MICHAEL D'ORLANDO IS THE 2021 ROAD TO INDY USF2000 VICE-CHAMPION
October 12, 2021
18 races. 8 weekends. 7 states. Days and hours of countless preparation, planning, practice and determination. On track and off track. It never stopped. d’Orlando Enterprises is proud to present to you the 2021 Road to Indy Cooper Tires USF2000 Vice-Champion….
The 2021 Cooper Tires USF2000 series came to an end at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Still mathematically in the hunt for the drivers’ championship leading into this finale, d’Orlando commenced on to the circuit with one goal in mind…. Keep the momentum of his progress and results going and perform to the best of his ability. The rest would fall into place.
He kicked off the weekend in prestige form putting himself at the top of the charts in the Race 1 qualifying session. And despite contact from behind him in the opening corners which forced him to slip a position from the point, d’Orlando was near flawless to bring home his 8th podium of the season, in second place. The full field results of that event ultimately ended his championship winning hopes, but he had one more to go to maintain his Vice-Championship honor. In a dramatic rain-soaked second qualifying session the next day, plagued with on track incidents and extensive safety barrier repair, after only two full laps the series’ officials were forced to abandon the session and refer to the second fastest laps times from the first qualifying session to set the grid for Race 2. And that honor, once again, went to Michael d’Orlando. These results gave him his fourth pole position in as many races and second qualifying track record in as many event weekends. Ultimately the rain conditions in the main event resulted in a fourth-place finish but it was enough to solidify his second spot on the 2021 season’s Drivers’ Championship podium.
“I was super excited going into the finale weekend at Mid-Ohio.’ explains d’Orlando. “I knew it was a difficult chance to take the championship, but that didn’t stop me from keeping my focus on results for myself. It was great to be back at one of my favorite tracks to finish the year and knowing that I had the top 3 in driver’s points completely locked out, the nervousness seemed to fade. I just enjoyed the weekend and enjoyed driving. I’m happy with our performance as a team, especially since we put it on pole for both days. It was a pretty good way to end the season.”
The season ended at Mid-Ohio with the traditional Road to Indy Awards Banquet, beautifully held at the Legacy at Possum Run in Bellville, OH. Amongst his family and friends, some that he has been racing with since he started his motorsports career 13 years ago, the Road to Indy organization presented him with the 2021 Vice-Championship trophy, and ultimately a $20,000 cash prize.
“It’s incredible how fast this season really flew by.” continues d’Orlando. “I know we may have had a little slower start to the season at Barber Motorsports Park, but we just knew I was going to be a championship contender by the season’s end. It was only a matter of time before we found the rhythm. As the season went on, we got faster and faster. “
“Although at times the season tended to be a little bit of a rollercoaster, we had some amazing come-backs. For example, after I ended up in the wall upside down in St Pete (after contact from behind), the next day I finished third. And after a very difficult qualifying session at Indianapolis [Motor Speedway], I felt that the three races that followed were some of the best races I’ve had all year, coming from mid-field to the front pack . We swept Lucas Oil [Raceway]. We came out on the podium again at Road America, even when we were down on power with engine issues. We took two at Mid-Ohio. But although the weather didn’t cooperate in New Jersey, we also took home two track records and two pole positions. All I know is that the team and I did everything we could to win this championship. Maybe we needed a little more luck on our side but I am still the 2021 USF2000 Vice Champion in what is arguably considered the most challenging USF2000 season in history, and I am super proud of how Cape Motorsports and I performed this year. And I am super excited and driven to see what we can do to pull together next season and continue to grow as a driver next year.”
His statistics for the season are impressive. In addition to the 3 victories, 8 podium results, 5 pole positions and 2 qualifying track records, he earned notoriety for sweeping the weekend at the premier event on the oval circuit of Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, IN (the only oval circuit on the schedule) and ultimately lead more laps than any other driver on the USF2000 grid for the entire season with 114 laps lead. Furthermore, d'Orlando is also a full-student at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte in the William States Lee College of Engineering.
Michael d’Orlando, and the entire organization at d’Orlando Enterprises, is extremely thankful and appreciative for the ongoing support of everyone around him that play a part in his success on and off the racetrack, and providing him the opportunity to compete. His team at Cape Motorsports, lead by Nicholas and Dominick Cape, his mechanic Jeremy Brawner, and driver coach Matt Brabham, have been instrumental in his development and success.
Special thanks to our primary partners of d’Orlando Enterprises LLC for the 2021 season including DB Collaborative in New York, Focused Project Management in New York, MG Engineering in New York, UFC Gym in Mamaroneck, NY, Dino Luzzi of Italian Food & Beverage Corp/Dino Luzzi Energy Drink in Long Island, NY. Additional thanks to our sponsors at Pierpont Mechanical Corp, LMEC Electric, BBH Solutions, JVN Systems and Aloysius Falussy. The continued support and partnership with Art Wilmes of Rising Star Racing help keep the momentum going for our program and we are so very thankful for his unwavering support, time commitment and confidence in our drivers and the entire d’Orlando family.
d’Orlando Enterprises and Rising Star Racing will continue their mission to develop the budget and plan to compete in 2022. Further developments will be formally announced when available. To help continue the success on the road to a career in the NTT Data IndyCar series, additional partners can inquire with either d’Orlando Enterprises or Rising Star Racing - Art Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sherri d'Orlando at email@example.com.
Be sure to follow Michael d'Orlando on social media for all the latest information on Instagram (dorlandoracing, michael_dorlando51), Facebook (Michael d'Orlando Racing) and Twitter (dorlandoracing and michaeldOrland1).