CLERMONT, Ind. – Cape Motorsports made its return to the 5/8-mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway oval last week to compete in the Carb Night Classic event ahead of the iconic Indianapolis 500, fielding drivers in both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
In the USF2000 battle, Cape’s rookie driver Kyle Kirkwood dominated the action to score a 1.269-second victory, his third win of the season. The Florida phenom was making his oval competition debut, and after qualifying on the pole, Kirkwood turned in a flawless performance to cap the event in style. With this result, the 19-year-old also extended his lead in the championship standings to 58 points.
“What an awesome month of May for Kyle and our USF2000 boys, everything went to plan,” confirmed Dominic and Nicholas Cape, Cape Motorsports co-owners. “Kyle was really impressive on the oval, both at the Memphis test and the Lucas Oil Raceway event. We’re all really stoked, but we also realize that there’s a long way to go with a lot of good teams and drivers, so we’ll just keep working as hard as we can. We’d like to thanks to Matty Brabham for doing a lot of the set-up work last year, along with Oliver (Askew).”
After pre-event testing at Memphis International Raceway primed Kirkwood to take on the challenge of the Freedom 75, he topped Thursday practice and Fridayafternoon qualifying to take the pole for the main event. In single-car qualifying, Kirkwood ran to two-lap average speed of 98.505 mph to win the pole and lead the 21-car field to the green in the 75-lap race that evening.
Kirkwood quickly jumped to a solid advantage at the green flag, letting his competition battle it out behind him during the early laps as they fell into line. The fast way around the track at Lucas Oil Raceway is the high line just off the concrete wall, and Kirkwood showed his ability to navigate both the precarious high race line when clear track is ahead, and the low and middle grooves to overtake lapped traffic. The Cape crew gave Kirkwood a car that could go where he needed it to go, which made the difference. Two cautions slowed the event for 19 laps, and Kyle handled both restarts perfectly to lead the race unchallenged from start to finish.
Cape Motorsports will now target an upcoming official series test at Road America in mid-June ahead of the sixth and seventh rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda on June 22-24.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY MAZDA
ROUND 5 – MAY 25, 2018
CARB NIGHT CLASSIC COOPER TIRES FREEDOM 75 – CLERMONT, IN
KYLE KIRKWOOD – #8
Qualifying: 1st – 98.505 mph
Race: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “I don’t think our weekend could have gone any better than it did. The car was completely on rails all weekend long, which allowed us to lead every timed session. Not everyone can say they’ve won their first ever oval, so that really adds the cherry on top.”