Roller Coaster Weekend for DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports at Mid-Ohio
 July 11, 2022| 
  • Team News
DCA MO Recap 2022

LEXINGTON, Ohio – The DC Autosport with Cape Motorsports team saw its pair of young drivers experience a myriad of challenges in last weekend’s USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires tripleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the series passed the halfway point in its inaugural season.

The DCA team had tested at Mid-Ohio earlier in the summer and came into the weekend with a solid base setup for drivers Ethan Ho (Los Angeles) and Earl Tucker IV (Branford, Conn.). The pair continued their progress through Thursday’s test day, then Friday’s official practice and lone qualifying session, and the trio of 20-lap races Friday and Saturday ahead of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.

“It certainly was an up-and-down weekend,” said team principal Don Conner. “Ethan had a really strong race one, really pushing forward with a car that suited him better than it had early in the weekend. Great quali for race two though he struggled to get up to speed in both races Saturday – a couple of top 10 finishes and setting the fourth-quickest time in race one were definitely highlights. Earl had a tough qualifying session and didn’t get the time he deserved, but he set a personal best time in the race and was close to the front runners in pace. It was a big step forward through the weekend, so we need to keep working on the areas in which we can make the most improvement.”

With three races on the schedule, the drivers needed a solid time out of the lone qualifying session. Quick time in qualifying would set the grid for race one, while the drivers’ second-quickest time or their quickest time in race one (whichever was quicker) would set the field for race two. That same second-quick time in qualifying versus the quick time in race two set the race three grid. Ho aimed for a top 10 and nearly reached it, setting the 11th quickest time, but a shifting issue limited Tucker’s flyer laps, placing him 18th for race one.

Race One

Tucker took off at the drop of the green, gaining five positions on the opening lap to move from 18th to 13th – and with Ho dropping a spot from 11th to 12th, the DCA drivers found themselves nose to tail in the early going. Ho continued his march forward, taking 10th just before the midway point of the race.

A full-course caution came out on lap 12, bringing the field back together. The green flew once again on lap 15, and the final five laps ran caution-free. Ho fought hard to pass Lucas Fecury for ninth, making the pass stick on the final lap. Tucker who had fallen back mid-race, rallied to bring it home in 16th.

Race Two

Ho secured his best starting position of the season, taking the green in fifth position with Tucker in 16th. Ho fell back to eighth on the opening lap, but Tucker once again was a man on a mission, vaulting to 11th on lap one. Once again, a yellow flag halted his progress, but after two caution laps, the field returned to green with Ho ninth and Tucker 11th. After a spirited battle for position, Ho slid back to 10th and once again, the teammates found themselves nose to tail midway through the race.

Unfortunately, Tucker began to experience a recurrence of the shifting issue, which caused him to spin in turn four with four laps remaining, falling to 17th. Ho had his own tangles late in the race but held on to take 13th as the checkered flag flew.

Race Three

The field took the green flag for the weekend finale only two hours after race two – which meant the DCA team was not able to repair Tucker’s mechanical issue in time for him to take the green flag. Ho started in eighth, in the thick of the early lap battles, but his progress was once again halted by a full course caution for a car off course in turn four. As the field came back to green, Ho paced right on the rear wing of Elliot Cox. He set up the young Indiana driver and took eighth position on lap 15, then captured seventh with two laps remaining. The battles continued to the checkered flag, with Ho finishing in eighth position.

Only two race weekends remain in the inaugural USF Juniors season. Next up will be the tripleheader at Road America, July 29-31, tune into USFJuniors.com for all the action!

QUOTEBOARD

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

Race 1: Start – 18th / Finish – 16th

Race 2: Start – 16th / Finish – 17th

Race 3: Start – 18th / Finish – 18th

Championship standing:  13th

“Tough weekend. We had good pace back at the test, but the conditions were very different, but I felt as though we had good pace through the test sessions on Thursday. To be honest, I wasn’t focusing so much on all-out pace as I was just learning the track – it’s one of those tracks where experience is really key, especially in turns four and nine. It’s all about repetitions. Qualifying didn’t go our way, with the mechanical issues. I feel as though we could have been top 10. We made up some spots in race one but in Saturday’s race two, the mechanical issues returned. It has been going well, I was dodging all the other cars going off track but had problems shifting late in the race and that caused me to spin. I had to sit out race three, which was hard. But every day on track is a learning experience and we had plenty last weekend. But that’s racing, stuff goes wrong. On to Road America – I have never been but I finally have a really good sim set up so I’ll be putting in the laps!”

ETHAN HO – No. 71 MEGA Automotive

Race 1: Start – 11th / Finish – 9th

Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 13th

Race 3: Start – 8th / Finish – 8th

Championship standing:  8th

“Thursday’s progression wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be – I didn’t feel as though I was driving as well as I did at the test and it took a while to get back to that point. I didn’t make the adjustments I needed to in between sessions and while we developed the car well, it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be for the official sessions on Friday. We got close in qualifying but just not quite there in the end. I was happy with much of what I did in the races, especially when I was able to start attacking more. In race two, I tried to put my elbows out a bit more but I fell back, so I need to work on that. All in all, though, a good learning weekend.”

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