By Tony DiZinno
Qualifying reports for the pair of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship races are below. The series had a pair of 20-minute sessions on Friday to set the grid for Saturday’s two races, Rounds 9 and 10 of the season, and they had the same polesitter in Michael d’Orlando.
Michael d’Orlando is poised to add to his points lead after banking his seventh career pole position in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship competition.
The driver of the No. 4 Focused Project Management Cape Motorsports Tatuus set a best time of 2:10.7439 around the 4.014-mile Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wis., on the eve of Round 9 of the season. This is Cape’s 10th USF2000 pole at the picturesque facility.
Temps for the second session of the day were 74 ambient and 84 track for the 30-minute window and 20-minute session.
Jace Denmark, who led a test session on Thursday, was the early pacesetter in his No. 23 Pabst Racing entry at 2:10.8503. Billy Frazer was second ahead of Myles Rowe, d’Orlando and Trey Burke. Frazer also dipped into the 2:10 bracket early on, before a brief off and recovery at Turn 5.
With five minutes remaining in the session, d’Orlando jumped to the top with his eventual pole time ahead of Denmark and Frazer.
Some changes occurred behind them as drivers bolted on fresh sets of Cooper Tires slicks with Jagger Jones moving up to fourth ahead of Rowe in fifth. Dylan Christie was sixth, best of the DEForce entries, with series debutante Nikita Johnson in seventh for Velocity Racing Development, Burke a still impressive eighth in the single-car Joe Dooling Autosports entry, Bijoy Garg ninth and Joey Brienza 10th. The late movement bumped Jackson Lee down to 11th; Lee was poised for a top-six starting position before the last few minutes.
Of note, Thomas Nepveu struggled in this session and was only 14th, slowest of the three DEForce cars.
USF2000 Cooper Tires GP of Road America – Race #1 Qualifying
|1||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||2:10.7439||2:10.7439||8|
|2||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||2:10.8503||0.1064||9|
|3||92||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||2:10.8820||0.1381||8|
|4||3||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||2:11.0223||0.2784||7|
|5||22||Myles Rowe||Pabst Racing||2:11.1617||0.4178||9|
|6||11||Dylan Christie||DEForce Racing||2:11.2484||0.5045||5|
|7||17||Nikita Johnson||VRD Racing||2:11.2758||0.5319||8|
|8||63||Trey Burke||Joe Dooling Autosports||2:11.3012||0.5573||7|
|9||12||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||2:11.3080||0.5641||5|
|10||91||Joey Brienza||Exclusive Autosport||2:11.4045||0.6606||8|
|11||2||Jackson Lee||Cape Motorsports||2:11.4562||0.7123||6|
|12||8||Danny Dyszelski||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:11.5060||0.7621||8|
|13||9||Jorge Garciarce||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:11.5145||0.7706||7|
|14||10||Thomas Nepveu||DEForce Racing||2:11.6852||0.9413||6|
|15||32||Christian Weir||Turn 3 Motorsport||2:11.8293||1.0854||7|
|16||33||Spike Kohlbecker||Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport||2:11.9869||1.2430||8|
|17||5||Nicky Hays||Cape Motorsports||2:12.1040||1.3601||6|
|18||61||Nicholas d’Orlando||VRD Racing||2:12.2764||1.5325||8|
|19||90||Jacob Douglas||Exclusive Autosport||2:12.2930||1.5491||8|
|20||6||Evagoras Papasavvas||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:12.5007||1.7568||7|
|21||30||Viktor Andersson||VRD Racing||2:12.7382||1.9943||7|
Temps rose from 74/84 this morning for Q1 to 78 ambient and 101 track for Q2 this afternoon, which sets the grid for the second race of the weekend.
Most of the field ran in formation for out laps and first completed laps, and with the higher temps the times dropped a bit into the 2:12 bracket. Nearing the halfway mark of the session, Billy Frazer was first into the 2:11 number ahead of Bijoy Garg, Christian Weir, Jorge Garciarce and Thomas Nepveu. Race 1 polesitter Michael d’Orlando was sixth. Pabst teammates Myles Rowe and Jace Denmark were down in 19th and 20th.
Drivers took the opportunity to pit for fresh sets of Cooper Tires sticker tires after completing three laps.
Frazer maintained the top spot ahead of Jagger Jones, Garg and Nepveu with Nikita Johnson up to fifth.
That was until d’Orlando uncorked a 2:11.1374 lap on his sixth lap to go fastest with Denmark jumping up to second ahead of Frazer.
Frazer slowed on the front straight just past start/finish with less than two minutes to go.
