It's another successful venture for Michael d’Orlando in a triple-header weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. The 20-year-old Hartsdale, NY native brought home his fourth and fifth pole positions, his seventh podium and his third victory of the season. The drivers’ championship fight is tight as he shifts focus to the streets of Toronto this weekend, with only five race events remaining on the calendar for this year. Things are really heating up as the series heads north of the border for the first time since 2018.
Mid-Ohio has historically been d’Orlando’s favorite circuit. Known to be a “drivers’ track”, he earned his maiden victory in USF2000 here in 2020 and now has tallied up nine podiums on the 2.4 mile 15-turn circuit.
Kicking off the weekend’s action in support of INDYCAR’s Honda Indy 200, d’Orlando’s solid qualifying results earned him the off-pole position for the Race 1 and the Pole position for each of Races 2 and 3, for a total of 10 pole positions in his USF2000 career.
The battle at the front in Race 1 was intense in the opening corners, however contact in lap 2 while making a move on the leader resulted in a compromised front wing forcing d’Orlando to pit lane for a new one. Although he would be a lap down when he returned to the circuit, he was determined to get every championship point he could and kept pushing for the remaining laps. Ultimately finishing 14th, he would also bring home a valuable bonus point for the fastest lap of the race.
It was a slightly different story in Race 2 but not without its challenges. Jumping out to an early lead and a comfortable gap in the opening corners, d’Orlando looked poised and steady to control the 20-lap race. But sometimes Lady Luck plays a different hand. Two cars deep in the field would come together resulting in a full course yellow on track which then restacked the field tightly for a single-file restart, rendering d’Orlando’s early lead irrelevant. The freight train behind him on the restart provided a golden opportunity for the two drivers right on his tail, whom were ultimately teammates, to slip on by through turns 4 & 5, pushing d’Orlando back to third, but there was still plenty of laps remaining. Taking very little time to slip back up into the second spot, d’Orlando was presented with the challenge that the leader had already established a 1.8 second gap with 12 laps to go. With focus and precision driving, he continued to put down consistent fast times, inching closer and closer every lap, and found himself closing in on the gear box of the leader with only two to go. What looked to have the potential for an epic battle of who would take the victory, the full-course yellow flags would be shown again as a result of incident with another car deeper in the field, forcing the race to conclude under safety car conditions and d’Orlando in the second spot.
However…. it all came together for Race 3. Starting from the pole position one more time, d’Orlando would quickly jump out to another commanding lead in the opening corners and continue to put down almost flawless laps, showing his uncanny ability to dominate at Mid-Ohio. The performance would result in a race event sweep to earn maximum points for the drivers’ championship, including pole position, most laps lead (all 20 lap) and the fastest race lap. This is his third victory of the 2022 season.
“The battle is tight out here and it was another crazy weekend.” states d’Orlando. “We had a very strong car and the setup was perfect so I felt comfortable and confident throughout the entire third race, but I just couldn’t catch a break in the first two races. The results in races two and three was definitely what we needed and ultimately keeps us in the championship fight. Now the next two circuit are both circuits that no one in USF has ever been to. I’m looking forward to it.”
Michael d’Orlando will return to action at the Honda Indy Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 15-17, 2022. This will be the first time the series has returned to Toronto since 2018 due to the COVID pandemic restrictions, and an opportunity for d'Orlando to compete on home turf of their Canadian family and friends. Event details can be found here. The Toronto event will introduce an additional partner for d'Orlando Enterprises and we would like to continue to say Thanks to all our current partners for their support this season, including DB Collaborative, Focused Project Management, Rising Star Racing, MotorMedia USA, Pierpont Mechanical, MG Engineering, Dino Energy Drink, UFC Gym - Mamaroneck NY, Signature Elevator Maintenance, AME Inc, Celtic General Contractors and JVN Systems Inc.
d'Orlando Enterprises LLC has developed unique and remarkable VIP experiences, behind the scenes access, and other entertainment opportunities for their partners at all of these events including the Indy500. To be a part of our growing network of partners and for more information on these experiences, our drivers or alternative partnership opportunities, contact Art Wilmes of Rising Star Racing at email@example.com or Sherri d'Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned to Michael d’Orlando’s social media and website (www.dorlandoracing.com) for continued updates and more information. Follow him on social media for all the latest information on Instagram (dorlandoracing, michaeldorlandoofficial), Facebook (Michael d'Orlando Racing) and Twitter (dorlandoracing and michaeldOrland1).