PORTLAND, ORE. – Cape Motorsports capped its season in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in victory lane at the end of both days of competition at Portland International Raceway, taking a win and a third-place finish with rising American talent Oliver Askew on the September 1-2 weekend.
These results advanced Askew to a stellar third in the final championship standings thanks to a strong run through the final four weekends of the season. Askew carded six top-five finishes over the seven-race stretch, including four podiums and a victory.
Nikita Lastochkin advanced into the top-five in Portland as well, taking fourth in the final race of the year. These efforts will also cap Cape Motorsports’ Pro Mazda participation for the foreseeable future, as they have sold their cars and will focus entirely on a three-car effort in the USF2000 program next year as they gun for an unprecedented ninth straight driver championship.
“Portland was just the weekend we needed, admitted Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “Oliver, Nikita and all the guys worked extremely hard from the get-go, as we have come to expect. We are very proud of the body of work the drivers and crew have put in all year with their never-ending quest for race wins and podiums. The team was duly rewarded with Oliver’s win in the penultimate round, setting the stage for the final race of the season on Sunday. Rounding out the season with a fine finish for the team as a group, in third and fourth, was solid. We can’t thank our drivers and crew enough for a great 2018 season.”
Askew and Lastochkin hit the track on Thursday for two test sessions on the 1.964-mile, 12-turn Pacific Northwest circuit. Oliver took to the track quickly and was up top at the end of Thursday’s sessions, and he maintained this momentum by qualifying second for Race 1 on Friday. In the race itself, Askew moved aggressively to the lead on the opening lap and took control from there, going flag-to-flag to score a 1.348-second win over series champion Rinus VeeKay. It was Askew’s first Pro Mazda triumph, having scored seven victories with Cape Motorsports last year enroute to the 2017 USF2000 title. In Race 2, Askew got through the opening corners cleanly and slotted into third. He held station for the remainder of the event to score his fourth straight top-five and fifth podium finish of the season.
Lastochkin’s races were both characterized by having to avoid first turn chaos. In Race 1, he was forced off-track and needed to take the Festival Curve escape route, and from there, he drove to seventh. In Race 2, he was again left with no choice but to steer clear issues ahead of him. This time, he got through the opening corners cleanly and brought up a strong fourth place finish.
With the season in the rearview mirrors and the team now prepping for the upcoming Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, the Cape brothers have elected to re-focus all of their efforts on the USF2000 operation and will withdraw from the Pro Mazda program for the foreseeable future. The team is expecting to run as many as three USF-17s on the first rung of the Road to Indy program in 2019.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA – ROUNDS 15-16 – SEPTEMBER 1-2, 2018
PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY – PORTLAND, OR
OLIVER ASKEW – #3
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:06.4202
Qualifying 2: 3rd – 1:06.2530
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 3rd / Finish – 3rd
Driver Quote: “To end the season like we did with a win and a podium with the most points scored on the weekend was awesome, it doesn’t get much better than that. Our goal was to secure third in the championship and that’s exactly what we did. I’d like to thank everyone at Cape Motorsports for always believing in me and for always pushing towards the ultimate goal, no matter what the circumstance.”
NIKITA LASTOCHKIN – PRO MAZDA #8
Qualifying 1: 8th – 1:08.1303
Qualifying 2: 7th – 1:06.9735
Race 1: Start – 8th / Finish – 7th
Race 2: Start – 7th / Finish – 4th
Driver Quote: “Portland started off with good pace at the end of Thursday. Unfortunately, both qualifying attempts were hampered by issues. The races were somewhat lonely, where avoiding the accidents at the start made for big gaps to the lead pack. With the season being over, I would like to thank Dominic and Nicholas, as well as everyone on the Cape Motorsports team.”