Dooling Autosports||1:22.2609||2.0785|
|22||42||Michael Myers||Michael Myers Racing||1:22.3057||2.1233|
The remainder of the USF2000 weekend schedule is as follows
Saturday, October 2
- 3:50pm – 4:30pm – USF2000 Race #1
Sunday, October 3
- 8am – 8:30am – USF2000 Qualifying #2
- 11am – 11:40am – USF2000 Race #2
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