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DCA RoadAm 2022 Recap

USF Juniors tripleheader at Road America highlighted by a season-best finish

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports scored a team-best USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires finish this weekend at Road America, in the tripleheader Fleet Farm Grand Prix.

Driver Ethan Ho (Los Angeles) parlayed a solid qualifying effort into top five starting positions in all three races, notching his best finish of the season – a fourth-place tally – in the second race.

"It was great seeing Ethan run in the top three this weekend,” said team principal Don Conner. “And to qualify fourth with no draft at Road America was great for the team. We'll keep working to turn that progress into even better race results at the season finale next month.”

One of the hallmarks of the series, designed to be a bridge between karting and the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, is the amount of track time the young drivers get on a race weekend. Last weekend at Road America, the series provided three test sessions on Thursday to help drivers continue their racing progress, and to learn Road America’s fast and tricky 14-turn, 4.048-mile layout.

For Ho, the lessons from those three sessions showed immediate results, as he set the third quickest time in the official practice Friday morning, less than two hours ahead of qualifying. Ho set the fourth-quickest time in qualifying, his highest qualifying effort of the season (the grid for race two was set by the second-quick lap in qualifying or the driver’s quick lap of the race, with the same process repeated for race three).

Race One

The field compressed coming up the hill to the green flag, with chaos in front and behind Ho. Midway through lap one, Ho moved to the third position as the top three began to pull away from the field. Unfortunately, with three cars making contact and going off in Turn 14, the full course caution flag flew.

At the restart, Ho discovered one of Road America’s most quirky traits: the high-speed corners and straights mean that drivers behind have the ability to draft and make passes, with the front straight being the most popular spot to draft for position. Ho found himself shuffled back to fourth by mid-race. Then, on lap seven, another car stuck a nose inside and tagged Ho’s right rear in turn 14, sending Ho into a spin. Coming back on track in the 13th position, he was determined to get as many positions back as possible but was unable to move up before the checkered flag flew.

Race Two

Once again taking the green in fourth position, Ho slotted in behind the three championship contenders. As the top 10 cars bunched up through the first laps, Ho again found himself trying to manage the draft in traffic, falling back to eighth.

Ho held the position in the middle of a group of six cars battling for positions five through 10, with the group exchanging positions and running side-by-side. Taking seventh position on lap three, Ho then grabbed sixth on lap four. Holding off all comers, Ho took the checkered flag in sixth position, though he was elevated to fifth when one of the podium finishers was assessed a penalty – marking his best finish of the season.

Race Three

Ho started the weekend finale fifth on the grid, determined to push forward. With the first lap waved off when the front row got out of sync, the field took the green at the start of lap two. Ho tucked behind the top four in points, looking for an opportunity to make a move, but slid back to sixth before an incident in turn 12 brought out the yellow flag once again.

The race hit the halfway mark when the green flag flew once again, with Ho in sixth position – but not for long, as he made the pass for fifth on the outside going into turn one. But with numerous passes once again between the drivers in positions four through nine, Ho was in a pack of drivers who all started the race on sticker tires. He worked to hold positions but at the checkered flag, had to settle for a seventh-place finish.

Next up for DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports and the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires will be the season finale tripleheader at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, September 16-18 date. Tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

ETHAN HO – No. 71 MEGA Automotive

Race 1: Start – 4th / Finish – 13th

Race 2: Start – 4th / Finish – 5th

Race 3: Start – 5th / Finish – 8th

Championship standing:  8th

“It was great to have the chance to race at Road America. When you look at the track, it seems really wide, but when you’re racing, it’s really not – it’s quite narrow, especially when you’re racing side-by-side. One of the big revelations this weekend was the drafting. That’s really key to holding your position: figure out a way not to get drafted on and passed on the straights! My race craft has gotten better all season – I’m getting better at passing cars one by one, so now it’s a matter of working on making moves in traffic. My pace was better this weekend – especially in qualifying. We’re getting closer to the front pack.”

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