LEXINGTON, Ohio – Cape Motorsports has enjoyed an extremely successful history at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course over the years, and the team extended their winning ways on the 2.239-mile, 13-turn track this past weekend as American phenom Kyle Kirkwood swept the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda tripleheader.
In the process, the 19-year-old also clinched the 2018 title with four races remaining, have accumulated enough points with his win in the weekend’s opening race to close out the championship. Kirkwood’s three victories on the weekend stretched the team’s winning streak to nine races, and a total of 10 wins on the season. The championship is Cape Motorsports’ eighth straight USF2000 crown.
“What a weekend, and what an incredible feeling for Kyle and our team, everyone put so much effort into this program and to think it was a last-minute deal its fantastic,” exclaimed Dominic Cape, co-owner of Cape Motorsports. “We always believed that Kyle could do it, he is such a talented lad. We want to offer a huge thank you to the people involved with this program, because without them, it would not have happened. To win our eighth straight championship, and 12th in total, is something we don’t take lightly. It’s humbling what people say about the achievement, and the victories and titles fuel our passion.”
“Our group of guys are fantastic and the effort they put in is second to none,” added Nicholas Cape, echoing the sentiments of his brother. “We are so proud of everyone. Obviously, we would like to thank Anderson Promotions, Mazda, Elite Engines, and Cooper Tires for everything they do to promote the drivers and the teams. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world; their professionalism is unrivaled.”
In the opening race of the tripleheader, Kirkwood started on the pole and led from the green flag, staying well clear of the chaos that erupted behind him. Four different incidents fueled full course cautions, and Kyle handled each ensuing restart to score his seventh win of the season. Lap one contact between Kaylen Frederick and Rasmus Lindh gave Kyle the opportunity to clinch the series championship on the opening day of competition, as Kyle had amassed a point total that could not be topped by any of his competition. This represents the team’s eighth straight driver title in the nine-year history of the official Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Kirkwood qualified on the outside of the front row for Race 2, which was held on Saturday, and he outgunned Frederick on the run through the opening corner, assuming the outright lead when the polesitter locked up his fronts and drove off track in the Keyhole (Turn 2). Through a pair of caution periods and restarts, Kyle would not be challenged, crossing the line with a 5.716-second advantage to log his eighth with of the campaign.
The final race of the weekend was held on Sunday morning, in front of an increasingly packed crowd that was prepping for the IndyCar drivers to take to the track. Following an early race melee involving three cars, Kirkwood pulled away on the restart and stretched his advantage over the next 18 laps to win by 6.101 seconds, while also posting the fastest lap of the race. This impressive performance of speed and consistency notched Kirkwood his ninth win and has positioned him 181 points ahead of his closest competition heading to the series finale.
With the championship now secured, Kirkwood will turn his focus on the last weekend of the 2018 schedule on Labor Day weekend at Portland International Raceway. The event will cap Kirkwood’s first season in the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, and he and the team will celebrate their accomplishments at the season-ending MRTI Awards Banquet on the Monday evening following the race weekend.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTE
USF2000 – ROUNDS 10-11-12 – JULY 27-29, 2018
MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE – LEXINGTON, OHIO
KYLE KIRKWOOD – #8
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:20.552
Qualifying 2: 2nd – 1.20.667
Qualifying 3: 2nd – 1.21.381
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
“What can I say…we’ve had another amazing weekend. The Cape Motorsports crew and I just keep proving more and more every weekend. This has been the best season of my 15-year career and to see it close will be a little disappointing, but I can’t wait to see what we’ll have in store for next season! Our momentum keeps growing and we’re truly family now with these past two seasons of seemingly non-stop perfect finishes.”