TORONTO, Ontario, Canada – The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda entered its stretch run this past weekend on the streets of Toronto, as Cape Motorsports headed north to Canada for a doubleheader weekend on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit at Exhibition Place. The team’s lead driver Oliver Askew entered the event with the point lead coming off a big win on the banked oval at Iowa Speedway the weekend prior, and a strong second place run in the first race in Toronto extended his advantage in the championship. The second race of the weekend was not so fruitful, as Askew could not escape a wreck between the race leaders while running third, get caught up in the carnage to put a disappointing DNF on his record.
With two weekends and four races still to be run in the championship, Askew holds a solid 18-point lead in the title chase. Askew’s teammate Ricky Donison was late getting to the circuit on Thursday and was on the back foot from the off, struggling to come to grips with the bumpy streets of Toronto. During Race #1, he suffered a spin in turn eight and made light contact with the wall. Ricky decided to sit out Race #2 because he didn’t want to take a chance on any more damage, and he will now re-focus on the next event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at the end of the month.”
“Street races are tough, and Oliver turned in a really good result in the opening race to finish second, which stretched his point lead,” offered Dominic and Nicholas Cape, team owners. “But he was simply unlucky in the second race when the leaders decided to beat on each other during the first half of the race. They took each other out and Oliver had nowhere to go. It’s a shame, certainly, but we’ll come back at Mid-Ohio.”
As he has been all year, Askew was quick in the opening practice session on Friday morning, approaching the slippery temporary circuit like a seasoned pro, coming up to speed quickly as he became comfortable with the layout. It was his first time running the Toronto track, and he ended the morning session in second overall, behind veteran series driver Parker Thompson who had competed in the event during the previous two seasons.
The individual qualifying sessions for the weekend’s two races went well. Askew was second to Thompson for Race 1, and then topped the charts for Race 2 to secure the pole position for the backend of the doubleheader, adding an important bonus point to his championship total, as well.
The first race, held on Saturday afternoon, went caution-free as Askew chased Thompson from start-to-finish, taking second by less than a second. Sunday’s race was decidedly more eventful. Oliver led early but eventually slotted into third behind Alex Baron and David Malukas, two drivers who are running limited schedules and are not in the championship battle. These two competitors were taking unnecessary risks early in the 30-minute race, fighting for the lead, as Askew sat patiently in third.
Eventually, on lap nine, they made contact at the end of the long Lakeshore Boulevard backstraight and took each other out as they exited turn three. Oliver was following closely, and simply had nowhere to go as he was caught in their mistake. Askew was able to bring the car back to pit lane, and the Cape Motorsports crew removed the damaged wing to get him back out on the lead lap during the caution. They could not, however, get a new wing on in time before the race went back to green and once down a lap, the team and Oliver elected to park the car and took a 12th in the final results.
DRIVER PERFORMANCE / QUOTES
COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY MAZDA
EVENT #6 – JULY 14-16, 2017
TORONTO INDY – TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
OLIVER ASKEW – USF2000 #3
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:12.885
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:12.291
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 12th
Driver Quote: “Overall, I think this weekend was very positive. We stamped our authority on this championship once again. Unfortunately, we got caught up in someone else’s incident in the second race. I’ve already moved on and I’m now completely focused on dominating Mid-Ohio. Big thanks once again to Cape Motorsports for all their hard work.”
RICKY DONISON – USF2000 #2
Qualifying 1: 17th – 1:52.7582
Qualifying 2: 17th – 1:20.3666
Race 1: Start – 17th / Finish – 16th
Race 2: Start – DNS / Finish – DNS