INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The momentum within the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship continues in the favor of Cape Motorsports, as the eight-time series champions extended their Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires win streak to four races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend.
Ohio’s Braden Eves came into the road course event as the point leader thanks to his weekend sweep in St, Petersburg in March, and the 20-year old did not let off the throttle, qualifying on pole for both races of the doubleheader. Eves then leveraged those starting spots to record his third and fourth wins of the year.
Teammate Darren Keane turned in a tremendous weekend of recovery, bouncing back from his issues in St. Pete to score a sixth in the opening race and a strong second in Race 2, bringing him back into the title chase. Cape’s young 14-year-old rookie Reece Gold logged crucial experience on the track’s challenging 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, finishing both races in the top-15, further developing his racecraft.
“We are really proud of all the hard work and dedication everyone on the team has put in,” commented Dominic and Nicholas Cape, the co-owners of the powerhouse team. “The first race at IMS in 2018 was the last race we didn’t win, which was 12 months and 15 races ago, and this weekend’s sweep is a true testimony to hard work and a true fighting spirit our team brings every weekend. Four race wins in a row for Braden is a great accomplishment against the quality of the current teams and drivers. Darren got his season off and running with a hard fought second place in Race 2, and Reece is battling in every race and improving his race craft and speed. We’re looking forward to hitting the oval for the Carb Night Classic and it should be another really hard fought weekend with the field being so tight in testing.”
Eves topped every official session at IMS, earning the pole for Race 1 by just 0.040 seconds over Keane. The Gahanna, Ohio resident kept it going in qualifying for Race 2 as Keane was once again second quick, to give Cape Motorsports the lockout of the front row for both events on the doubleheader. Gold continued to build up his pace all weekend, qualifying 19th for Race 1 and 16th for Race 2.
The opening race of the weekend on Friday went green for all 15 laps, and Eves pulled quickly into the lead and then held off the challenges of Pabst Racing’s Hunter McIlrea to score his third straight win of the season. Keane got a good launch at the start but was hit from behind on the entry into turn one, dropping him to the tail of the field. Darren put his head down and carved his way back to sixth to score crucial points. Gold navigated his way through the opening corner chaos and finished the race in 14th after starting 19th.
Eves and Keane quickly slotted into first and second for the second race of the doubleheader, getting through the opening corner cleanly. Three different caution periods slowed the action and both drivers managed the restarts to hold the top two spots through to the checkered flag. Keane was pressured non-stop by McIlrea, but never put a wheel wrong. Gold again advanced from his starting position to score a weekend-best 12th in the final tally.
Eves’ sweep of the IndyCar Grand Prix weekend events have extended his point lead to 33 over McElrea. Keane’s weekend was a much-needed recovery after his issues in St. Petersburg and the his performances have vaulted him to a tie for third in the championship standings. Gold is now part of a three-way tie for 10th.
Cape Motorsports and its driver trio tested at the 5/8 mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway oval on Monday to prepare for the Carb Night Classic Freedom 75 on May 24.
CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
USF2000 – ROUNDS 3/4 – MAY 9-11, 2019
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – INDIANAPOLIS, IN
DARREN KEANE – #2
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:24.760
Qualifying 2: 2nd – 1:24.643
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 6th
Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Driver Quote: “The weekend was a very positive one. We came away with some good points despite some bad luck at the start of race one. I’m very happy to finish on the podium for the first time this year, and I’m going to fight to stay there for the rest of the season. This weekend also gives me more confidence and momentum to challenge for the win in coming races. Huge thanks to my family and friends for their support, as well as Cape Motorsport and Ozz Negri.”
REECE GOLD – #3
Qualifying 1: 19th – 1:25.964
Qualifying 2: 16th – 1:25.530
Race 1: Start – 19th / Finish – 14th
Race 2: Start – 16th / Finish – 12th
Driver Quote: “Overall, it was an ‘OK’ weekend at IMS. I made mistakes in qualifying which set us back for the race and I was then only able to make up a couple spots. But it was awesome to be racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.”
BRADEN EVES – #8
Qualifying 1: 1st – 1:24.719
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:24.539
Race 1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “It was a wonderful weekend spent at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. I was reflecting a lot on my driving in the large amount of time in between St Pete and Indy and, in hindsight, I feel I was ready to go when I got there. I’m super stoked to come out with a perfect weekend, a larger points lead, and more experience under my belt. Now it’s time to take a 180 and head to Lucas Oil Raceway for my first oval race. I really enjoyed my first oval test at New Smyrna. so it should be fun! As always, I’ll be heading in with the championship in mind, and looking to get a good result and to keep it clean!”