Cape Motorsports Drivers Fill Top 10 in Portland
 September 6, 2019| 
  • Team News
Cape-USF-Portland-Eves

PORTLAND, Ore. – Cape Motorsports took to the track at Portland International Raceway this past weekend and walked away with two podiums, four top-fives and six top-10 finishes from their quartet of drivers in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

Ohio’s Braden Eves posted a pair of runner-up finishes to set up a title battle at the series finale later in the month, while Florida’s Darren Keane capped the weekend with two fifth-place finishes to take hold of third in the overall standings. The team added 14-year-old Jak Crawford at Mid-Ohio in late July and the Texan had his best weekend of the year in Portland, running in the top-10 in every official session. Crawford qualified in the top-five for both races and carded two sixth-place finishes. Reece Gold, the team’s second 14-year-old driver, finished 12th and 11th in the doubleheader events and now sits ninth in the series standings.

“Portland was a really good weekend for the team as a group,” commented Dominic and Nicholas Cape, team owners. “Braden had two really solid qualifying sessions and races, Darren raced really well, Jak did a really good job all weekend and Reece is improving in every session. It was a positive weekend for the team. The championship will go down to the final two races and we intend to work as hard as we can until the checker waves in Laguna’s Race 2. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in motorsports, it’s never over until the fat lady sings."

The entire Cape Motorsports quartet sat within the top-12 in Friday practice, led by Eves in second, and when qualifying for Race 1 was completed, Eves had locked his spot on the front row. Crawford posted his best qualifying effort of the year in fourth, while Keane and Gold were seventh and 11th, respectively. Eves kept up his pace to qualify second for Race 2, while Crawford and Keane were again evenly matched, timing in fifth and sixth. Gold improved his starting position for the second race of the doubleheader, qualifying 10th.

In the opening race, held on Saturday, Eves slotted quickly into second position and he would hold that spot for the entire 25 laps enroute to the second step on the podium. Crawford began the race in fifth and then took fourth from Colin Kaminsky in turn nine. Keane initially held station in seventh but he would move forward in the late going, passing Manual Suliaman first on lap 20 with a great move to the inside of turn one. Two laps later, Keane got by Crawford, who had dropped back to fifth. Keane was hungry and closed on Kaminsky over the final two circuits, but needed a couple more laps to challenge. In the final tally, Keane took fifth, with Crawford in sixth and Gold in 12th.

The second race of the doubleheader took place after the IndyCar event in Portland as the final race of the weekend on Sunday.  It was a carbon copy of Saturday’s race for Eves, who immediately slotted into second, which is where he would run all race long with no challenges from behind. Keane fell back to seventh at the start, but again uses his racecraft to move forward with targeted aggression, passing Gold early before settling in behind Kaminsky and Crawford. Keane worked past Crawford on lap 7 on the backstraight and then set out for Kaminsky. Keane would come up just short, finishing fifth for the second straight day. Crawford followed suit, scoring another sixth-place finish.  Gold found himself in an exciting battle for a top-10 finish and eventually crossed the line under the checkered flag in 11th.

After seven hard-fought race weekends, the USF2000 title will be on the line when the Cape Motorsport’s trailer rolls into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the season finale on the September 20-22 weekend. Eves will be focused on winning both races to take back the championship, as he will arrive with a slim six-point deficit into the battle.  Keane will be gunning for the same result, a sweep of the main events, to clinch his position of third in the final standings. Both Crawford and Gold have also secured spots in the top-10 of the overall standings and gaining experience at Laguna Seca will be their primary goals.

CAPE MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

USF2000 – ROUNDS 12/13 – AUGUST 30 – SEPTEMBER 1, 2019

PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY – PORTLAND, OREGON

DARREN KEANE - #2

Qualifying 1: 7th – 1:12.1524

Qualifying 2: 6th – 1:11.4494

Race 1: Start – 7th / Finish – 5th  

Race 2: Start – 6th / Finish – 5th

Driver Quote: “Portland was a solid weekend for myself and the team. Two clean races and two fifth place finishes yielded some good championship points heading into the last round. Race one was pretty quiet for the first half, but the car really came alive in the closing stages and I was able to gain a couple spots. I wished there was a couple more laps to get past fourth, but unfortunately, that is not up to me. In Race 2, I got bumped back on the start but was able to gain three spots back in the first two laps, and eventually take over fifth position around lap 5. Unfortunately, by the time I got into fifth, the cars in front were pretty far ahead, and since the field was so close I wasn’t able to join the battle for third place. I’m hoping for a better weekend in Laguna. Huge thanks to Cape Motorsports, Ozz Negri and In2itive Media Management.”

REECE GOLD - #3

Qualifying 1: 11th – 1:12.3358

Qualifying 2: 10th – 1:11.5906

Race 1: Start – 11th / Finish – 12th

Race 2: Start – 10th / Finish – 11th

Driver Quote: “The second to the last race of the season in Portland had its ups and downs. We were quick in practice, but didn’t get the qualifying we needed, which set us back. But we still improved this weekend and I continued to learn, which is the important thing and gives us good momentum heading into Laguna Seca. Thank you to The Ticket Clinic, Lucas Oil School of Racing, Cape Motorsports, and my family for supporting me.”

JACK CRAWFORD - #4

Qualifying 1: 4th – 1:12.0043

Qualifying 2: 5th – 1:11.3662

Race 1: Start – 4th / Finish – 6th    

Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 6th

Driver Quote: “It was my first time in Portland. I loved the city and the track. Q1 turned out well with a third starting position and in Q2 I could have had the same result but I made a little mistake on my fast lap so I only started fifth. In Race 1, the car was not as good as in qualifying and I made a couple of driving mistakes, so we lost ground. In Race 2, the car was changed and it was better for sure, but I was nearly run over by a car coming back on track and then we had an airbox failure which hurt the car’s performance. I didn’t make any mistakes and should have finished a few spots ahead of where I did. I am doing well on starts, but need to have more confidence in my car over the first few corners and the first few laps of a race. I am excited about my last two upcoming rookie races and hope to have my best finish in Monterey.”

BRADEN EVES - #8

Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:11.7045

Qualifying 2: 2nd – 1:11.1018

Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd  

Race 2: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd       

Driver Quote: “Overall, it was a really good weekend. Although Hunter (McElrea) was really strong, I managed second in every session so it wasn’t terrible for the championship. Ultimately, it’s all coming down to Laguna, so I’m going to put my head down and do everything I can to get a couple of wins there and win the championship.”

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