LEXINGTON, Ohio – Cape Motorsports set up shop at the popular Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past weekend, competing in both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda components of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. The iconic team secured its eighth straight USF2000 championship on Friday with young American driver Kyle Kirkwood, and they paired that feat with three top-10s, including a podium finish, in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Reigning USF2000 champion Oliver Askew steered his Soul Red #3 Mazda Scholarship Tatuus PM-18 to a pair of top-six finishes, which were highlighted by a strong third in Race 2 on Sunday. It was Askew’s third podium of the season. Nikita Lastochkin started off strongly in Thursday and Friday practice, then worked hard to find lost pace as he worked back to finishes of 11th and eighth to complete the weekend.
“Overall, it was a great effort put in by everyone, capped off with a podium finish in Race 2,” commented Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “We had really good race pace and our boys moved forward in both races with both having aggressive starts, at a track that is so hard to pass on, so they both did a splendid job. We are looking forward to going to Gateway and Portland.”
The Cape Motorsports’ Pro Mazda duo worked through three Thursday test sessions and a single Friday morning practice on the ever-changing Mid-Ohio layout, preparing for the weekend’s doubleheader. Askew qualified sixth for the first race while Lastochkin was 13th. In the opening race, Askew held his position through the initial laps while working to get past Canadian Parker Thompson.
With Oliver and Parker being very evenly matched, both turning their fastest race laps at 1:16.77, Askew could not get into position to make a move and he would take sixth in the final classification as he crossed under the checkered flag just over a second behind Thompson. Lastochkin advanced two spots by the end of the 25-lap race and he eventually has his target locked onto Kris Wright to fight for the final position in the top-10, finishing less than a second behind.
In the second race of the doubleheader weekend, Askew started on the outside of the third row in sixth and he then took full advantage of an action-packed opening lap. Oliver advanced quickly to fourth when Thompson went off-track in turn two, just before Carlos Cuhna was punted off at the end of the backstraight, opening the door for another spot.
With open track in front of him, Oliver now set out after Robert Megennis for third. He wouldn’t need to battle Megennis for the final step on the podium, as the leader dropped out of the race on lap seven, advancing both drivers onto the podium. A late-race caution tightened the field back up, and Oliver then needed to hold off the challenges of Sting Ray Robb to score his third podium finish of the season. Lastochkin started 11th and move to ninth after the opening lap incidents, and would take eighth in the final tally.
The Pro Mazda schedule now takes the team to the second and final oval race of the 2018 season. Cape Motorsports, Askew and Lastochkin will head to Gateway Motorsports Park on the August 24-25 weekend for a Friday-Saturday event. The season finale will take place one week later at Portland International Raceway in Oregon.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA – ROUNDS 12-13 – JULY 27-29, 2018
MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE – LEXINGTON, OHIO
OLIVER ASKEW – #3
Qualifying 1: 6th – 1:16.093
Qualifying 2: 6th – 1:15.299
Race 1: Start – 6th / Finish – 6th
Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 3rd
Driver Quote: “Overall, I was happy with the weekend. Despite not finishing where we would ultimately like to, I think our group put forth another fantastic effort and I am once again proud of the team’s hard work. Finishing third on Sunday was much needed, and I was happy with my drive in both races. Thanks again to Cape Motorsports and our supporters; Mazda Racing, Doug Mockett and Co., Bell Helmets, Sparco USA, and Young Adventurers.”
NIKITA LASTOCHKIN – PRO MAZDA #8
Qualifying 1: 13th – 1:13.414
Qualifying 2: 9th –
Race 1: Start – 14th / Finish – 11th
Race 2: Start – 9th / Finish – 8th
Driver Quote: ““It has been a tough weekend that started off with good pace on Thursday, but with the track changing constantly, we seemed to struggle to keep up with that on Friday. Both of my races began with clean starts with few positions gained and the goal for me was to learn as much as possible while maximizing the result. Everyone on the team gave me great support and confidence and I’m looking forward to finish the season off on a high.”