CLERMONT, Ind. – Cape Motorsports entered the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway with positive momentum, coming off a strong weekend at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis at IMS and a successful test at Memphis International Raceway the week prior.
Oliver Askew and Nikita Lastochkin unloaded with promise, showing good speed, but in the end the results were not quite what they had hoped as the duo recorded a pair of top-10 finishes in sixth and ninth, respectively, at the first oval event on the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. With his result, Askew now sits fifth in the overall series standings, just 33 points out of second. Lastochkin is positioned in ninth after the first seven races of the 2018 season.
“Lucas Oil Raceway Park always has its ups and downs,” offered Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “We had a great test at Memphis and the first three sessions on Friday seemed quite good, especially over longer runs. But come ‘Freedom Friday’, it just wasn’t there for us. Everyone on the team tried really hard and we’ll keep working as hard as we can to get the results we need.”
In qualifying, Askew was hoping to improve on his pace in Thursday testing and practice, but he would end up a surprising eighth with a two-lap average speed of 104.428 mph. Lastochkin timed in ninth, to secure a starting spot on the inside of the fifth row.
In the main event, Askew settled into the groove and ran a mistake-free race to avoid the chaos, coming home with a points-paying sixth place result. While others found themselves involved in incidents that hurt them significantly in the championship battle, Oliver remained focused and patient and rolled his Mazda-scholarship PM-18 into the trailer to reset his target on Road America. Likewise, Lastochkin kept removed from the chaos and finished ninth in the final tally.
The team will now re-focus on road course competition, and will head to Road America in mid-June ahead of the doubleheader weekend in Elkhart Lake, WI on June 22-24.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA – ROUND 7 – MAY 24-25, 2018
FREEDOM 90 – LUCAS OIL RACEWAY – CLERMONT, IN
OLIVER ASKEW – #3
Qualifying: 8th – 104.428 mph
Race: Start – 8th / Finish – 6th
Driver Quote: “The event began well, as we were running within the top-three with competitive lap times in unofficial practice. We came into the weekend with high hopes after having previous success on ovals, but once qualifying and the race came around, I could only find myself fighting for a top-five position. We can only learn from this experience and understand where we have to improve. Now our focus is set towards Road America, where I expect to continue our road course pace from the IMS GP. I’d like to thank my mechanics Will Paul and Jeremy Brawner, also my engineer Dominic Cape and the entire Cape Motorsports team for the continued hard work.
NIKITA LASTOCHKIN – #8
Qualifying: 11th – 103.087 mph
Race: Start – 11th / Finish – 9th
Driver Quote: ““LORP always has been a challenge for me. I can’t say it’s ovals in general, because both Gateway last year and testing this year went fine for me at other tracks. I think it’s just the line that you have to run around this place, all around the corner at the top does not click for me. Thanks to the team, we were able to make me much more comfortable and get up to speed by the end of practice. In qualifying, I was able to put together the two best laps I had completed during all the sessions thus far.
The race was just a struggle for me, as I just could not push the car to the limit consistently. When the leaders came close, I just let them by since I was not a part of that race. Unfortunately, this track is so short that every time I did that, it took huge chunks of time off the lap and the cars behind them came even closer, so there was a snowball effect. In hindsight, I could have pushed my pace and made the leaders find their way around, but it wouldn’t have changed the overall result, top-10 is all I had for this event.”