Learning Curve Continues for DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports
 June 6, 2022| 
  • Team News
DCA VIR 2022 Web

The third USF Juniors weekend yields more opportunities to gain experience for the team’s pair of drivers

ALTON, Va.  – DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports continued its learning curve in the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires this past weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, contesting the third of six race weekends in the series’ inaugural season.

Drivers Earl Tucker IV (Branford, Conn.) and Ethan Ho (Los Angeles) both saw their first racing action at VIR, though Tucker attended an advanced Skip Barber driving day at the track several months ago. The series enjoyed perfect weather conditions throughout the weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s.

Three Friday test sessions provided the Don Conner-led team over 90 minutes to come up to speed on VIR’s tricky 3.27-mile, 16-turn road course. Ho paced in the top five during the second session, ultimately setting the ninth-quickest time of the day, with Tucker 12th. The pair continued to work on balance and grip in Saturday morning’s official practice session, but Ho found the tire wall late in the session, damaging the car with less than two hours to go before qualifying.

The team set about getting the No. 71 Ligier repaired and back into qualifying trim, making it onto pit lane with only 12 minutes remaining in the qualifying session. But shortly thereafter, a car off course caused another red flag, sending the field back to pit lane. When the green flag flew, Ho and Tucker had only two laps to try and improve their times – and both accomplished that goal, with Ho qualifying 7th and Tucker in 9th – his first top 10 qualifying effort in the series.

Race One

Furious action ensued right at the drop of the green flag, with side-by-side action throughout the field. With the leaders dicing through the early going, Ho took advantage of the first lap action to grab fifth at the end of the first lap but further back, Tucker and another competitor came together in Turn One. With a punctured left front tire and damaged front wing, Tucker headed into pit lane.

Settling into sixth position, Ho set his sights on Titus Sherlock in fifth, riding his rear wing and hoping to force a mistake. Despite his best efforts, Ho was not able to get by, taking the checkered flag in sixth. Tucker was able to recover from his first lap incident, with the team repairing right front damage and getting him back out to finish in 15th.

Race Two

It was an early start to the second day, with an 8:30 a.m. green flag. Attacks began at the drop of the green, with the field tightly bunched. Unfortunately, both Tucker (who started 10th) and Ho (who started right behind in 11th) were caught up in a lap one incident in Turn 16. Tucker spun and was collected by another car, while Ho, trying to avoid the incident, slide onto the grass and into the tire wall. Both cars were taken directly to the garage and the team immediately set about effecting repairs, with five hours until race three.

Race Three

Race three took the green flag just before 1:30 p.m. with both DCA cars ready to go after a tremendous amount of work by the team to effect repairs. Tucker and Ho were both determined to head to the front, but as the cars shifted positions as a pack on the opening laps, the DCA pair had very different results – Tucker found himself shuffled back to 15th after an off-course excursion in Turn 17 while Ho was able to break, moving up 10th.

Tucker regained his composure and set about regaining positions, while Ho battled continue the charge. With two laps remaining, Ho made the pass stick, taking ninth position, while Tucker took 14th – and that’s where the two drivers took the checkered flag.

“We had a decent weekend, considering the fact that most of the field had been here before and/or have a lot more experience than Ethan or Earl have,” said Conner. “Ethan did a great job in race one, setting the fifth-quickest lap time and showing what he’s capable of, with the only cars quicker than him being drivers who are very familiar with this racetrack. The point of this series is for drivers to be able to learn, get more track time and figure things out. Huge thank you to everyone on the team who pulled together and got the cars fixed in time to get out and race, especially with the short time frame we had on Saturday. On to Mid-Ohio!”

Next up for DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports and the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires will be a tripleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 7 – 9. Tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

ETHAN HO – No. 71 MEGA Automotive

Race 1: Start – 7th / Finish – 6th

Race 2: Start – 11th / Finish – 16th

Race 3: Start – 16th / Finish – 9th

“I can see why many people say that VIR is their favorite track. It has everything – technical corners, fast sweeping corners, and just the right amount of elevation. It was a tough weekend, but I learned a lot – I especially learned not to crash in practice! It was hard to make a solid progression this weekend because we had to spend so much time fixing the car. But I was happy with my progress in race three; we can build from there. I really appreciate all the effort from the team, getting my car ready to race not once, but twice.”

EARL TUCKER IV – No. 24 Empire Paving / Equip Sales & Leasing Corp.

Race 1: Start – 9th / Finish – 15th

Race 2: Start – 10th / Finish – 15th

Race 3: Start – 11th / Finish – 14th

“I had a really strong qualifying on Saturday morning and got my first top 10 start this season, so I felt confident going into the first race. Unfortunately, I had contact in Turn One with De Tullio which punctured my tire and damaged my wing, effectively ruining my race. Thankfully I had a good second-best quali lap, so I had a strong starting spot for Sunday’s first race. I decided to take it easy on the start of the second race but lost the rear of the car going into 17 and had a big incident with Maxwell – I’m glad he’s okay, and Ethan as well. I wasn’t completely comfortable going into that second race so it was all about getting the laps in. Very appreciative to the entire DCA team, it was an impressive effort all weekend keeping us on track. We learned a lot, so I’m looking forward to Mid-Ohio.”

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