TORONTO, ONT. Canada – Cape Motorsports is once again marching towards the prestigious title in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda this year, as American Kyle Kirkwood continues to dominate the series’ action.
Coming into the event on a four-race winning streak, Kirkwood was masterful on the challenging street circuit in Toronto this past weekend, taking both ends of the doubleheader on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary course. Despite hot and humid conditions, and multiple incidents throughout the event, Kirkwood emerged from the chaos to extend his lead in the championship as he pushed his victory run to six races.
The streak started in the second race at the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, and includes the Freedom 75 oval event at Lucas Oil Raceway, and sweeps of the races at Road America and Toronto. This success has provided the 19-year-old with a 131-point lead heading to Mid-Ohio at the end of the month.
“What a great weekend! It was a typical Toronto street fight from beginning to end, and with qualifying coming down to track position on the final laps, as always, you win some and you lose some,” offered Dominic and Nicholas Cape, the sibling duo at Cape Motorsports. “The first race was won on the first lap with some tenacity by Kyle, and then it was a real knock-down drag-out fight for the second win. It was another fantastic job by Kyle and the lads.”
Kirkwood was quickest out of the gate in Friday practice, laying down a lap of 1:13.284 to set the early pace. Kyle continued to improve in qualifying for Race 1, turning the quickest of the session, although a penalty for not slowing enough for a yellow flag cost him his fast lap and dropped him to third. Kirkwood was fifth fastest in qualifying for Race 2, after a late flurry of fast laps by many of the series competitors.
Just before the noon hour on Saturday, Kirkwood started the first USF2000 race of the weekend on the inside of row two, and he wasted little time in moving to the front, passing polesitter Dakota Dickerson heading into the opening corner right after the green flag. Once into the lead, Kirkwood ran away to the race win as he only needed to defend his position during one early-race restart. Kyle held a strong advantage into the final circuits of the 20-lap contest, but the cushion would not be needed as a late-race caution for a driver stuck in the turn eight tire wall resulted in the race being checkered under yellow.
The team came back for more on Sunday, with Kirkwood starting on the inside of row three. A massive incident in at the end of the back straight into turn three on the first lap collected the top four cars and opened the door for Kirkwood to slip through to take the lead, and he showed his maturity to avoid the melee and emerge in P1. On the restart, Kyle was quickly passed by Igor Fraga and would then pressure his competitor for the next 11 laps before re-taking the point with just eight laps remaining. Kirkwood set off into the sunset from there, winning by 1.112 seconds.
Cape Motorsports and Kirkwood now take a decisive 131-point lead into the final two events of the season, which feature five races. The team is now in the paddock at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for an official series test on Wednesday and Thursday, and they will be back at the track on July 29-31 for a tripleheader weekend in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series. The season will come to a close on the Labor Day weekend at Portland International Raceway, where Kirkwood will aim to win Cape Motorsports their eighth consecutive USF2000 championship.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTE
USF2000 – ROUNDS 8-9 – JULY 13-15, 2018
INDY TORONTO – TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
KYLE KIRKWOOD – #8
Qualifying 1: 3rd – 1:12.780
Qualifying 2: 5th – 1:11.223
Race 1: Start – 3rd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “This weekend pretty much mirrored Road America. That being said, we weren’t perfect in qualifying but our race pace was amazing. We really did have to work hard for this weekend’s double-win, but that’s what made this Toronto Indy one of our best. Our momentum just keeps growing race by race and with Mid-Ohio just around the corner, which is my favorite track and the track I have most experience at, I think we are in a great position to clinch the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship races before the season finale in Portland.”