MICHAEL D'ORLANDO'S DEBUT CUT SHORT IN ST PETERSBURG
March 23, 2020
While the world continues in a pandemic state from COVID-19, aka: Coronavirus, the motorsports world remains no exception to it's collateral damage. After a single session on track alongside the NTT Data INDYCAR series opener in the streets of St Petersburg, Florida over a week ago, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series season has been postponed through April 2020. As a result, Michael d'Orlando's debut with Cape Motorsports remains to be seen.
d'Orlando and Cape Motorsports spent the two weeks prior to the race in the sunny state of Florida preparing for their debut event weekend in St Petersburg, in the the Road to Indy driver development series Cooper Tire USF2000 Championship. The preparation program consisted of testing days in both Homestead, FL and Sebring, FL before joining the NTT Data INDYCAR series in St Petersburg.
d'Orlando's performance at Homestead resulted in an official top-6 result in the field of 20 drivers in the USF2000 class, and the fastest time for the Cape Motorsports team. With the confidence building from Homestead, there remained a lot of speculation and uncertainty about whether or not the race weekend in St. Petersburg would commence, as a result of the worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus. Scheduled to start with practice and two qualification sessions on Thursday, the on-track scheduled sessions were delayed by the series as more information was becoming available and ultimately rescheduled for Friday. So d'Orlando and the rest of the USF2000 field, took to the track Friday morning for their one and only practice session. And in impressive fashion, d'Orlando piloted his Cape Motorsports' USF2000 #4 machine to a top-3 result.
That's when everything came to a screeching halt. The officials of IndyCar and the St Petersburg administration made the difficult and heart-wrenching decision to cancel the rest of the weekend's event, doing their part in the efforts of the world-wide mission to end the spread of the Coronavirus.
The plan for the Road to Indy season is still to be completely determined, but at this time it is confirmed that in addition to the first round in St Petersburg, the second round scheduled in April at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas has also been canceled. And while the world waits to return to business and continues to address the pandemic, Michael d'Orlando will be working hard in preparation to getting back in the race car and his chance at the Road to Indy Scholarship.
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