LEXINGTON, Ohio – For the second straight season, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing has swept all three wins at the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda tripleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Last year, Nico Jamin won all three races en route to securing the series title, and this past weekend, Australian driver Anthony Martin steered his #8 Burgess BLA / Cape entry to a trio of victories in the series that represents the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
The entire Cape squad added to the team’s impressive results, with Parker Thompson recording a pair of second place finishes. Nikita Lastochkin posted three top-10 finishes (sixth, seventh and eighth), while rookie Jordan Cane finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in the first two races. In all, Cape scored a total of 10 results in the top-10 on the weekend. They also clinched their fifth straight USF2000 Team Championship after Martin and Thompson’s 1-2 finish on Saturday.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more out of the guys at Mid-Ohio,” offered a happy Nicholas and Dominic Cape. “Anthony was perfect all weekend, and the point championship between he and Parker would be even closer if it wasn’t for the fluke puncture that he suffered in Race 1. Nikita was very consistent and Jordan was very strong as well. We’re really looking forward to Mazda Raceway and gunning for our sixth straight series title.”
After posting the fastest laps during Thursday testing, Martin secured the pole position in qualifying by turning a 1:21.0474 during the timed session. Thompson was just over two tenths back in second, making it an all-Cape front row for the opening race, while Lastochkin and Cane were ninth and tenth, respectively.
The opening 30-minute race on Friday went as planned for Martin, as he jumped out to an early lead with Thompson close behind. The duo pulled away to fight it put amongst themselves, but that potential battle was scuttled when Thompson slowed abruptly in Thunder Valley and headed to pit lane midway through the race with a flat tire, which was the result of a fluke puncture. Parker would swap out for a new tire and rejoin the race at the tail of the field, but he was officially classified in 17th. Martin would charge forward to an unchallenged victory, while Lastochkin came home a strong sixth ahead of Cane in eighth.
The second race started very much as the first one did, with the Martin-Thompson duo jumping out to the early lead. There was no drama in the Saturday afternoon race, as they ran 1-2 all the way to the checker with Martin scoring a 3.8-second win to take over extend his championship point lead. Lastochkin was once again quick from the start and grabbed a couple of position to finish seventh. Cane followed suit, advancing from 12th to ninth during the 30-minute timed race.
In the final race of the tripleheader, a virtual carbon copy of Race 2 up front, Martin completed his sweep of the weekend, although Thompson pushed him all race long. The two drivers had differing aero set-ups and Parker was just not able to close enough on the long Mid-Ohio straightaway. Lastochkin posted his third top-10 of the weekend with an eighth place result. Cane started 12th and advanced into the top-10, but was given a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact. He would battle back to 14th in the final tally.
There are just two races remaining on the 2016 schedule, with the doubleheader finale just a month away at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9-11. Martin will take a 21-point lead over Thompson to Monterey, as both are in the hunt for the championship and the Mazda scholarship support for Pro Mazda in 2017. Lastochkin sits ninth in points, ahead of the rookie Cane in 12th.
DRIVER PERFORMANCE / QUOTES
MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE – MANSFIELD, OH
JULY 29-31, 2016
ANTHONY MARTIN – USF2000 #8
Qualifying: 1st – 1:21.0474
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “Overall, the weekend at mid-Ohio could not have gone better for me. To be able to take three poles and three wins means a lot for the championship, as I am now in front by 21 points. I know it is far from over, although with only two races left, I will be doing everything I can to put the Burgess BLA car up the front again at Mazda Raceway. The clean sweep at Mid-Ohio would not have been possible without all the boys at Cape Motorsports as they have consistently been giving me a fast car all year. I can’t wait to see what Laguna is going to bring to us!”
PARKER THOMPSON – USF2000 #2
Qualifying: 2nd – 1:21.3187
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 17th
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Race 3: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Driver Quote: “Mid-Ohio was one of the hardest racing weeks I’ve had in my career. At the end of the day, racing is one of the most difficult sports in the world because of the fact that some things are out of the team’s and driver’s control. I came into Mid-Ohio with a 20-point lead, and I left Mid-Ohio with a 21-point deficit after a flat tire in Race 1 and two second place finishes. You can guarantee though that I’ll be coming out swinging at the USF2000 Championship finale in September! I know first hand how fast 20 points can disappear on you. Now I just need some lady luck on my side!”
NIKITA LASTOCHKIN – USF2000 #3
Qualifying: 9th – 1:22.0956
Race 1: Start – 9th / Finish – 6th
Race 2: Start – 9th / Finish – 7th
Race 3: Start – 9th / Finish – 8th
Driver Quote: “It was a pretty consistent weekend for me as far as the races went. In qualifying, I made a mistake on my fast lap which put me quite a few places back considering how tight third through tenth were. I made some good moves in the first two races, and for the third race, we went with a low-aero setup that made things quite interesting. The pace to catch the group in front wasn’t there, so the whole race it was all about keeping the position I had. Now I’m looking forward to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, my favorite track here in the U.S. where it all started for me in racing four years ago. It’s somewhat of a home race, so I’m super excited for it and I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
JORDAN CANE – USF2000 #4
Qualifying: 10th – 1:22.1264
Race 1: Start – 10th / Finish – 8th
Race 2: Start – 14th / Finish – 9th
Race 3: Start – 10th / Finish – 14th
About Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing:
Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing was formed in 2010 as a partnership between two successful racing entities. With leadership from brothers Nicholas and Dominic Cape, and along with Wayne Taylor and his organization in Indianapolis, the team campaigns cars in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The goal of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing is to provide unmatched driver development both on and off the track. It is difficult for a young driver to jump into a professional series and win, regardless of talent. Through coaching and mentoring, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing provides young drivers with as much knowledge of motorsports to become as successful as possible.