There were no further changes and d’Orlando grabbed his eighth pole of his USF2000 career and Cape’s 11th at this circuit in the series. Denmark will start second ahead of Frazer, Johnson and Rowe in the top five. Jones was sixth, with Garg, Brienza, Nepveu and Dyszelski in the top 10.
USF2000 Cooper Tires GP of Road America – Race #2 Qualifying
|1||4||Michael d’Orlando||Cape Motorsports||2:11.1192||2:11.1192||8|
|2||23||Jace Denmark||Pabst Racing||2:11.3486||0.2294||7|
|3||92||Billy Frazer||Exclusive Autosport||2:11.4272||0.3080||7|
|4||17||Nikita Johnson||VRD Racing||2:11.4507||0.3315||8|
|5||22||Myles Rowe||Pabst Racing||2:11.4835||0.3643||8|
|6||3||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||2:11.5140||0.3948||6|
|7||12||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||2:11.5259||0.4067||8|
|8||91||Joey Brienza||Exclusive Autosport||2:11.5608||0.4416||8|
|9||10||Thomas Nepveu||DEForce Racing||2:11.6604||0.5412||8|
|10||8||Danny Dyszelski||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:11.7046||0.5854||8|
|11||9||Jorge Garciarce||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:11.8929||0.7737||7|
|12||11||Dylan Christie||DEForce Racing||2:11.8972||0.7780||7|
|13||5||Nicky Hays||Cape Motorsports||2:11.9724||0.8532||7|
|14||2||Jackson Lee||Cape Motorsports||2:12.0636||0.9444||7|
|15||63||Trey Burke||Joe Dooling Autosports||2:12.0729||0.9537||7|
|16||6||Evagoras Papasavvas||Jay Howard Driver Development||2:12.1645||1.0453||6|
|17||33||Spike Kohlbecker||Turn 3 Motorsport w/Ignite Autosport||2:12.2627||1.1435||7|
|18||32||Christian Weir||Turn 3 Motorsport||2:12.2869||1.1677||8|
|19||30||Viktor Andersson||VRD Racing||2:12.4632||1.3440||8|
|20||61||Nicholas d’Orlando||VRD Racing||2:12.7384||1.6192||8|
|21||90||Jacob Douglas||Exclusive Autosport||2:12.7499||1.6307||8|
Past Road America USF2000 Winners
Cape Motorsports has 14 prior Road America USF2000 wins. Pabst Racing is next up with five.
Of other teams competing in 2022, DEForce Racing and Jay Howard Driver Development have also won here. Howard has won here as both a driver and an owner.
|2021 Race #2||Thomas Nepveu||Cape Motorsports||7|
|2021 Race #1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||1|
|2020 Race #2||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1|
|2020 Race #1||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1|
|2019 Race #2||Braden Eves||Cape Motorsports||2|
|2019 Race #1||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||3|
|2018 Race #2||Kyle Kirkwood||Cape Motorsports||4|
|2018 Race #1||Kyle Kirkwood||Cape Motorsports||2|
|2017 Race #2||Rinus VeeKay||Pabst Racing||1|
|2017 Race #1||Rinus VeeKay||Pabst Racing||3|
|2016 Race #2||Anthony Martin||Cape Motorsports||1|
|2016 Race #1||Anthony Martin||Cape Motorsports||1|
|2012 Race #3||Scott Anderson||Belardi Auto Racing||1|
|2012 Race #2||Matthew Brabham||Cape Motorsports||1|
|2012 Race #1||Matthew Brabham||Cape Motorsports||3|
|2011 Race #2||Petri Suvanto||Cape Motorsports||3|
|2011 Race #1||Spencer Pigot||Andretti Autosport||1|
|2010 Race #2||Sage Karam||Andretti Autosport||1|
|2010 Race #1||Sage Karam||Andretti Autosport||1|
|2006 Race #2||J.R. Hildebrand||Cape Motorsports||13|
|2006 Race #1||Dane Cameron||Cape Motorsports||3|
|2005 Race #2||Jay Howard||Aiken Racing||8|
|2005 Race #1||Joey Foster||Cape Motorsports||2|
|2004 Race #2||Bobby Wilson||Cape Motorsports||1|
|2004 Race #1||Adam Pecorari||Andersen Racing||1|
|2003 Race #2||Charlie Kimball||PR1 Motorsports||2|
|2003 Race #1||Charlie Kimball||PR1 Motorsports||2|
|2001 Race #2||Tonis Kasemets||Pabst Racing||1|
|2001 Race #1||Tonis Kasemets||Pabst Racing||2|
|2000 Race #2||Marc-Antoine Camirand||Key Motorsports||1|
|2000 Race #1||Aaron Justus||Cape Motorsports||2|
|1993||Chris Simmons||SOTARE Racing||1|